Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Dalam dunia penerbangan, dikenal istilah critical eleven, sebelas menit paling kritis di dalam pesawat—tiga menit setelah take off dan delapan menit sebelum landing—karena secara statistik delapan puluh persen kecelakaan pesawat umumnya terjadi dalam rentang waktu sebelas menit itu. It's when the aircraft is most vulnerable to any danger.
In a way, it's kinda the same with meeting people. Tiga menit pertama kritis sifatnya karena saat itulah kesan pertama terbentuk, lalu ada delapan menit sebelum berpisah—delapan menit ketika senyum, tindak tanduk, dan ekspresi wajah orang tersebut jelas bercerita apakah itu akan jadi awal sesuatu ataukah justru menjadi perpisahan.
Ale dan Anya pertama kali bertemu dalam penerbangan Jakarta-Sydney. Tiga menit pertama Anya terpikat, tujuh jam berikutnya mereka duduk bersebelahan dan saling mengenal lewat percakapan serta tawa, dan delapan menit sebelum berpisah Ale yakin dia menginginkan Anya.
Kini, lima tahun setelah perkenalan itu, Ale dan Anya dihadapkan pada satu tragedi besar yang membuat mereka mempertanyakan pilihan-pilihan yang mereka ambil, termasuk keputusan pada sebelas menit paling penting dalam pertemuan pertama mereka.
Diceritakan bergantian dari sudut pandang Ale dan Anya, setiap babnya merupakan kepingan puzzle yang membuat kita jatuh cinta atau benci kepada karakter-karakternya, atau justru keduanya.
In Dark Souls 2, there is a misty jungle area where thick fog hinders your vision, the mini-map suddenly vanishes, invisible soldiers will come at you, and you can't navigate your way out. I played Dark Souls 2 with my cousin, and after moving around the jungle for hours, we gave up and decided to go back to where we started. That's exactly what I feel when I read Critical Eleven.
Putting "Sold 1,111 copies in 11 minutes" label on the plastic wrap--well--is a gallant thing to do as it makes readers wonder why people buy this book. Back when Critical Eleven was still in pre-order era, I asked the same question myself. Selling that amount of books in Indonesia is honestly such an unbeatable feat, and I can't remember whether there is any other Indonesian book that is sold that fast or not. I am impressed, to say the least, and I make a note to myself to buy this book when it came out to understand what this fuss is really about.
I have read "A Very Yuppy Wedding" before, and I have prepared myself to face that tremendous amount of English sentences, a high-class lifestyle, and godly characters. I know I will encounter those things in Critical Eleven, but I never expect I will find this book quite--uhm--messy.
I heave a sigh relief after reading this book. Reading Critical Eleven is very exhausting when you have to cringe and roll your eyes all the time, trying to point the mistakes here and there. First of all, that pretentious style of writing. I have read "A Very Yuppy Wedding" when I was in junior high if I recall correctly, and I don't mind with that kind of style. However, as I grow up and older, I begin to realize that the most important thing for me from reading a book is how the author relays his or her message by using words and sentences as effective as possible. Using those obscure words ubiquitously, for me, doesn't relay the message quite well, especially if it doesn't have any connection with the plot. If I were the editor, I will leave out those unnecessary film-scenes, quotes, footnotes, and Critical Eleven probably will be much shorter.
Even if I find the conversation between the characters flowing and good, my other complaint is the conversation between Harris and Ale which is really cringeworthy, with that "bro"-thing and it feels really forced and trying hard to sound masculine. I know Ika Natassa has tried her best to write a male point of view, and I salute her since Ale's point of view is quite masculine, but yeah, we're not "bro"-ing everything that moves and always talking about girls. So, yeah, flashnews: we're not that shallow.
Which makes me remember another complaints that I have. Even though it's only a work of fiction, and it doesn't represent what the author thinks, there are several stuffs that are against my personal belief. At that time, I just really want to throw out the book, just like what Pat Solitano, Jr. (Bradley Cooper) did in Silver Linings Playbook (Beware, you will find many artist and film references like this on the book).
First, I don't agree with the women objectification. I don't think that "objectification" is the proper word, but when you compare woman with a coffee bean, no matter how good the comparison or the parable is, it's such an inhumane thing to do. I know I sound like sweating small stuffs, but I believe that human being cannot be compared to an inanimate objects. Secondly, I don't quite agree with the "gender stereotyping" that is used either. Several reviewers have stated that there are templates in Ika Natassa's characters, and this template is like giving a false illusion of what men are supposed to be or do and what women are supposed to be or do. Gender is not like public toilet where you can easily split it into male or female. Gender is more like color spectrum. And that's why I believe that you cannot equalize one condition to all people. My major disappointment, is though, when Anya said that men who love Lady Gaga are gay. I was like, "Wtf?" I don't believe that Ika Natassa can be really that shallow since that "bold" statement is not even true. That's really stereotyping, and I find that offensive. I don't even love Lady Gaga. I'm not even gay. I'm really sorry, but I just can't agree with this even if it's just only a fiction. And just like what I have explained before, reading this book is like walking through the misty jungle in Dark Souls 2. With those flashbacks, the plot keeps going around and then I find myself from the start again.
I guess it's unfair to complain everything about the book, so I will give one thing that I really like about this book. If you ignore the useless and confusing flashbacks, I find its plot refreshing. It is different than any metropop that I have ever read, and I am actually glad that Ika Natassa writes about dealing with grief from different perspective. The conflict is quite believable, and trust me, I can really feel what Anya felt at that time, and she's not exaggerating how she's hurt, how traumatic she can be.
The conflict itself is worth 4 stars, but reading a novel is supposed to be entertaining and fun. I think reading Critical Eleven is entertaining, but it's not a fun read. And that's why that four stars are divided to compensate the lack of fun. If only Ika Natassa "humbles" her sentences a little bit to reach more people in different class, I'm sure I will this give book at least four stars. If this is what I will get from Ika Natassa's next works, I'm really sorry I won't pick up them next time. However, I believe she can write different stories with different (and more modest) characters, and that's when I will try again. After all, Ika Natassa has a flair in writing engaging story, and I have to admit that I'm engaged with her writing.