Book Girl and the Suicidal Mime

by Mizuki Nomura | Teens |
ISBN: 0316076902 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 10/7/2012
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Sunday, October 07, 2012
I picked up this fair-condition softcover at the Used Book Superstore in Burlington MA (they're having a sale, and I'm weak {grin}). It's a light novel (meaning, more or less, "young adult novel"), with a few manga-style illustrations but primarily text. I couldn't resist the title!

Later: Not what I expected at all, but I enjoyed it very much; will be looking for more books in the series. The basic premise, as summed up on the back of the book, sounded lighthearted: there's Kohona, a high school boy who once wrote a best-selling novel (of which everyone assumed that the author was a girl), but burned out and hasn't wanted to write anything since, and Tohko, a high school girl who runs a "book club" in which she and the boy are the only members, and who devours books - literally. [She eats the pages of books, commenting on the flavors; Paul Gallico's "The Snow Goose" is "like an exquisite sorbet"...] She makes Konoha write little stories for her to eat, and they seem to have settled into a comfortable (if weird) little routine - until Tohko sets up a "we'll write love-letters for you" service in an attempt to get more members (and edible writing) into the club, and a shy young girl asks for their help.

But the letters she's commissioned for her crush, a star athlete on the archery team, turn out to be for another purpose altogether, and the story quickly becomes quite dark. There are first-person excerpts in between the narrative chapters, clearly showing a detached, possibly amoral individual who's struggling with their own lack of emotion, and later on there are references to the works of Osamu Dazai - including No Longer Human, his semi-autobiographical novel with a strong focus on suicide...

So, yes, a much darker story than I'd expected, despite the "suicidal" in the title (I thought that was just hyperbole, but no). [The author's note at the end explains that these books were an attempt to do something different, and describes the tone as "warmly despondent" {wry grin}.] There are hints that Konoha's own past has scars beyond the post-moment-of-fame breakdown he had. And who or what is Tohko, exactly? She does seem to eat a lot of books, but is she an actual goblin or just a disturbed young girl? Very interesting story.

Tohko - and the "club" setup, and the apparently-reluctant Konoha - reminded me of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, but these books have their own, more real-world tone. The learn-about-life-from-books aspect of the story reminded me of the charming manga series Kingyo Used Books, which also got me to add a number of books to my "want" list. I do want to read Dazai's work now!

[I see from the TV Tropes page that this is part of a series.]

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Released 6 yrs ago (3/27/2013 UTC) at Nashua, New Hampshire USA


I'm putting this book in the Books about books bookbox, which will be on its way to its next stop today. Hope someone enjoys it!

Journal Entry 3 by wingAzukiwing at Miami, Florida USA on Thursday, October 17, 2013
When I spotted this book in the box, I was like, yay, manga!! But then I found out that it's not. It's more like a YA fiction translated from Japanese. Ha ha I remember reading those when I actually belonged to the target audience... I figure it will be a fluffy teenage romance, but I'll take it anyway, for old time's sake. Glad to read from Gory's journal that it's not just high-school romance.

Journal Entry 4 by wingAzukiwing at Miami, Florida USA on Saturday, March 12, 2016
Truly, high-school romance this is not.

A high school boy with a secret identity as a best-selling, award-winning female author, and a girl who devours not food but books. In an attempt to get her sweet tooth satisfied, the girl Tohko posted an ad offering service to write love letters. Their first commission, however, turns out not to be an ordinary school girl crush, but instead leads to a whodunnit for the death of a past student.

I should have guessed that, as Japanese seems to love mysteries. Needless to say, the book is totally not what I expected, and there were quite a few twists and turns in the plot.

I do like Tohko the book girl a lot. I found out on Wiki that the original name, Bungaku Shōjo, actually translates to Literature Girl, and Tohko obviously has good taste for book. it's interesting how she describe the tastes of various works, like shorbet, like champagne and caviar. Makes you want to tear off a corner of your book and nimble a bit. Moreover, when she was trying to stop a character from killing herself, Tohko kept rattling off, you can't die before reading this book, and that book... I am not sure if that ever works to stop suicides, but which reader cannot help but grin and fall for her?

The book No Longer Human is mentioned a lot in the story. I've sometimes heard of the title Ningen Shikkaku, literally "Disqualified from Being Human", but usually in a joking way, like "Gosh, you're so disqualified as a human being!" Now I am curious to read this title, as well as others mentioned, or rather, consumed, by Tohko.

This will now go to Tsjara who selected it from the Passport to the World vbb.

Journal Entry 5 by Tsjara at Assendelft, Noord-Holland Netherlands on Sunday, June 19, 2016
I just couldn't resist this weird sounding book. Thanks for sending azuki, and for all the other extra books you included! :D

Are you sure you want to delete this item? It cannot be undone.