Stigma, be gone! The power of love compels you: A ‘Ghost of a Feeling’ book review

4.94 over 5 stars.

Mental health is really an issue in the Philippines, and “Ghost of a Feeling”, albeit being a work of fiction, has outstandingly presented this situation. Tackling a topic regarded with stigma is no easy task. Adding a drop of love potion to the brew makes it quite harder, but Dr. Celestine Trinidad has done it so well. Her newest novella is a definite page-turner, with its quick pace, suave storytelling, and relatable characters. Indeed, “Ghost of a Feeling” is one book that has effectively conveyed its timely message to its intended readers, and I salute the author for doing such a terrific job!

The Story

4.94 over 5 stars.

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The splendid cover by Miles Tan.

Cris Villareal is an aspiring surgeon who works hard to reach her ambition. She is a top medicine student whose academic achievements are sweet fruit of her labor. All seemed well until she reached her junior internship year, when one of her patients died under her watch. She was publicly humiliated in the aftermath. Her closest friends and family tried to lift her spirits up, but to no avail. She thought she was a failure. All she felt was the immense pressure boiling inside of her, and she can no longer contain it. Thus, on one fateful night, on the rooftop of her apartment, she decides to end her misery by taking her own life.

However, she was stopped by Emilio – the ghost who haunts her apartment building. Apparently, he committed suicide many years back, and it seems like he regrets his decision. Hence, he resolves in doing his best from preventing another living being from making the same mistake. Each night following his encounter with Cris, he meets with her to talk about a multitude of things. Cris finds solace and perhaps more in Emilio. Little by little, she regains her will to live.

But things could go wrong again if Cris learns the truth – the Emilio she is seeing is not actually the real deal. He is not paranormal, but is actually mortal, Nathan Morales, who was dressed up for the Halloween on that momentous evening.

From that point forward, Nathan keeps his lie. But what he is feeling for her is genuine. How long though could his identity remain a secret? What if Cris discovers the brutal truth? Will it be the end of their friendship, and even Cris’ story?

No one else can understand… Nathan couldn’t. But Emilio can… There was nothing else he could do. So he did the only thing he could think of:

He became a ghost.

I just could not put “Ghost of a Feeling” down. Its story is so well-written that I always found myself turning the page. The quick pace worked very well with the book’s short, simple and concise plot. There are no complexities added, making it easy for the readers to comprehend. Moreover, everything that is written – every scene, every connection, every twist – makes sense. Oh, and the humor is very much on point. I could not help but giggle a couple of times whilst reading the e-book, and at the same time falling in a lengthy queue at an outlet of the country’s king of deliveries.

Of course, what is really worthy of praise is the message that the novella conveys. It presents a number of realistic scenarios that, combined, led to Cris falling victim to crippling depression, and the feeling that she has nowhere to run to and nobody to cry for help. The themes are clear as crystal. They can easily reach the readers’ minds. Again, kudos, Dr. Trinidad!

The Setting

4.88 over 5 stars.

I really liked how many of the scenes in the book took place on the rooftop of Cris’ apartment. It was a key element to the story. It was where Cris found herself at the lowest point in her life, and where she was able to redeem herself through her midnightly conversations with Emilio-slash-Nathan.  The finale was even set on the very same rooftop.

“You’re here,” she breathed. “I thought it was just a dream.”

The ghost smiled at her through the mist that surrounded him. There was a hint of mischief in his smile. “Why? Because I’m the man of your dreams?”

Moreover, I also liked how the story was not exactly written chronologically. I loved the time jumps. They were not too complicated, and were a refreshing way of unfolding the story.

The Starrers

5.00 over 5 stars.

All had important roles in the story. Of course, Cris, being the main protagonist, bears the standard. Hers is a strong character, and her descent to suicidal thoughts did not make her weak. She is a true-to-life representation of someone who has been victimized by, and has subsequently overcome depression. The readers can relate to her emotions. Indeed, this is one aspect of her that I truly love.

Her friends, Trina, Alex and Sam, seemed to be minor characters at first. I initially thought they were just there to provide comic relief. But later on, I realized how vital they were to the story. They proved what true friends really are for – that they are always there for us, even if we think otherwise.

Meanwhile, her parents are classic examples of Filipino dads and moms. Their relationship with Cris may even be a déjà vu to many young readers. This is one of the many things that make the book very close to the hearts of Filipinos, including mine.

Anyway, another character I liked very much besides Cris would be Nathan. His personality is a plus point. He is the epitome of a gentleman – one who will do all things to make someone he loves happy. Also, his story was so wonderfully written. In his pursuit of saving Cris, he was at the same time redeeming himself. I honestly love how Dr. Trinidad made Nathan’s character. Bravo!

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A dose of calligraphy for this awesome e-book.

“Ghost of a Feeling” indeed is not the usual Filipino-written romance pocket book. While the latter’s plot just focuses on fleeting love, the former’s story overflows with a lot of themes and emotions that truly tug at one’s heart strings. The novella may be short, but its meaning is unforgettable – one that stays in the reader’s soul forever.

Again, my heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Celestine Trinidad for this awesome work! To everyone out there, I truly recommend this book to you. It makes the often avoided and complex topic of mental health very easy for all to grasp.

The Kindle Edition of Ghost of a Feeling” is now available on Amazon. Go on and head over there, and purchase your copy! Enjoy reading.

Meanwhile, the print version is coming next year, so stay tuned!

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3 Comments Add yours

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