Books Non-Fiction Romance

Modern Love edited by Daniel Jones | Book Review

Ang complete title nya ay Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption. It’s a collection of love stories and based from the complete title, hindi lahat ng stories happy ending. Dun sa introduction part nagustuhan ko how the editor described love.

Kakatapos lang ng book club discussion namin kahapon about this book at naging makabagbag-damdamin ang naging usapan kasi nag-share din yung ibang members ng heartfelt stories nila. Sinimulan namin yung discussion sa favorite stories namin dun sa book. Eto yung sakin (in no particular order):

Top Stories

1. The Race Grows Sweeter Near Its Final Lap

Sobrang sweet ng old couple na ‘to. Mapapaisip ka na when worse comes to worst, hindi pa huli ang lahat. You can still find love kahit anong age pa yan.

Old love is different. In our seventies and eighties, we had been through enough of life’s ups and downs to know who we were, and we had learned to compromise. We knew something about death because we had seen loved ones die. The finish line was drawing closer. Why not have one last blossoming of the heart?

Awwww. At sobrang sweet din nung binibigyan nya ng flowers si lolo pag birthday nung deceased wife nya. Awww nanaman. Grabe yung pagka self-actualized.

I had one of the most precious blessings available to human beings—real love. I went for it and found it.

I yearn desperately for Sam. But the current pain is very worth it. He and I often told each other, “We are so lucky.” And we were.

For the last time, AWWWW 🥺

2. When Eve and Eve Bit the Apple

Another sweet story about Christian lesbian lovers. Yung sobrang pinipigilan nila yung feelings nila sa isa’t isa because of their religion kahit sobrang clear na love nila ang isa’t isa. Tapos tinakwil na sila nung church nila nung nag-confess sila dun sa pastor nila na friend pa nila. Super religious kasi nila kaya big deal talaga sa kanila yung mga pangyayare. But love prevails. Ang sweet nung nag-propose si Jess kay Kristen. Favorite line ko yung:

She put the silver band on my finger and gave me a matching ring to place on hers. Then she asked if I remembered the homeless man we met that morning after brunch.

I laughed. “Of course! Why?”

“I figured out what to do with those quarters. They were melted into our rings. Fifty cents each.”

3. You May Want to Marry My Husband

Nakakaiyak ‘to. May cancer yung babae and sinulat nya yung article para mahanapan ng potential next wife yung husband nya pag wala na sya. Hays. Love is selfless talaga.

No wonder the words cancer and cancel look so similar.

After nya i-describe kung gano ka-wonderful yung husband nya:

My guess is you know enough about him now. So let’s swipe right.

Hays. She died 10 days after na-publish yung essay. Hays.

4. My Husband is Now My Wife

Eto naman yung story about a couple na yung husband nya is trans pala. Pero sobrang strong nung babae at nung marriage nila kasi hindi sila naghiwalay. They still chose one another. Pero dinescribe nya kung gano sya ka-indenial nung una na her husband will eventually be her wife.

How do you grive for someone you’ve lost but who is still there?

Grabe ‘tong quote na ‘to.

5. Something Like Motherhood

Siguro eto yung story na naka-relate ako. Dun lang sa part na ayaw nyang magkaanak.

The decision came from my desire to be fully in my life as a writer rather than to raise a child. Having a child was not how I wanted to make meaning of my life, not how I wanted to give back to the world. And the reason for this was my sense that I would love too fiercely, too desperately, at the cost of my self.

Ugh super relate.

Kaso eto na nga. May sakit yung sister-in-law nya at mukang hindi na tatagal. At yung kapatid nya, pinapa-move sya at yung asawa nya dun sa bahay nila para siguro may “mother figure” pa rin.

Nabanggit nya na she feels trapped. Parang naglalaban siguro yung feelings of “Ayokong magpaka-nanay sa mga pamangkin ko kasi ayoko ngang magkaanak diba?” at “Pero love ko yung mga pamangkin ko as if their my own.” Naimagine ko yung predicament nya na ang hirap nga. Pero sa huli na-accept nya rin at yun na rin yung pinili nya, na maging titang ina sabi nga ni Glenie (one of the book club members).

Anyone observing us would assume I am their mother. But I’m not and don’t want to be. Yet given all that has happened, how can I not be?

And although I am not a mother and never will be, this pull feels like it must be a kind of motherhood: as difficult as I expected, yes, but also full of wonder.

6. My First Lesson in Motherhood

Another great story about motherhood and adoption. Sobrang nakakabilib yung couple dito. Kasi ako to be honest, hindi ko alam kung gagawin ko yung ginawa nila.

It’s tempting to think that our decision was validated by the fact that everything turned out OK. But for me that’s not the point. Our decision was right because she was our daughter and we loved her. We would not have chosen the burdens we anticipated, and in fact we declared up front our inability to handle such burdens. But we are stronger than we thought.

Most Entertaining

Meron ding honorable mentions. Eto yung super natawa naman ako kasi sobrang obsessed nya dun sa “Manic Pixie Dream Girl”. Ang Title is Uh, Honey, That’s Not Your Line. Masyado atang nilamon ng rom-com movies yung nagsulat neto.

