Amal Hamsan. Honestly, when I first read the name, I thought the writer is a man but after scrolling down some info, I find out Amal is a girl. Never heard about the writer before. By the way, I got this book as a gift from Frauananas, which I was selected as the first prize winner for her blog giveaway.
The book was written in Bahasa Melayu but there were also some English and Bahasa Indonesia conversation. The book consisted of 10 different stories. I am going to do the review by each stories and then will sum up everything together.
[EN: Fiction Movie]
A fiction in her own world. Gia, a girl with everything except one thing, love. Neglected by her parent, she didn't realized that she was too absorbed with her fiction but luckily managed to wake herself up from being too fictionality beyond the fiction. A good reminder for me as well for not being to attach with virtual reality.
[EN: Cigarette Girl]
Sigaret is the Indonesian word for cigarette. When I first read the title, I was thinking like crazy what is the meaning of "Sigaret". Was that her last name since the name of the main character is "Gadis" or was it for "Si-Kerek"(in Bahasa Melayu, Kerek is a slang word for arrogant). This story tell us about a girl named Gadis, who are from Bogor, West Jawa, Indonesia. She went to Malaysia to study after graduating from high school. While in Malaysia, she met a man named Luth, a boy who smoke a lot, seemed heartless at first but as time goes by, they both fall in love. Things won't go as she thought it would be, she had to go back to Indonesia and married her fiance, a man that her mother chose before she came to Malaysia. The marriage didn't last long, her husband divorced her and she went back living with her mother. Everyday, she would smoke as she thought that she can feel Luth's presence until one day, she took her own life by cutting her wrist with the cigarette was still on her finger.
Virtual and Reality. Yin and Yang, Up and Down. Everything started in the virtual world; internet, sms, phone calls and etc. Sometimes, people recklessly said they fall in love with your sweet voices eventhough he/she never once meet you. That is bulls***. We always heard this phrase "Do not judge the book by its cover" but shamelessly most of us did it. This is what happened with the main character, Lana, 19 years old girl. Young and beautiful but not visually beautiful as people expected. Falling in love for the first time in maya and then was rejected in real life. How pathetic... then she's falling in love for the second time and the man make a promise that he will never be like her first love but then when the light is on, once again she was rejected but this time the promise that should never be broke now is breaking the man.
The story revolved around our Malay old custom that saying "Girl should be in the kitchen, let the man be the breadwinner" or "Eventhough, you study till university, you will end up cooking in the kitchen". This is totally a bulls***. I also experienced the same thing within my relatives and it seems some of them have set their mind that woman is destined to do all the house chores while the man comfortably sitting on the couch ready to be served. So, the story is about a girl, Jasmin, the youngest among her siblings. She have 3 older brothers. Among four of them, she is the achiever but her mother never see that. For her mother, she was a burden for her family. Letting her married a pious man that she didn't love was a big mistake. A man that hiding behind the pious image(oh gosh, there are lot of this kind of men around my "kampung") was the man that finally took her life and after all that happened, her mother realized all the mistakes that she did but she can't never turn back the time.
This story brought back my memories when I was doing my matriculation at Johore Matriculation College. I am really familiar with all the places that Amal pointed in this story, the hostel, the hall, the LDK class, the cafeteria and etc. I am not sure whether Amal also an ex-student of this college. So, the plot is about long lost twin, Naina, the yin and Nurin is the yang. They both fall in love with the same guy but unfortunately love is meant between two people and it goes perfectly between Naina and Anas who is served as Nurin's besfriend. Using the advantage of being a twin, Nurin decided that Anas belong to her and it means, someone should be shove off. The plot is perfectly planned, the yin is finally covered the yang.
Atos aka Laila was born unlucky, her father died because of AIDS and her mother left her for another man. She was raised by her grandmother that never admit her as her grandaughter luckily she has an uncle that becoming a place for her to share her pain but everything changed when he got married. With her friend, Patam(a boy that love her and she knew that), Chot, Sapey, Rhoni and Joni, she spent her sorrow days. Until one day, Patam was challenged by Payed to have a race with him and he agreed. During the race, Atos distinguished as Patam and unfortunately didn't reached the end line. Everyone thought she was Patam until they realized that Atos had sacrificed her life. Atos had left a letter that tell everything that she want to. Why she did it; to make sure that Patam won't live within Payed's revenge and also joking that since she was diagnosed with HIV, at least she did not die because of the disease.
[EN: The Time]
Drug, supposedly use to cure the diseases but most of the time, it creating more diseases. Addiction, the word that cannot be separated from drug. Once you over the limit, it will be hard to find your way back. From the point of view of Maya, an innocent child. She didn't understand why he mother cried when her brother was taken away. Slowly, she grew up and finally understood what had happened. Her brother is a drug addict and was taken to the rehab. After few years, her brother was released and was back to their house to start his new life, The start is normal, everything is okay until one day, her brother gone missing and once again, tears drops within the family. After years, Eid is around the corner and the person that the last she want to meet is back. Eventually, Maya can't hold the anger inside her anymore and that day became the last day she saw the light.
Okay, out of 10 stories, this is my favourite. "Penulis" or in English is "Writer". A writer, Amna that write anything based on her imagination perhaps someday, the imagination will come true. Amal teased me a little bit by making this story seems like will end the way that I wanted but unfortunately the plot slowly derailed. I was shocked but realized that not everything that you imagine and hoping will come true.
Accidental meeting between Saila and Alias left both of them connected. They spent their time together, sharing their stories and it seems like everything going smooth until one day Alias was gone, no longer around. It just like a normal unfulfilled love. Even destiny has an expiry date and same goes to Saila, she fall in love with someone that she barely knew and the love had reached it expiry date.
The story is quiet long but left less impact among other stories. Youngsters' love, bestfriend, enemies, admirer and etc. The story quiet simple Julia, the main character is invisible among others except her only bestfriend since she was a child, Ashraf. But, everything changed when she was caught having a feeling to her senior, Amir. She became far apart with Ashraf who is actually love her long before. She lost in her own world but finally managed to wake her own up and realized all the stupid things that she had did but things won't never be the same anymore.
As the title itself, Heroin. It lift the girls' view in each stories. Most of the stories revolved around a teenage girls. Their point of view living in this world. I would say that Amal tried to shift the plot to another level by turning most of them into non-happy ending. When I was reading the first four, I kinda amazing how the plot brought me to the end but then when I started to read the fifth until the tenth(except no.8), I kinda can predict the plot or how Amal will turned the stories.
3/5 (Worth to read, better than some novel turned drama aired on TV3)
Personally, I think, Amal should avoid using English words for non dialog since the book was written in Bahasa Melayu and as an author Amal should be more diligent about her works.
Gadis Sigaret, Page 13, Line number 4
Tangan kanannya kemas membimbit casing biola.
[There is Bahasa Melayu word for "casing" which is sarung or maybe Amal should change the sentence without having to mix Bahasa Melayu and English words.