Friday, April 6, 2018

Open: A Boy’s Wayang Adventure

Today I'd like to share a book written by a friend of mine. Eva Wong Nava lives between two worlds. She reads copiously and writes voraciously. We first met in Paris where we used to ride the public bus to school every day accompanying our young daughters. She has since moved to Singapore and our daughters are taller than we are by now.

Eva is a very talented writer and has managed to bring together the rich and yet historical world of Chinese opera in the setting of a Singapore public school, exposing the thoughts, feelings and interactions of a special needs individual meeting that of a neurotypical world.

Open is a 10-year-old boy with a curiosity for life and the things that happen around him. He is on the autism spectrum and loves to draw. He is especially good at drawing monkeys. When his class is selected to perform in a Chinese Opera based on the Monkey King and the Journey to the West, Open must find it in himself to overcome his obstacles and boldly step on stage. A heartwarming story about friendship beyond barriers, Open is a gift calling to the largeness of our hearts.

You're looking at the back cover of the movie edition of the book. Yes, the book is based on a movie, directed by Raymond Tan of Brainchild Pictures. Although most people would say that Open is based on the movie, the author says it's an adaptation of the movie. That's because the book tells the story in Benjamin Oh's voice. Who is Benjamin Oh? You'll have to read the book to find out.

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