Friday, June 17, 2016

A TIMID Public Service Announcement.

Man, I am awful at this blog updating thing. Anyway...

Angus was in love with Fay. Fay left and married another man. Devastated, Angus went to an island trying to forget everything. Angus met Beth. Fell in Love. And the rest is written in this book.

I was heading to the departure hall to catch my flight back to Langkawi after an awesome time in Penang and then at home. I walked pass a Lejen Press bookstore that sells books written by local authors. I remember reading a collection of shorts written by local authors compiled in a book called KL Noir (it is a series of books with four installments after checking out the Facebook page, I read the first installment, Red) and thought I could find something as good as KL Noir to pass time while waiting to board my flight. I made a short u-turn and entered the bookstore, hoping to support the creative minds of Malaysia. Being woken up by a silly dream of me being not ready for my SPM Bahasa Malaysia exam in the morning, I asked the storekeep to point out an English novel to me. Dutifully, he showed me the only two books written in English, by author A.B. Hashim.

A.B. Hashim was born in Alor Setar, Kedah on February 15, 1979… briefly attended Universiti Malaya before dropping out… publishing his short stories and poems online… from a small room in the town of Tronoh, Perak… moved to another small room he rented in Damansara… mixes up … about young women and booze… dishing out truths in ways unexpected… this writer is most sober when drunk… randombabblingsfromtronoh…

To women of my life, booze and sexy legs.

After reading the description of the book and the author’s short introduction of himself, then the super badass dedication, I started Timid with some expectations that it was going to be an entertaining indie novel. I read the first few pages and I was like YES! First person point of view, the story is going to be engaging!

Angus, a writer who loves to drink and have one night stands frequently, on an island trying to write a book so that he can earn enough money to live his simple, alcohol fueled life. But he meets this drunk lady, Beth, who is on the island to attend her cousin’s wedding. They had a good night, had fun together the next few days, fell in love, blah blah blah, made him forget about his ex-partner who he loved but broke his heart by leaving him to be with another man.

Angus never fails to remind me that he is in love with Beth, and foreshadowed a new life with Beth when he moves back to the city. After Beth left the island and before Angus moved back to the city, he sleeps with this Hilda lady. Then he moves back to the city and sleeps with cougar Rita and never called Beth until after sleeping with Rita. He calls Beth, lovey dovey, then sex (of course). While Beth is working, his former sex-for-hire friend, Sara, comes to visit and sleeps with him after little to no seduction. Angus wins the lottery twice, once while still on the island and once in the city. Anyway, he starts a new life with Beth. And then in the end, Angus "began to write this story". The end.

That's it?





I bet I know how Beth would have felt if she found out about Angus’ promiscuity. She would have been confused, betrayed, disappointed, upset, sad, and angry. I know this not because of experience, but because when I closed the book, I realised I have been cheated of my RM20.00 and my time (I could have read a Sir David Attenborough book my baby girl bought me instead). I am confused because the preamp to this book was so good, betrayed because I thought publishers would sieve out terrible stories, like Timid, before agreeing to publish them, disappointed because A.B. Hashim has stopped me from wanting to spend my own money on other Lejen Press books, upset because I actually finished this book and did not stop halfway, sad because I wasted RM20.00 on this, and angry because of the wasted resources in printing this turd.

This book had no conflict, no climax (though Angus did multiple times in Timid, so no pun intended?), no message, nothing. It reminded me of yesteryears when I had to construct sentences using words given to me by my teacher - they were just sentences. This book is just a collection of this sort of sentences. And I am not a grammar nazi but gosh, I became one while reading this piece of shallowness.

The sex scenes… even the sex scenes are terribly described! You would think that an author who dedicates a novel to women and sexy legs would be able to transcribe hot sex fantasies but nooooooooooo. A.B. Hashim failed at that horribly, like Angus failing horribly to keep his member in his pant (yes, a published novel had this small typo in it, pant) every single time a woman walks up and speaks to him.

To conclude my one and only book review, DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK. If you really think I am shitting you, I shall loan you Timid. Consider this blog entry as a PSA to NOT purchase or read this book.

Part of me wants to check out this guy’s blog to gauge who he really is, to understand how and why would he write something this bad, but I fear reliving the experience of Timid.

PS: If somehow I am missing something important like this book being written as a satire, let me know.

PPS: Turns out that the reading of Timid is not a total negative. I have decided to try creative writing and poems and to be courageous enough to share them on the interwebs. Because if something like Timid can be used to earn money, I am damn sure it is alright for me to delve into the realm of simple creative writing and poems. This is going to be fun.

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