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Category Archives: Book Review

five people
There are always mysteries about life that continuously beg answers to human understanding. We never could reach the most rational explanation of what is life after death. Questions concerning the concept of heaven and hell, God and the devils and all the possible eternal pictures that our mind can conceive always bring us to mystery. Even so, we would even ask who the first people are to meet us in paradise. Very odd to realize: our personal beliefs would rather supplement their explanation.
Through his surrealistic imagination, Mitch Albom came out with another heart-jerking story that will probably rouse each reader’s inner being. Entitled as “The Five People You Meet in Heaven,” it provides a deemed description of what it is to be in heaven and how people are faced with it. Unlike any other novels, it begins the story with the ending—telling that from that point starts a new journey. The author unravels the plot very intricately in a way readers would get wired right up to the last pages of the novel.
The story begins with Eddie spending his last few minutes on earth, reminiscing of his sweetest moments. His birthdays have always been the highlight of his life. All of a sudden, while he was watching what was happening in “Ruby Pier,” the amusement park which he had been working in, an accident happened involving a little girl. The place was put into intense suspense. Oblivious of his remaining time, he tried to help the girl and suddenly fell out of consciousness.
Eddie woke up and saw an almost earth-like paradise. The place was in ambiguous resemblance of the world’s setting. Out of nowhere, a person named Blueman faced with him and informed about meeting of five people. Including Blueman, each of them would teach him lessons that he needed to understand every happening which affected his life on Earth.
As the conversation went on, Eddie learned that the Blueman was the one who he and his family had attended the burial of way back in his childhood days. Such scene has a thrilling twist and appalling revelation about how the man died because of him. Two angles of the story were unfolded and a conclusion was drawn—each affects the other and the other affects the next and the world is full of stories, but the stories are all one.
All the people whom Eddie met were related to him. The next person he faced taught him about the essence of sacrifice. Through him, he learned to consider the things he possessed: when to keep and let go of them. After which, he still could not totally engulfed himself in the situation.
The third person introduced herself as Ruby. She informed Eddie that the amusement park with which he had worked in was named after her. The talk took him a little patience to know their relation. Her story was mainly involved in his work place but centered on how his father treated him. The moral lesson was: he must learn to forgive his father no matter what he did that hurt him.
“Love does not have an end,” this was the fourth lesson Eddie learned from the next person—his wife. His wife whom she has loved so much explained to him that her death did not end their bond. She further told him that when people die, love takes a different form: lost love is still love. With this thought, he must value his feelings forever.
The fifth person Eddie met made him realize his worth as a human. She revealed him his heroic deed before dying. With that, he was elated because he had saved the girl in the amusement park.
This very radically presented novel could not just offer entertainment means but rather could feed reader’s imagination with a thrilling concept and ideas about what heaven would possibly be. The author was able to sew the events smoothly from drawing of flashbacks to relating them with the other scenes. His characters’ dialogue even imbued essential values which are of help to humanity. The influence of this novel would go beyond generations and would keep retelling us about the beauty of life. What is interesting about our life is the chance to mold our own destiny.

by Ronald Cena

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angels_and_demons

“Science and religion are not at odds. Science is simply too young to understand.”

For several years, scientific researches have always been in contrast with spiritual convictions. While some scientists proliferate weapons of mass destruction and clone living creatures, religious advocates beg them to use restraint and likewise consider the moral implications of such actions.

Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons proved that these two disciplines, though engaged in a seemingly endless ancient warfare, could indeed transcend all differences and come together to reinforce one another and rectify all faults. Aptly plotted and intricately paced, the novel weaved together the secret nuclear research of Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN) and the archaic and modern secrets of Vatican.

The thrilling turn of events started with the introduction of Robert Langdon, professor of religious iconology and art history at Harvard University. He was awakened at an unholy hour in the morning via a phone call from Maximilian Kohler direction of CERN, the world’s largest scientific research in Geneva, Switzerland. One of their top physicists, Leonardo Vetra, was murdered with his chest branded with the word Illuminati, considered to be the symbol of the world’s most powerful satanic cult which stood as an adversary to the church. As someone with an adept knowledge on this secret society, Kohler summoned Langdon’s help to solve the murder.

Ironically, the murder victim was a Catholic priest turned physicist. What’s more peculiar was he adopted a daughter named Vittoria, also a scientist at CERN and resident guru of Hatha yoga. Accepting these mind-boggling circumstances sets the entire story in motion.

Through Vetra’s invention of antimatter, he wanted to simulate the Big Bang and prove that God exists, being able to create new matter and antimatter in the same way God created the universe. He and his daughter used the world’s largest particle accelerator to create antimatter, and then suspended the antimatter properly in canisters so that it wouldn’t interact with matter. If a canister was removed from the electrical system which kept the matter and antimatter separated, backup batteries would serve the same purpose for 24 hours. When these 24 hours expire, the two would collide in an instantaneous explosion of unprecedented power.

