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This was a short feature article I wrote for one of my favorite professors in the university, Mr. Ruel De Vera.

For some reason, I believe this is one of the best things Ive ever written in class. Kind of weird, considering its a book review, but whatever. Heres something I wrote about the first Tagalog book Ive ever read which I immensely enjoyed (apart from Dr. Rizals classic novels). A young Edgar Allan Guzman leans against a vandalized wall full of aliens with posters of a missing person named Jenny with the face of Mercedes Cabral, while a fair-skinned hand reaches out to him on the sidethis is the cover of Eros Atalias latest offer to the Filipino reader, Its Not That Complicated: Bakit Hindi pa Sasakupin ng mga Alien ang Daigdig sa 2012. The novel is a sequel to his earlier Peksman (Mamatay Ka Man) Nagsisinungaling Ako wherein Ligo na U, Lapit na Me is its prequel. The latter was a hit and was even turned into an indie film of the same title starring Guzman and Cabral. The story basically revolves around the lives of the quite ordinary and practical Intoy and Jenny, the sexy and confident campus crush as they develop a one of a kind relationship in college as friends, but with benefits. Youd think of it as a typical young love story where boy falls for girl, girl falls for boy and its done, but no. It ends when Jenny announces to Intoy that she is pregnant, but tells him not to worry as he isnt the father and she takes off without a word, leaving Intoy heartbroken and confused. Its Not That Complicated covers Intoys life after college and after Jenny, how Intoy is working in an advertising agency being his same nonchalant, simple self when he happens to attract his beautiful but high-maintenance boss, Tina. After much thinking about Jen, he decides to give his seemingly-bipolar boss a try and finds himself in the same situation yet againno commitments, just sex and companionship with a domineering woman. It gets even trickier when he finds out Tina has a husband, however he ends up giving in to his urges and goes on a unprompted trip with her which results to more revelations about his boss and how shes actually connected to his old flame, Jenny. The book is a perfect reflection of youngsters todaytempted, indecisive, smart, and full of heart; it is a totally fresh take on what goes on today, answering questions that have always been asked and asking questions that have never been asked. You have issues ranging from teenage pregnancy, premarital sex, homosexuality (thats already one hint!), a bit of corruption, religion, even to simple things like backstabbing in the workplace. Atalia makes the whole novel seem like a long narration of your best friends life and ordeals, complete with expressions like anak ng bakang bakla talaga and pukang ama. Tackled here is the maturity of Intoy as a young adult professional, already living by himself thinking about bills and how to get through the night with the ear-splitting noise Mang Pedros chicken makes, not to mention those late night urges a recently female-deprived young man gets. Of course, his life wouldnt be as interesting if it were not for the people in his life so the book tells us how these characters affect Intoy and his quest to find out the answer to his friend Bensons question: whether or

not aliens will invade the earth in 2012. These aliens may or may not mean real aliens who will dissolve humanity and it may or may not mean Intoy is the earth and Tina and Jen are the aliens. Atalia leaves it to the reader to decide. Intoy handles his feelings and everyone else around him in the Filipino way of dealing with problemswith a couple of sarcastic jokes and a smile. The authors disbelief in sequence and the usual beginning-middle-end concept is mirrored by the Intoy-Jen love story, nobodys sure how it exactly began and no one knows if it has ended with this long-titled book. Atalia expresses much of his strong belief in lifes spontaneity and its unpredictability which makes it more liveable and exciting. Intoys smart aleck attitude, Jens volatile habits, Tinas cool but mysterious facade, Bensons crazy theories that actually make sense, Mang Andoys confused atheism, Mang Pedros fixation with his rooster and many morethese characters are perfect for the story because of their realness, because people like them exist in real life and when we meet them, our world is changed by at least a couple of minute details. However, the author and Intoy teach us that whether or not these people leave our world, we ought to be glad they even came along; we ought to move on and live for now. Eros Atalias sense of humour is impeccable and his knack for the shocking and almost twisted is absolutely refreshing. However dragging the novel is at some point, most of it makes a lot of sense, taking the reader into a universe of questions on life and humanity, so it makes up for whatever is lacking. He almost sounds like a parent teaching children what its like to live in the real worldto love, to lose, to give in and still lose, and to find peaceexcept he sounds cooler than most adults and teaches in a more easygoing manner. Young adults will relate to the novel with ease, thanks to its use of popular culture and easy comparisons. If youre expecting a teen fiction book with the perfect leading man, then Its Not That Complicated is not for you; but if you want a real, comically troubled man who manages to achieve your sympathies, then maybe you should try this. Put your schoolbooks down for a while, take a break and find out if aliens will take over the world in 2012after all, Eros Atalia says, life is too serious to be taken seriously.