by Clarissa Chua

Have you ever read a book and only partially liked it at first? But it won’t leave your thoughts and the more you think about it, the more you end up liking it. That is how The Great Gatsby came to be my favorite classic. After I finished reading it, I was so perplexed why my friends liked it. It was only when we had to do a paper for our English class that I came to see the nuances I didn’t first realize. I came to appreciate the work presented right in front of me.

This Song is (Not) For You by Laura Nowlin reminded me of that experience. I wasn’t particularly fond of it at first but I came to love it as I saw how this was not another cliché love story revolving around music. Music is used as a gear to push more important issues. It became the pivot for Sam’s distinction of his career path and his hobbies; it lifted the line between Ramona’s love for the piano as well as percussions; it led to Tom’s recognition for his desire to learn but not in an academic setting.

This book made me reflect upon the reality we live in. I was actually surprised at first with the characters’ thoughts because they dive into the deepest seas and their norm is a recreation of the one we know. In the eyes of a ‘normal’ person like Ally, when Tom introduced his girlfriend Ramona and her boyfriend Sam, it bewildered her! I bet it’s bewildering you at this very moment too. But when I read the book and all its explorations on self-discovery and compared it to our definition of the norm, it made me ask, “What are norms, really?” ☁

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