Love your Frenemies by Mina V. Esguerra

Summary from Goodreads

Kimmy Domingo was the kind of girl everyone hated and envied -- until her fiancé dumped her a week before their wedding. Soon after, she quit her job, hopped on a plane, and just hid from everyone who knew her. A year later and she's back in Manila to be maid of honor at a wedding she can't miss.


Kimmy's home because she's ready to start over, but she also knows that some people at that wedding were responsible for the mess her life turned out to be. The first step to recovery? Cutting off the ones who caused her troubles to begin with: her best friend and her first love


Love your Frenemies is not anything that I have expected from a contemporary romance short story.  For one, the protagonist isn't the sweet, klutzy, good girl type whom everybody loves. In fact people hated Kimmy Domingo. Words such as rude, manipulative, and heartless have been attached to her at one point or another. Now, what I realized as I was in the first few pages is that this is a character driven story. Kimmy is the pivot on which the story turns. Who exactly is she? What she has done to have garnered this hatred from people? And why was she dumped a week before their wedding? She is someone who exudes intrigue and probably someone who has drama following on her coat tails. And that I find, was the hook that pulled me in. So no, the plot doesn't have anything fancy. No gasp inducing betrayals or operatic cat fights at least. And that is not a complaint. Like I said, it's the type that is character driven, so one will find oneself inside of Kimmy's head most of the time. And I was happy about how Kimmy's thoughts and feelings were conveyed. It was clear and honest enough.  

I appreciate how Mina Esguerra creates rounded characters despite the limited number of pages in which she could do that. The shifting the narrative from the past Kimmy to the present Kimmy was a great way to create that roundedness. Although I have been told that Kimmy is a recurring character from another Mina book which I haven't read. So I came into this clean and at one point I did feel all the "hate" a bit unfounded. I did not found her loathsome at all. And I think that if I had read My Imaginary Ex, maybe I could have felt much stronger about Kimmy's turn around. It could have been a much more satisfying character development  for me, I think. Although, Kimmy, reminds me of a friend who gets the same flak, although to a lesser degree, but really, in truth, she is a lovely and kind person. So that kind of made Kimmy much more real to me. 

Another surprise was that romantic element actually does not take much of the limelight in this story, to which I am very much fine with. It is largely about relationships but more about the ones with friends. And to a lesser degree, relationships with family and co-workers, and just about the ties you keep (or sever). It is a "gal pal" story but with a tone that is less fun and light-hearted, as you might expect from friendship stories because it is one that deals with a re-evaluation of sorts, of these friendships/relationships. The perennial question of "do I need to cut this person out of my life or not?" hangs in the air.   

 All in all, I enjoyed the novella. I think it shows, more or less, the nature of relationships in the real world whether it be with your family or friends or lovers. They aren't always smooth sailing. They almost always require some compromise, although the extent or degree of which may vary. But nevertheless compromises not damaging and worth doing. This is my second Mina Esguerra book, and I think it will definitely not be my last.

Comments

  1. Like you, I read this book first, before reading My Imaginary Ex, where Kimmy is in her most hateful point. Love Your Frenemies is my most favorite Mina V. Esguerra book. I'm glad you liked it. :)

    Yay to Filipino contemporary lit like these! :)

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    1. Yes, hooray for local contemporary lit! They are a lot of fun. If I were to pick, I think I'd go with Fairy Tale Fail over this one though. Have your read all of Mina Esguerra's books? :)

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  2. Love your Frenemies reminds me of Emily Griffin's Something Borrowed and Something Blue. Do you read chick-lit too?

    I haven't read That Kind of Guy yet. I'm reserving it for next month. :)

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    Replies
    1. I occasionally enjoy them Lynai. So far, I think I have read Shopaholic (#1) and The Nanny Diaries(#1), Mina's Fairy Tale Fail and Chrissie Peria's All's Fair in Blog and War. All of which I very much enjoyed.

      I haven't read the book but I love the movie adaptation of it! The one with Rachel and Darcy right? Although I kind of wished Rachel picked the other guy. There's that part where he said that he has always like her and that she is home for him...Ahhhh! Hihi. :D

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