One hot summer afternoon, we met at a bar with the intention of writing sketches together, but our plans changed, as they often do with Manic Pixie Dream Girls.

Tapos yung mga quirks nung Manic Pixie Dream Girl kahit papunta nang negative, he just shrugs it off kasi nga ganun daw talaga ang mga Manic Pixie Dream Girls 🤣

I didn’t mind the episodes so much. I considered them the symptom of my Manic Pixie Dream Girl being perfectly imperfect.

Tapos ilang beses din binanggit yung term na Manic Pixie Dream Girl kaya everytime babanggitin yun natatawa ko. Kaso natapos na ang fairytale just like the movie 500 Days of Summer.

At night she was the Manic Pixie Dream Girl for other people; during the day I got the Hungover Depressed Pixie Nightmare. I knew our relationship was in trouble, but I still loved her and believed this was just the difficult third act before “happily ever after.”


Eto namang Sleeping with the Guitar Player, cute lang sya. Mas entertaining yung una kong minention pero natawa din ako dito sa line na to:

I imagined the salesmen nudging one another, “Here comes another guitar-in-the-basement dude, dude.”

Most Annoying and Cringy

At meron din na super na-annoy ako kasi ang pa-cool at ang pretentious. Ang calculated masyado ng mga moves nya. Tapos nagiiba-iba sya ng personality pag feeling nya hindi nagw-work yung isa nyang personality just to please the guy. Plus isa pang nakaka-annoy, yung straight out of a romance novel na dialogue nya. Di ko alam kung bakit napasama ‘to sa compilation kasi sobrang lame. Ang title is, I Seemed Plucky and Game, Even to Myself.

Eto naman hindi kasing-annoying nung story above, title is, The Five Stages of Ghosting Grief. Natawa pa nga ko sa line na to nung hindi sya ni-replyan nung lalake:

It was entirely possible he hadn’t seen the text. He could have been in a deep sleep. He could have dropped his phone in the toilet. He could have died! Any of these options were comforting.

And na-touch ako dun sa line na ‘to towards the ending:

There was only so much life to live, and no time to spend it with people who weren’t the very best fit.

Tapos nadismaya ko dun sa next and last line na:

And then he texted.

Parang straight out of a rom-com novel nanaman. Hindi ko alam kung maniniwala na ko tapos writer pa yung nagsulat.

Most WTF

The title is, At the Hospital, an Interlude of Clarity. Ang sweet na sana nung last paragraph eh:

…those six beautiful hours in the emergency room flicker in my head, and I am reminded how close I am to an alternate world in which I am happy, a world that occupies the same space as this one but is somehow distinct from it. And while that better world may be difficult to find, it is as close to me as the air in front of my face.

Tapos biglang:

Brian Gittis lives in New Jersey with his wife and son.

Sobrang nakaka-offend naman dun sa asawa 😂 Although pwede naman na hindi pa sila nung asawa nya nung sinulat nya ‘tong piece na ‘to, pero ang offensive pa din kung ako yung asawa 😅


Napakinggan ko yung podcast episode neto and hindi naman pala super WTF kasi single pa naman sya that time tapos after daw ma-publish yung story nya, nag-date pa uli sila nung Brazilian girl. Pero parang nakakaselos pa din para dun sa present wife. Or selosa lang talaga ko 😅

Most Creepy

Eto yung girl na nakipag-date with someone who reminded her of her dad. 20+ years ata ang age gap nila so hindi lang yung tipong na-attract sya dahil ka-ugali sya nung tatay nya pero dinescribe nya rin yung physical similarities nung lalake sa tatay nya which I find creepy and sobrang weird. And the creepiest line of all ay yung:

My father had never seen me developed.

Whaaat?? Does it matter? Bakit nya naisip yun?? Nasuka ko ng very light. The title is, So He Looked Like Dad. It Was Just Dinner, Right? Title pa lang ang creepy na.

The Okay Ones

Eto yung about sa isang practical girl na gusto lang nyang maging honest yung mga nakaka-hookup nya. Title is, For Best Hookup Results, Use Your Words, OK? Gusto ko yung naaasar sya dun sa mga lalake na kung ano-ano pang sinasabi at pina-promise habang magkasama sila when in fact pareho naman sila na sex lang yung habol.

I don’t wander into casual sex expecting it to yield a relationship. I have never understood why some guys seem to think flattery is the key to a bedroom they’ve already been welcomed into.

Wala naman akong personal experience pero ramdam ko yung asar ni ateng. Na masyadong ang weak ng tingin sa kanya na feeling nung mga lalake kelangan pa syang i-compliment all the time at sabihan ng, “I will call you.” when in reality hindi na magpapakita yung lalake after the sex.

I neither require the flattery nor deserve the ghosting. With hookups there’s no need to be mean—just say what you mean. Use your words.

