Tiny Times 1.0 by Jingming Guo

Book: Tiny Times 1.0 (Tiny Times #1), by Jingming Guo
Rating: ★★★★½
+ Wikipedia link (as GR has the blurb in Chinese)


It's been forever since I last read a novel in Chinese and I'm glad to say that I loved Tiny Times 1.0 by Guo. I never have any expectations when I read contemporary novels, though honestly I bought this series because of the movies it has been adapted into. Throughout this particular first book of the trilogy, I've both laughed and had my heart wrenched. 

Tiny Times is set in the current century and also filled with lots of Chinese pop culture references. Guo makes use of this setting and inserts self-derogatory (but hilarious) dialogues that references him in the book. Considering the fact that he is indeed sort of an idol plus writer in the Chinese entertainment world, this is pretty funny to read.

This novel is a seemingly simple story of four different girls' lives during their university years, and also after they have graduated. It starts of simple, at the least, and Guo leads you with expert hands into the complex relationships and plot twists at a comfortable pace. My favourite part is the characters because they all have their individual personalities but Guo manages to create unbreakable friendships and make-believe-forever love. I'm unable to pick a favourite charcter, as usual, but it's a good fight between Chongguang, Gongming and Xiao. I can say for certain I'll have an even harder time when I go into the second and last novels.

The only issue I have with this book is that Guo loves slipping snippets of thoughts (or sort of reflections-like passages) in between scenes. While I'm not particularly distracted by this, it's sometimes jarring to have my flow interrupted. Of course, if you are not one to enjoy the massive pop culture references (think: Dior, Prada, Brad Pitt...), then I'm pretty sure you'll have to dock at least another star off.

I'm definitely continuing with this series, not only because I enjoy it, but because of the movies. I have restrained from watching them but it has a very beautiful cast, PLUS Guo himself directed the movies (probably why I feel that the cast fits better than the TV series and why I'm not recommending the TV version). Admittedly from online reviews, they don't seem to garner positive ones yet the films have enjoyed commercial success. And... two of my favourite Chinese actors play my top favourite pairing in the film! (tears of joy) I mean, look.


Additionally, I love the sets of posters created for the various movies (there are four of them)! Can't say which one is my favourite buuut... here's some of them.

 

They've shot sets for each character and each pairing, I believe. My favourite characters (and actors!) are the first two shown, Yang Mi as Lin Xiao (the protagonist) and Cheney as Chongguang (protagonist's later boyfriend). The last poster is why I'm rather fond of this series -- it also takes same-sex relationship(s) into the story AND the families' (and friends') reactions to their "coming out". Some may say Guo is trying to accomplish too much by encompassing so much into one story but well, I like it.

I hope it gets translated into English or if not, I hope there's a English version of the comics floating around on the net since the original is in Chinese. (If not, I'M PRETTY SURE I'M HAPPY TO TRANSLATE!) Also, I highly doubt the novel will be translated since it's usually the other way around for translated novels (E to C, rather than C to E, because... profitability).

But anyway, if you don't have access to the novels, I highly recommend the movies since it's directed by the author himself and I'm pretty sure he's not going to stray far from his own story's adaptation!

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