With Vetra’s death, the canister was stolen and became a threat to Vatican City. However, they didn’t know where exactly in Vatican was the canister placed. Langdon and Vittoria were quickly sent off to Rome and Vatican City to help find the canister and return it to CERN before it explodes at midnight.
Langdon and Vittoria raced against time. They dug through archives and ancient mysteries to find clues, which required an extensive background in art history and religious symbology. This made Robert Langdon the expert tour guide who did his best to educate without seeming superior with his own intelligence. The two of them were constantly one step behind the Illuminati and death stalked them at every turn, in one form or another.

With the intense suspense that never seemed to wane, the story ended enthralling, without casualties from the explosion of matter and the antimatter collision.

Angels and Demons was packed with twists and shocking events that could make the readers wired right up until the last page. The author really excelled himself in creating intellectual forays among readers because of the intriguing information rationally and critically presented.

The novel was an insightful and lucid examination of the ever present dichotomy of religion and science. It also served as a tangible proof that both could serve as vessels through which man could understand God. Science has technical proofs. Religion has immaculate logic. Both aim for man’s goodness. Both are genius. Thus, a halt to intellectual clashes by accepting each other’s views will prove to be advantageous. After all, genius accepts genius, unconditionally.

by Anjenelle Amante

The GiverA gripping story that draws readers into an exceptional world with unnervingly close echoes of our own, the Giver delineated a community in which every individual and his or her experience was precisely the same. Competition was eliminated in favor of a community where everyone worked for the common good– conflict, fear and pain were nonexistent. With a Utopian-like atmosphere, such world offered no choices to its inhabitants and even assigned them with specific roles in the community– roles to which they were cosigned for a lifetime.

Jonas, the main protagonist, was apprehensive about the upcoming Ceremony of Twelve wherein he would be given his official assignment as a new adult member of the community. He did not really have a career preference though he enjoyed the freedom of choice that volunteer hours provided. He wasn’t really prepared, however, when he was given the highly honored assignment as the Receiver of Memory. This was because such role would center on taking the collective memory of his society– people’s past and present. He knew it was not an easy task.

When he began training with The Giver, a man he grew to love, he became extremely sensitive to beauty, pleasure and suffering. He became deeply affectionate of his family and The Giver. Also, he learned to be intensely passionate about his acquired beliefs and feelings.

Jonas’ inherent concern for others and desire for justice made him yearn to advocate changes in the community for purposes of awakening other people to the richness of life and putting an end to the casual cruelty that was practiced in the community. At twelve years old, the main character was too young to control the powerful emotions that his training unleashed. It was indeed of great aid that The Giver, with all the guidance and wisdom he could muster, helped Jonas keep all of his new experiences in perspective.

The Giver, the novel’s personage, was responsible for preserving memories using the wisdom they gave him to make decisions for the community. It is distressing that he was forbidden to share his knowledge and pain to anyone else, thus transformed him into a distinctively quiet, deliberate person. He then realized that he couldn’t change the community, though it badly needed it. This irrefutable fact describes what exactly is wrong with our society at present.

Reading the above accounts would make clear that the themes interweaving the various chapters of the novel were the importance of memory, the relationship between the pain and pleasure and the acknowledgement of individual differences.

Giving up the memories of their experiences in the society did not only allow the people to forget all the pain that had been suffered throughout human history, it also prevented suffering. However, the Committee of Elders knew that memory is essential and recognized its practical application— if you do not remember your errors, you might repeat them. When Jonas underwent training, he learned that there might be no pain without memory, yet happiness was also impossible to exist.

Related to the theme of memory is the idea that there can be no pleasure. No matter how delightful an experience was, you cannot value the pleasure it gave you unless you have some memory of a time when you suffered.
As implied, the novel also encouraged readers to celebrate differences instead of pretending not to notice such disparity. People in Jonas’ society ignored his unusual eyes and strange abilities out of politeness, but those unusual qualities ended up bringing lasting positive change to the community.

In this Newberry Award winning science fiction novel, author Lois Lowry managed to make readers cling to contemplation and intrigued them with The Giver’s deliberately ambiguous ending with allegorical connotations, leaving them with the decision of what they wanted to believe. It made us realize that sometimes, books don’t require a set ending to be appreciated. The author obviously did that on purpose: to leave the readers’ mind in an oblivious wonder. How she came up with the idea of using a very unusual society as setting proved how boundless her imagination was– a trait seemingly lacking to some science fiction writers.

A story of an almost perfect future world which turned out to be a hostile one and with numerous societal and ethical values incorporated into 179 pages seemed unimaginable, but Lois Lowry just went beyond imagination and proved it possible.

Appropriately plotted, The Giver certainly is thought provoking and riveting– an enthralling probe on the confusing meaning of life.

by Anjenelle Amante