27 Dec Bookbed reviews: ‘Before I Do’ by Kath C. Eustaquio-Derla
BY ALLANA LUTA
Kit and Johnny have been dating for three years. And over the years since Kit met him, Johnny has become rich, powerful and, to be completely honest, a little boring, a little robotic. The trade-off to having a successful career are cancelled dates, disappointing birthdays and scheduled sex, and Kit is tired of it. She just wants to jolt some life back into her relationship that has somehow flatlined.
Enter Will Naval, fellow Archie Comics enthusiast and annoyingly chill stranger turned challenge. Will is easy to talk to and happens to be there when Kit feels lonely and neglected. For the first time in a long time, she feels something akin to excitement and Kit can’t get enough of it.
But then Johnny proposes. Kit says yes but that doesn’t mean her feelings for Will disappear entirely. Now she has to choose between living in the moment or settling for a future she’s not sure she wants.
WHAT I LIKED
Reading Before I Do felt like chatting with a friend in a cafe, exchanging stories over overpriced drinks and laughing at the ridiculousness of life. It may be because the story was written in first-person POV, but the language and crassness and local slang made me relate to Kit more. The way Kath told the story is how people around me talk and she described places that were distinctly Metro Manila that I could imagine standing in the sidelines, witnessing Kit’s boy (man?) problems unfolding right before my eyes.
(Spoiler alert! Highlight succeeding text to read.) I liked that Kit is unapologetically a bitch. She knows it, her boyfriend knows it (and loves her for/despite it), her friends and coworkers know it. And she owns it, completely and unabashedly. I guess I just haven’t read a lot of local books where the heroine is a little more than nasty and proud of it.
Denver also really surprised me. If you’ve been following What Am I To You here on Bookbed, then you’ll know who Denver is. In BIDO, he is now a government official (I mean, wow, right?) but remains as Kit’s personal honesty pill, serving up harsh truths to slap Kit back to reality. He tells it like it is and it’s great. That’s the kind of friend we all need.
(Spoiler alert! Highlight succeeding text to read.) Parts of the story could have been edited better (and Kath admits so in her author’s note at the end of the book). I feel like it could have been more engaging had the readers been given time to fully appreciate the budding more-than-friendship between Kit and Will. The development of their relationship could have been fleshed out more. I just felt like everything between them happened too fast to warrant that kind of confession of Will in the end. But then again, I am a fan of slow burn so maybe fast and furious almost-romances aren’t my cup of tea.
If you’re looking for something short and bittersweet, with a humanly flawed protagonist, Before I Do might just be for you.