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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Review: If You Follow Me - Malena Watrous


“Dear Miss Marina… First learn gomi law, second Japanese language, and third you can enjoy international friendship. This is like holding hands across a sea!”
And so begins If You Follow Me and our narrator Marina’s lessons in “gomi” (garbage) law, Japanese culture, and the workings of Shika, the small, rural Japanese town in which she is teaching English for one year. For Marina, Shika is more than just her home as a “temporary person.” It’s also an attempt to escape the reality that has followed her everyday since her father committed suicide. But as Marina comes to realize, in Japan, you can never really throw away your past.




My Thoughts:
Being an exchange student in Japan during the summer of 1987, I thought that I might read about the Japan that I experienced. That was not the case. I'm sure much has changed over the course of 23 years, but I'm afraid that I really didn't connect much with the characters.  After realizing that I needed to put my time in Japan on the back burner, I was able to enjoy the story for what it was....a year in the life of Marina, who is trying to come to terms with her father's suicide. She believes that if she removes herself from that painful part of her life, that everything will be better. This is definitely a fish-out-of -water tale, but I honestly didn't find it very funny, although I did get the humor in regards to the way the Japanese interacted with her. Overall, it was an okay read.

Thanks again to TLC for asking me to be
a part of this book tour .
Check out other tour stops here.

20 comments:

  1. good review....i'm glad i have your thoughts on it! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

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  2. That's so awesome that you lived in Japan! What a cool experience that must have been. This novel sounds pretty interesting. Sorry you didn't love it though.

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  3. I, too, am glad that I'm not alone. I wanted to like it, I have a passion about Japan, but it fell short with me both in the humour department and the relationship. I didn't like the lesbian stuff, and I didn't like that she ran away from her pain with her dad instead of facing it. Which, I believe, is the only thing to do.

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  4. It sounds very off-beat. Perhaps you can write some of your own stuff on Japan - some posts, at the very least!

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  5. I've been thinking this book looked interesting, so I'm glad to see what you thought of it from an "insider's" perspective. I don't think I'll go out of my way to read it now.

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  6. You spent a year in Japan? Very cool! I would love to live abroad for a year or something.
    Sorry the book was as good as you thought it was. Did it at least give you a feel for the culture?
    Good honest review!

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  7. My review of this one posts on 3/24but I liked it quite a bit more than you did. It's interesting though because this is not the type of book that I would typically like.

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  8. I didn't think I would really like this one from the description. It's hard to really like a book when you don't connect with the characters. I didn't know you were in Japan as an exchange student- I bet that was a great experience.

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  9. That's a shame it wasn't for you, but they say no two readers ever read the same book. We all bring our own life experiences to it.

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  10. You lived in japan, so cool :D

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  11. A year in Japan sounds exciting. You should do some posts like Kathy did about France.

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  12. Sorry about the book. I'd like to know more about your year in Japan, too. Perhaps something like what Kathy did about her time in France? Think about it.

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  13. I'm always a little sad when books with such pretty covers turn out not to be awesome. Very shallow of me, I know :P

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  14. Yes, good idea, you should write your own book about Japan Staci. You have many great stories and would write a great book I am sure!

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  15. I just added this to my tbr list. I'm going to have to rethink that; there are just too many great books out there to bother with books that are just ok.

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  16. I'd like to read your story too.

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  17. First, that must have been an amazing experience to be an exchange student in Japan. Add me to the list who would love to hear about your experiences! This sounds like an unusual book and I'm not sure if it's one that I'd be that interested in. I like how you highlighted your thoughts in the block style...how did you do that?

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  18. Dang! Sorry this one wasn't your cup of tea. I appreciate your perspective, though, because as you know, Bellezza didn't like it either! But it's hard to like a book when you can't connect to the characters.

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  19. I saw this book this week and thought it looked interesting. I'm sorry to hear it wasn't what you expected. The cover is pretty though.

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  20. Too bad the book wasn't what you were hoping for. I think it is very cool you lived in Japan, though. I think you told me that before, but I had forgotten. I am fascinated with Asia.

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