POBBY AND DINGAN by Ben Rice

Number 2 on my list is Pobby and Dingan by Ben Rice.

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This book was a 50-peso (approximately AU$ 1.50) buy. No expectations of anything as I wasn’t familiar with the author. It’s a thin hardcover that was almost in mint condition and I love having books. At 50 pesos, I thought it was a steal. In any case, it would be a quick read. It turned out to be a memorable read. It has stayed on top of my favourites list since then.

The first few times I read the book, I hadn’t noticed a lot of details. For one, the setting was merely one of those things, interesting but not really all that relevant. It could have been anywhere foreign. Considering now that it’s a place in my adoptive country, I pay more attention to the description, trying to see in it the places I’ve been to and the people I’ve encountered.

Another thing I now noticed that I used to have glossed over is the American spelling of the word “recognize” and “realize,” although the mother is referred to as “mum.” (On a mostly-unrelated note, my almost-12-year-old Aussie nephew does not like the spelling “mum.” He prefers “mom,” the way it’s spelled in Americanised Philippines where he spent the first ten years of his life. My nephews and niece have not yet been born the first time I read this book.)

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Other matters that caught my attention:

  1. Ashmol calls that dude “James Blond.”
  2. “One boy asked her: ‘Do Dobby and Pingan speak Australian?’ ‘No,” said my sis, “they speak English quietly.'” (Hello there, J.K. Rowling.)
  3. I’m still going to be crying. A lot.

Although it was indeed a quick read, it was a book that stayed with me. I even went on to buy an extra copy that I saw in a bargain store (15 pesos, approximately 50 cents), and will most likely keep buying its other incarnations that I bump into.

Unfortunately, this book’s author does not seem to have written any other novel, but he was involved in writing the film version, Opal Dream, which is my next project: Watch the movie as soon as I find a copy.

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