As I've promised before, here is the review of Dewi Lestari (Dee)'s latest book: "Supernova: Petir."
Before I start, I should make some disclaimers. It this common? It shows my inexperience. But, who cares. First, I am not a literature expert. I am just an ordinary book reader. Secondly, I have no relation what so ever with the author and publisher. I have no financial gain from this review. Come to think of it I have met the author once in quite an extraordinary situation. It was in a seminar. Dee, the book author, was giving her presentation. I was about to go the back (I forgot why) when she called me from the stage. She said, hang on, don't leave yet. (I wasn't going to leave, though.) I have sent you an email but you have not replied to it. I was shocked. How did she find my email address? The problem is not finding my email address. It's finding the most effective email address to get a quick response. I have too many of email addresses. In any case, I told her that I didn't get any email from her, but I would check. I never got the email.
Let's get on to the review.
This is her third book that I own. They are all Supernova sequel. I don't think she wrote anything else other than the Supernova books. This book is the "softest" in terms of writing style which I will describe next.
Her writing style reminds me of someone. Oh, it was me. Not that I am good at writing, but I used to write stories with short sentences. Direct. No beating around the bush. Abrupt. And frequently, harsh. I have not written non-technical essays in quite a while, but the use of short sentences still sticks on me. The direct and harsh style still shows in my emails. Many times, it hurts people. Another similar thing, she uses footnote in her book. I do too. I was told that most readers do not like this. But, I do it anyway. By the way, I hate my writing style. I thought this will take me nowhere. But, seeing acceptance to Dee's book, I see that there is a future.
The story of "Supernova: Petir" relates to me in many ways. First, growing up in the same city I know the context of what she wrote. Part of the Sundanese culture – in terms of language and jokes – crops up here and there. Then, the main character, Elektra, does many things that I do; using (addicted to?) the Internet. Even the character of her father is an electronic man who challenged electricity. My formal background is in electronics.
I could remember during my university year. At one time we had this "orientasi studi (OS)" – I'll find a more proper translation (it's in the tip of my tongue, damn it!) – where new students were asked to do silly things. One of them was to be "electrocuted" with a "small" electricity voltage. To do so, I had to test the equipment whether the electricity is to high or ok. I had to electrocute myself with small voltage and increaed the voltage to a value that gives a little "surprise", but do not knock them out. So, when Elektra's father – and Elektra herself later on – played with electricity, I smiled. Yeah, I've done that. I wonder if the readers relate to the story as I am.
In any case, I enjoyed reading the book. It's a good book. It took me two days and one night to read the book during my regular trip to Jakarta. I read in in the train going to Jakarta, between meeting, in coffee shops (Sandro and Starbucks), at night, and on the train on the way back to Bandung. One thing that I noticed, when I read the book in public place, many people recognized it as Supernova's book. Any many gave me an unusual look as if they never seen a man reading Dee's book in public. I even heard one girl said, he's reading supernova. I take it as a good comment. (I am interested in knowing the demographic of the reader of this book.)
As for you, Dee, did you really send me an email? I don't even think you still remember saying that.