The novel Laskar Pelangi tells us about the struggle of the writer, Andrea Hirata, and his friends in getting through their hard life in small village called Desa Gantong which is located in Kabupaten Gantong, Belitong Timur. The story begins when Muhammadiyah School is threatened by bankruptcy if they don’t get ten new students; however, there are only nine new students at the school opening ceremony, and this isn’t good. The headmaster, Pak Harfan, says that this is not enough to fulfil the requirement, so we have to close the school. Luckily Harun signs up himself right before Pak Harfan is going to give a closing speech, then their life story in Muhammadiyah begin. Funny things often happen during their study in Muhammadiyah, from arranging the seat until the great acquaintance with A Kiong who is smiling in silly when he is asked what his name is by his teacher, Bu Muslimah. Stupid things that is done by Borek, the election of the chief of the class that is resisted violently by Kucai, the discovery of Mahar’s great talent, first love experience of Ikal, until Lintang’s life struggle who rides bicycle eighty kilometres from his house to the school are the great stories which can give us lessons to learn.
Laskar Pelangi is a name for this group that is given by Bu Muslimah because of their fond of the rainbow. They have ever made their school’s name popular through many ways and competitions. As an example is Mahar’s revenge who has always been made fun of his friends because of his hobby in art and mysticism. He set up his friends with a costume to wear in a carnival of August 17. He orders his friends to wear a necklace that made of Aren’s fruit. The sticky plant-sap of Aren cause their body itching heavily, so that they are crawling in wild on the ground. The spectators doesn’t realize what is really happening. Moreover they enjoy the show so much. However, this crazy plan has made them a winner of the carnival. Another example is Lintang’s great mind that conquers Drs. Zulfikar, a bachelor degree teacher of PN School, and wins the “Cerdas-Cermat” competition. Laskar Pelangi always gets through beautiful days, laughing and crying together. The story is ended by the death of Lintang’s father that forces Lintang to give up his study, and then continued by the twelve years later scene where Ikal, who is struggling outside Belitung, returns to his beloved village.
I like this novel very much. I’m so excited with Andrea Hirata’s attempt to share morality’s lessons which are taken from his life experiences by writing this novel. Although this novel is written in abnormal style-realist poured by a lot of metaphors, but it can still be giving us an attractive reading. The most attractive thing is the wide probability of his exploration of the characters and the incidents, so that every paragraph contains rich matters. We are always made to be wondering what will happen next, as if every paragraph can be developed into a short story (cerpen), and every chapter can be developed into an independent book. Andrea Hirata’s never lack of idea and never lost of point of view regarding a phenomena. His point of view is always different from common people. He can change biology and physics into literature, irony into funny, absurd first love become interesting, and tragedy into parody.
This novel shows how the main characters can enjoy their live although they live in poor. It also shows that our country still unfair in treating their people. It’s an irony that there are some people that live in poverty on their rich land. Because they are not well educated to defend their own land of fortune, the fortune of their land has been sucked by a small group of greedy people. That is why the main characters still care about their education, and they have a great spirit to fight for it, because they realize that it’s the only way to get out from poverty. I hope many people will be inspired that education is everything after reading this novel.