Book Review: Vintage Love by Agay Llanera

December 2, 2013 Filipiniana Sunday, Review 0 ★★★

Book Review: Vintage Love by Agay LlaneraVintage Love by Agay Llanera
Series: Standalone
Published by Self-published on 2013 August 16
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 106
Format: E-book
Source: Purchased
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three-stars

26-year-old Crissy Lopez’s life is in dire need of a makeover. Her wardrobe revolves around ratty shirts and beat-up sneaks; her grueling schedule as a TV Executive leaves no room for a social life; and worst of all, she’s still hung up on the Evil Ex who left her five years ago.

When her fashionable grand-aunt passes away and leaves behind a roomful of vintage stuff, the Shy Stylista inside Crissy gradually resurfaces. Soon, she feels like she's making progress -- with a budding lovelife to boot! But the grim ghost of her past catches up with her, threatening to push her back into depression. To finally move on, Crissy learns that walking away is not enough. This time, she needs to take a leap of faith.

I was actually apprehensive when I chose to read Vintage Love for today’s Filipiniana Sunday feature.  Heaven knows how I sucked at fashion appreciation.  If truth be told, fashion is the least of my worries in life. Thankfully, Vintage Love is more than fashion talk since it’s infused with lessons about moving on, taking the leap and making choices.

In Vintage Love, we get to meet Crissy Lopez, a 26 year old TV Executive Producer, who’s too caught up with work to the point that she stopped making herself look good by being contented with wearing ratty shirts and binging on unhealthy foods.  Her life suddenly took a dramatic turn when she met Vince due to her grandaunt’s vintage collection.

Being someone who isn’t into fashion, Vintage Love is a refreshing story for me. It delved into the finer details of Ukay-Ukay (which I’ve done only once in my life not because I am a snob but I am too impatient having to stand up for hours and dig into endless pile of clothes) and of course, vintage items. To be honest, I don’t really like antiques because they gave me the creeps ever since Shake, Rattle and Roll’s Halimaw sa Banga episode.  But Vintage Love has got me thinking suddenly and even made me browse the net just so I can look at some references on how to best visualize Crissy’s vintage get ups. Yeah, I know, I’m that lame when it comes not only with retro fashion but with fashion in general. But yay, at least this book managed to pique my interest. xD

Another thing that I loved about Vintage Love is our male lead, Vince Lazaro.  Although the story was told in Crissy’s POV, it didn’t stop me from swooning over him.  He’s your typical good guy with a quirky attitude. I liked it that even with his gentleness; he wasn’t a pushover and has the guts to challenge Crissy’s principles. On the contrary, I am still figuring out my feelings for Crissy because one moment, I like her and then the next, she makes me frown. Maybe it’s because of what happened in Boracay where she let herself get fooled by Benj again. It wasn’t like her. I mean, Crissy was introduced to me as sensible and the type of person who doesn’t dove into situations that already burned her. The latter was proven when she initially refused in having a relationship with Vince because she is not ready yet.  However, when she was in Boracay, she immediately acted differently when she saw Benj, her ex-bf. I understand that she may still have feelings for the guy but I didn’t expect that she’d immediately hang out with him without caution.  It was almost unbelievable because she hadn’t seen the guy for how many years and their breakup was quite ugly with him cheating on her. Sure, I get that she wanted to act civil in front of him but it doesn’t mean that she has to instantly follow him like a dog. The way she acted didn’t coincide with the personality of the girl I knew first.

Plot wise, I must say that the story flowed in a regular pace without the romance becoming invasive.  Vintage Love focuses more on Crissy’s journey about picking up the pieces of her old shattered life, choosing her passion over a big job promotion and rediscovering the things that she used to love.  However, while I am contented with the plot, I have a small issue with it which I will discuss in the next paragraph.

Vintage Love, though a charming read, was far from perfect since I could spot flaws here and there.  I actually tried ignoring them but I just couldn’t. For one, the story started with Mama Maring dying.  There was a funeral but what happened next was somewhat unrealistic because I’ve never seen Crissy actually mourn for the old woman considering that they’re close. Well, there were mentions that she missed Mama Maring but I didn’t feel that she actually grieved for the old woman.  Another thing is that, Benj’s coming back to her life was some sort of a plot device to provide additional tension to the overall story.  If I am going to review the synopsis, it clearly stated that Crissy’s past has caught up with her threatening to drive her into grief again.  That part of the synopsis alone made an impression that it will be an important part of Vintage Love instead of becoming a side story. I assumed that half of the book will be about a love triangle drama between Crissy, Vince and Benj. Instead, that twist only happened for a day and presto, I can forget about it after a few pages.

To sum it up, even with Vintage Love’s flaws, I still found myself entertained by it. I wouldn’t hesitate endorsing it to fans of retro fashion and even to those who aren’t. You can simply ignore the fashion talk and follow Crissy on her journey to self-healing and making choices to be happy.

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