Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nina vs. Nina: A Comparison of Myself to the Character from the Book, The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson

I once Googled my name and The Bermudez Triangle came up, where I found that one of the characters have the same name as I do. Nina Bermudez. After a few months, I actively began to look for it in several bookstores, until one day, I got my very own. Despite the title, though, Nina Bermudez is not the main, main character in the book. She shared the spotlight with her two best friends, Avery and Mel.

Nina from the book:

  1. Tall, cocoa-skinned - "...her mother was black and her father was Cuban (and white)..."
  2. The known 'achiever' among her friends
  3. The planner
  4. Went to a summer college program
  5. President of the Student Council, hence, in charge of every school activity
  6. Had a long-distance relationship and only spoke with her boyfriend over the phone and through email and IM
  7. Felt 'excluded' from her friends' lives when she returned from the summer program
  8. Got caught in the middle when her friends broke up
  9. Long-distance boyfriend broke up with her over the phone
  10. Found a not-boyfriend in Parker
  11. (Presumably) Got back with long-distance ex-boyfriend when he apologized
  12. "TiVos every episode of Trading Spaces and What Not to Wear because watching people rip down bad decorations, cast aside bad clothes—these things soothe her."
  13. Styled her hair in Princess Leia buns, and then later cut it to get Diva Hair

The 'me' Nina:

  1. Tall, though I'm not really sure what to call my skin color but it's got yellow undertones - I'm Asian.
  2. Used to be the known 'achiever' among friends - I now have a new reputation of being the clown and the canine.
  3. The planner
  4. I did not go to a summer college program, but I did a lot of studying and going to class during summers when I was in college, does that count?
  5. Never went into school politics
  6. Had a long-distance relationship with a younger guy
  7. Felt 'excluded' from my friends after graduation
  8. Never had any friends who hooked up with each other, but I did have my share of getting caught in the middle of things, like fights.
  9. Long-distance boyfriend broke up with me through text. How lame is that?
  10. Found a rebound guy that only made things worse
  11. Got another boyfriend who lived (almost) close by
  12. Only watches TV for the commercials. Water soothes me.
  13. Has only two hairstyles: A pony tail and witch hair
As I read through the novel, I thought, "why is Nina so flat?" her character was so flat, it gave my chest some competition. But then, it's not like the whole story is about her, there were her friends to write about too. She did have her moments, though, I love how she did not let the feeling of being 'excluded' from her friends' lives get to her that much and still tried her best to be great friends with them. What happened next was not her fault though, she had to go with the flow. However, those things did not prevent her from helping Melanie move on and come out. As for Avery, I'd like to think that she did not really push Avery away, especially that time when she got her hair cut; her boyfriend just broke up with her so of course she'd feel out of sorts and would not want to spend time with other people for a while. When she did admit that she did not like what Avery did, she clarified that it was not Avery she hated, so at least it meant that there was still something in her that would welcome her friend back.

I was very happy with what she did in the ending. She forgave Avery, without question, without any explanation. I'm still getting over the fact that she is considering getting back together with Steve, but I liked what she said: "Sometimes you have to let people say they're sorry." She's got a very forgiving heart, not very much like moi. She was even the one who initiated that the three of them, The Bermudez Triangle, triangle off once again, after months of being confused, separated, and estranged. She took the step towards turning a whole new leaf for the three of them, preserving their friendship, to proving that friends do stick together til the end.

On that, I think Nina is a better person than I am. Things happened between me and some friends, and it was I who excluded myself, much like Avery. However, I don't think Nina's treatment of Parker was very nice, no matter that it was the latter's fault he got hurt. She should not have asked him to be the 'not-boyfriend' since she knows he likes her a lot and she was not very sure of herself that time, that she might end up just hurting him. Admirably for Parker though, he was able to bounce back. Man I love that character.

The problem with going into a relationship (not-boyfriend thing included) so soon after a breakup is almost like just saying outright what's on your mind when you're really angry. Most of the time, whatever you said would come back and haunt you. Better let the anger pass and then compose yourself before saying something you might regret. In this case, Nina and I made the same mistake - we went on the rebound. We deluded ourselves - into thinking that the next guys could help us forget. In that, we were very wrong. I just compounded the pain I was feeling, while Nina hurt a really great friend (really tough talking about another person with the same name). At least she still gained Parker's friendship.

What I identified with her the most though, was how our boyfriends broke up with us. Over the phone. Through text. "She sat on the floor and thought about the fact that nothing changes when the boyfriend who was never there suddenly goes away." That was exactly how I felt too. But just because the relationship was long distance did not make the pain hurt any less. If anything, it hurt more because we, Nina and I, did not even get a chance to see our boyfriends before the breakup.

I'm pretty sure the similarities end there. I don't really want to make people think I'm deluded enough to think that this character was totally molded after me. After all, the author and I live continents apart. And I'm pretty sure I am not an organizing freak that it almost bordered on OCD, and Nina's not too hyper and emotional that it bordered on bipolar.

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