“Don’t read this book, Mommy. There are so many bad words in it,” cautioned my daughter Bea after browsing Super Panalo Sounds! In late January, I happened to be at the University of Santo Tomas campus and seized the opportunity to buy a copy of the book from the UST Publishing House. I got the last one on the shelf and was told that a second printing is already in progress. Let me just say that I am a fan of the award-winning writer. Let me also say that I love Anthony Bourdain so much yet I can’t get past Chapter 1 of his book, A Cook’s Tour. I absolutely adore Amy Tan but, for some reason, it’s taking me forever to finish her last novel, Saving Fish From Drowning. So what is the point I’m making here? My point is that my being a fan of someone does not guarantee that I will blindly rave about his or her work.
Fortunately, in this case, I finished reading the book and thoroughly enjoyed it. Not that it is a feel-good book. On the contrary, it is rather depressing and tragic. Lourd de Veyra‘s first novel tells the individual stories of 5 music geniuses: Milo, Budik, Dax, Vic and Zorro — collectively known as Superpanalo Sounds! This work of fiction chronicles the lives of the members of the most promising band in the country — their struggle to break into the music scene, their minor triumphs, personal demons and intimate pains. It gives readers a glimpse of the rock and roll culture, which inevitably touches on the sensitive topic of drug abuse and all its evil trappings. What I truly appreciated about this book was how well the author painted a picture of each character, no matter how dark it was. And his prose — almost poetic.
What I didn’t like about the book was how its proofreader did such a lousy job. You see, I have this compulsion to reach for a pencil and mark grammatical/typographical errors on the pages of the book I am reading. This one had far too many I just had to drop it altogether because I was getting way too distracted already. (A few examples: He didn’t even bothered (sic) to recite the headline out loud. [page 54, 2nd paragraph]; The day’s so hot and your (sic) so frickin’ thirsty you could drank (sic) from the gutter. [page 68]; The mythical album Malayang Diwa is referred to as Malaya ang Diwa more than a couple of times, and then Malayang Diwa again.) I decided to just enjoy reading the book for what it really is. Despite the numerous printing errors, Super Panalo Sounds! the novel is a real winner. I just hope that all the mistakes will be corrected on the second printing of the book.