First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.


Graham Greene’s chilling exposé of violence and gang warfare in the pre-war underworld is a classic of its kind.

Pinkie, the teenage gangster, is devoid of compassion or human feeling, despising weakness of the spirit or of the flesh. Responsible for the razor slashes that killed Kite and also for the death of Hale, he is the embodiment of calculated evil. As a Catholic, however, he is convinced that his retribution does not lie in human hands.

He is therefore not prepared for Ida Arnold, Hale’s avenging angel. Ida, whose allegiance is with life, the here and now, has her own ideas about the circumstances surrounding Hale’s death. For the sheer joy of it she takes up the challenge of bringing the infernal Pinkie to an earthly kind of justice.

It is the last working day of the week, everybody! Happy Friday! The days everyone has been looking forward to are just over the horizon. It is knocking at the door! It is time to ditch those office attires for more comfortable clothing. It is time to dress down. I have been looking forward to the weekend as well. Over here in Manila, the heat is starting to make its presence felt. Today has been particularly stifling. I can only imagine how it is going to be in the coming months. April is usually the hottest month. I fear that my vision of Metro Manila turning into a literal hellhole is going to materialize. I sure hope not. Summer used to be my favorite season but Manila made me see it in a different light. HAHA.

Anyway, I hope everyone is doing well and that they have ended the week on a high note. I hope that you were able to achieve everything you set out to achieve at the start of the week. I hope that the rest of the year will be filled with nothing but good tidings and blessings. However, if the past week and weeks have been unkind, I hope you get to spend the weekend mustering courage and strength. More importantly, I hope everyone is doing well, in mind, body, and spirit. After chalking up another work week, I hope everyone gets a peaceful and restful weekend. Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Before I can dress down and dive into the weekend, let me cap the week with a new First Impression Friday update. I am reminded that March is about to end; today is the second to the last Friday of the month. Woah. Time does fly fast. Just like in February, I spent the month reading the works of British and Irish literature. Toward the end of February, I realized that I do have quite a long list of British and Irish books I have yet to read. This journey helped me tick off several goals such as reading my 1,000th novel (James Joyce’s Ulysses) and completing Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series over five years since I read the first book in the series. My foray into British literature continues with Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock.

Had it not been for must-read lists, I would have not encountered the British writer; the majority of the books I have read in the past few years were by writers I discovered through these lists, the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list for instance. I also kept encountering his works through online booksellers but I have been bypassing them as my interest was caught by other writers and works. It was only in July 2022 that I finally decided to give Greene’s oeuvre a chance. I bought a copy of Brighton Rock which I decided to be a part of my foray into British literature. Listed as one of the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list, Brighton Rock is the eighth book from the list I read this year. It seems I am making up for the measly output I had last year.

I just learned that Greene has been considered for the Nobel Prize in Literature a couple of times. Anyway, Brighton Rock is my first book by Greene. It transported me to pre-Second World War Brighton, a seaside resort located in the county of East Sussex, England. As explained in the Note to American Readers, “Brighton Rock is a form of sticky candy as characteristic of English seaside resorts as salt-water fatty is of the American. The word ‘Brighton’ appears on the ends of the stick at no matter what point it is broken off.” But rather than a rosy account of the resort town, the novel explored the underworld. It was by no means a holiday as the focal point of the story was a murder.

The opening pages of the novel first introduce Charles “Fred” Hale. He is a journalist who works for the Daily Messenger. One of his reports involved the murder of Kite, a gang boss renowned for his slot machine racket. To the regular spectator, it was an innocuous piece of news. Despite this, its publication invited the interest of evil minds, chief among them Pinkie, the sociopathic seventeen-year-old who took over the gang that Kit once led. When Hale was sent to Brighton on an anonymous job for the newspaper, he started to realize that he was being hunted by Pinkie and his gang. It was the intersection of Hale and Pinkie’s gang that the book laid its foundation.

From what I have read about him and his works, it seems that the overriding theme in Greene’s literary works was Catholicism. Brighton Rock was no exception, apparently as I learned that it was the first in Greene’s series of works dealing with the ideals of the Roman Catholic doctrine. Sure enough, dark subjects such as sinfulness and amorality were recurrent in the story. The elements of the Church’s ideals, however, were not as overt. Sin and morality, after all, are pretty common themes in literature. I am then interested in how Greene treats this and how he will integrate it with Roman Catholic values, at least in a way that is more palpable.

I am midway through the book and I am hoping to finish it over the weekend. How about you fellow reader? What book or books are you taking with you for the weekend? I hope you get to enjoy them. Again, happy weekend everyone!