Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Title:       Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady
Author:   Carlo Vergara
Rating:   ★★★
Availability: National Bookstore

I am so happy to be talking about Carlo Vergara's Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady (How I Became Leading Lady). Carlo Vergara has fast became one of my must-buys and must-read authors since I started reading Zsazsa Zaturnnah (warning: for mature readers only). Anne Plaza, author of In Over Her Head, was the one who recommended the book to me.

Being a maid is tough enough...

...but when Mely lands a job under a group of unconventional employers, she steps up to the unique challenge for the sake of her family. When Mely's sister Viva enters the picture, Mely is reminded of a disturbing past, made complicated by an unsettling romantic revelation. All this in a tragicomedy about domestic help, sibling rivalry, and shattered dreams.

Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady, illustrated by Elmer Cantada (Vergil: The Warrior Angel), is a comics adaptation of a one-act play by Carlo Vergara (Zsazsa Zaturnnah). The play debuted onstage at the 9th Virgin Labfest, a festival of original untested plays, organized by the Tanghalang Pilipino Foundation and The Writer's Block, Inc.

His vein of writing of fantasy superheroes continues with Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady. Mely finds herself working for a group of international superheroes and becomes one of their biggest supporters as she is the one who does the everyday tasks that enables the superheroes to concentrate on saving the world.

As with Zsazsa Zaturnnah, Vergara introduced an unlikely heroine in the form of everyday, ordinary Mely, who is almost an old maid at the time of the story. I bought this in National Bookstore last February, but I've put it off until last April. The story was surprisingly engaging, beautiful, funny, with the right amount of humor. It was also heart-wrenching, and unlike other stories where the villainy is one-sided, I was able to somewhat empathize with the nemesis and her reasoning.

Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady is the adaptation of the one-act play. Since I started blogging, I've discovered the beauty of short stories and one-acts, and instead of faulting the story for making me frustrated by the lack of more pages, I actually look at it as a credit. And Carlo Vergara has perfected this craft of leaving me hanging and wanting for more and more of his stories, whether from his naughty gay superheroine and Zaturnnah's double-entendre lover Dodong, or from Mely.

Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady is fast-paced but much is already packed in this short story. But the flow of the story-telling runs so smoothly that I didn't even realize it has 72 pages. I know this is a one-act play or short story, but I hope Vergara finds it in himself to provide the next installment (and soon!) for Mely's escapades.

Note: Recommended for mature readers, and contains dialogues in Filipino.

**Quickstop Tuesdays is a feature in My Book Musings where I review books/comic books/graphic novels that have less than 200 pages, on Tuesdays.