Eto namang next yung story na hindi ako maka-relate. Kasi ang personality ko talaga kahit kanino ay, “Kung ayaw mo sakin, mas ayaw ko sayo.” College ako neto (2009?) tapos lasing na ko, umiiyak yung kaibigan ko kasi iniwan ng boyfriend. Tapos bigla ko na lang sinasabi sa kanya na, “Kung ayaw nya sayo, sabihin mo mas ayaw mo sa kanya.” Sabay biglang tayo ako at pumunta sa CR. Haha ang vivid nung memory na yun sakin di ko alam kung bakit.

So ang title nung story ay, Loved and Lost? It’s OK, Especially If You Win. Bigay todo kasi si ateng kahit ayaw na sa kanya. Hindi ko ma-imagine na magiging ganito ako. Pero na-appreciate ko naman yung last na sinabi nya:

Thankfully, all those men were just not that into me. They did me a bigger favor than I could ever have known.

Another story na oks lang ay yung Single, and Surrounded by a Wall of Men. Sya yung pumupunta sa mga mixers to meet men pero sobrang nadala na sya kasi wala namang nangyayari. Pero merong nag-urge sa kanya na umattend nung isang mixer na yon and again, nadismaya sya. I feel for ateng nung pumasok sya sa bathroom tapos parang nag-give up na talaga sya.

After I chatted with a few more men, none of whom interested me, I hurried out to the bathroom and locked myself in a stall.

Why was I putting myself through this again? It was exhausting. Maybe love was overrated. Maybe love was just what people claimed to feel for anyone who’d put up with them.

Sad. Pero lumabas sya ng bathroom at may lalake pala na nakaabang sa kanya. And it turned out, yun yung mapapangasawa nya. Awww.

When I ask myself how I managed to get so lucky, I think: Because my life in music didn’t work out. Because I went to an expensive law school even though I had no money…

But most crucial, I think, is that I stopped hiding in the bathroom before it was too late.

Next. Eto naman yung story na part nakakaiyak, part nakaka-amuse. Ang pasaway kasi nung biological mom. Homeless yung nanay kaya pina-adopt nya yung baby nya sa isang gay men couple. Tapos open adoption yung setup nila. Na-break yung heart ko dito:

I was thirty-three years old when we adopted DJ, and I thought I knew what a broken heart looked like, how it felt, but I didn’t know anything. You know what a broken heart looks like? Like a sobbing teenager handing over a two-day-old infant she can’t take care of to a couple who she hopes can.

Pero ang pasaway nung nanay. Lagi syang napapa-trouble. Hindi ko ma-imagine yung trauma dun sa bata ng ganong setup. Ang hirap pala ng open adoption. Pero eto yung natawa ko kasi ang pasaway talaga.

Five weeks and $1,600 later, we had managed not only to save Wish (the mother’s dog) but also to get DJ’s mother out and the charges dropped. When we talked on the phone, I urged her to move on to someplace else. I found out three months later that she’d taken my advice—she was calling from a jail in Virginia, where she’d been arrested for trespassing at a train yard.

Sa ibang jail lang pala lumipat 😅

Ang daming okay na stories pero ang dami din na 1 star lang yung rating ko. Eto yung 4.5 stars ata yung rating ko. Title is, Just Holding on Through the Curves. Tungkol ulit sa adoption pero 17 years old na yung girl nung inadopt nya. Na-highlight dito yung teenagers na too old na for adoption and too old na rin to be in a foster home. Kaya ang ending nagiging homeless sila. Sana madaming mamulat na couples na nagbabalak mag-adopt from this story.

Christina taught me that a lasting family isn’t something that happens, it’s something you choose year after year.

Ughhh napapagod na kong mag-recall pero eto na yung last. Eto naman yung nagka-Alzheimer’s yung husband nya. Title is, When Mr. Reliable Becomes Mr. Needy. Habang lumalala yung Alzheimer’s nung lalake, lalong nasisira yung marriage nila.

They were married forty-seven years—“all wonderful,” to quote my mother, who apparently wasn’t counting the last five, when her husband, at sixty-three, became ill with Alzheimer’s, her world disintegrated, and nothing between them was ever wonderful again.

That’s the ending. Concise, cold. Yet what does an ending say, really, about a life, a marriage?

Ganda nung quote na ‘to. Kung masaklap yung ending, ibabasura mo na lang ba yung magandang simula at gitna?

RATING [3 🌟]

Yung ginawa ko dito is ni-rate ko lahat ng stories then kinuha ko yung average. Ang hirap lang nya basahin ng tuloy-tuloy kasi since iba-iba yung stories, may nakakatawa, may nakaka-iyak, may nakaka-annoy, nagiiba-iba yung mood ko tuloy tapos paiba-iba yung setting. So ang tagal din bago ko natapos basahin yung buong book. Pero okay naman sya. Sobrang heartwarming nung ibang stories. Yung iba nagtataka ko bakit napasama.

At yun na nga, halos lahat ng contributors na napasali are writers. Hindi naman siguro lahat ng magagandang stories writers lang ang naka-experience. Pero nung pinakinggan ko yung podcast, isang criteria pala talaga para ma-publish yung story mo sa NY Times is dapat maganda yung pagkakasulat. Oh well.

Click to view my digital book shelf.


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