My Thoughts About Para Kay B by Ricky Lee (Book Review #50)

It’s a book within a book.


Para Kay B is not just a normal love story. The author is a creative genius in coming up with a story like this. It’s a breath of fresh air from the mainstream of love stories in the Philippine book scene.

The author is a known and award-winning Filipino scriptwriter, journalist and playwright. He has written more that 150 scripts winning him numerous awards and citations which includes Himala (CNN’s best film of all time in Asia-Pacific), Anak, Jose Rizal (1998) and Madrasta among others. This is his first novel.

The book has this theory that that love has a quota, that only one in five will be happy in their love life. And in the book we follow five stories. The first is of Irene and Jordan. They grew up together, fell in love with each other and promised themselves that they will marry each other when they are of proper age. This is about the broken promises and how the’re lives were changed by it.

The next story is about Erica and Jake. Erica is from a place where love is non-existent, Maldiaga. All the people in their place, despite their efforts, can’t seem to grasp the very concept of it. People will laugh and mock you when you utter the word. Then one day, because of her curiosity she decided to look for the true meaning of love. An unknown force transported her to Manila and there she met Jake who fell in love with her. The book then follows the two as they try to search for the true meaning of love despite all the doubts that they have.

The third is of Sandra who fell in love with the wrong person. A forbidden love. Sandra fell in love with her brother, Lupe. They shared intimate moments together until their family found out about it and threw his brother out of the house. Her brother bore her a child with abnormalities. As the years past, Sandra had her own family, but despite the years that passed, she’s still longing for her brother even just to see him for closure. The book then follows Sandra as she tries to right her wrongs.

The fourth one is of Ester, who’s a lesbian. She fell in love with their family maid, Sara. Ester grew up not entertaining the truth about her sexuality. She keeps on denying to herself that she’s not a lesbian until her son, who’s a gay, made her realize the importance of her facing the truth. Her son helped her to locate Sara again, who now has her own family, after years of not seeing each other. The book then follow as Ester and Sara try to understand what they really have for each other and the things that they can do for love.

And the last story is of Bessie, or B, whom this book is dedicated to. He’s the inspiration of Lucas, the writer of the story. It might seem confusing but like what I said previously this book is a book within a book. I will make more sense if you read it. We follow their love story as it intertwines with every other stories on the book. Will the book’s theory be right that only one among five will be happy. It’s for the readers to find out. 🙂

The book is about love. It’s about the many faces of love and the strength of love. This book gave me a better understanding as to what love really is, that having our own unique definitions and experiences about love makes it something that is indispensable.

The book proves that love is not all about happy endings. Not all the characters on the book have happy endings. Some may not have a happy ending but what’s important is they are not losing hope and continue to be optimistic. Loving makes us more appreciate and understand the life that that we live. Like what many people say, it’s not about the destination but about the journey.

While I was reading the book, I felt like I was watching a movie. The author has this cinematic way of telling the story. The details are very vivid which made me more understand and appreciate the book. I was like transported in each scene. The book also has this poetic vibe in it. It works with the imagination well as it has fantastical elements that I enjoyed.

Despite being a short, what’s also commendable with this book is all of it’s characters are well-developed. The author presented realistic characters. They are layered and compelling.

I like the book’s modern approach and concept. It veered away from the norms and tradition. How it was delivered is totally enjoyable. The book is easy to understand and lows smoothly.

The book has two endings, an open ended ending and an ending added by the author where the author presented concepts and ideas which somewhat added more layer to the book. In there, he concluded all the stories that was left hanging. The ending satisfied me as what I expected from a master storyteller.

The book also touches social topics like Philippine political problems, poverty and gender inequality. It also has a bit of lesson about the power or writing.

Para Kay B is written Taglish or the combination of the English and Filipino language.


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