My friend thenerdypuffer.worpress.com and I are doing a buddy read! Here is what I thought of the first 10 chapters.
Also, I’ll be in Japan until the beginning of August, so I’m gonna be taking a sort of mini hiatus. Since this book is borrowed from a friend, I don’t want to take it with me, but I will try to photograph some of Japan to enhance my posts since this book is about Japan.
Chapters 1-5: Starting the book, I still don’t know what to think. Ruth’s perspective is quite well-written and detailed, but I find it slightly dull to read. Nao’s perspective, while vibrant and interesting, changes style quite a bit. She starts out writing in a straightforward tone, but her second entry discusses various sexual perversions, and I’m still trying to figure out her personality. I’m not currently in the mood for contemporaries, and I’m having some trouble concentrating on books in general at the moment. Also, while all the Japanese words are interesting, I think it would be faster and easier to read if the characters were included and the meaning was recorded in the footnotes instead of the other way around. I can read small amounts of Japanese, so it’s easier for me this way.
It’s getting easier to see the characters’ personalities. I can tell that Nao is a smart and inquisitive girl. She seems kind of sarcastic and has a wry sense of humor. Ruth is kind of harder to analyze because her part of the story is told in third person. She seems thoughtful and reserved. I really like that she was curious and patient enough to actually read the diary she found instead of throwing it away. Overall, both narratives have touched on interesting and deep themes. Being closer to Nao’s age, I have an easier time connecting to her character, but it is quite interesting to read about Ruth. Her determination to find out more about Nao’s life adds more depth to the story. Also, that article on suicide was really dark, and then the book gets really deep.
Nao is definitely an interesting and very complex character. I can definitely sense her moods as her writing styled and subjects change. She references different philosophical and scientific concepts and really seems to understand most of the world around her. The only thing she can’t do well is interact with new people. She moved from the US to Japan and feels really insecure about herself. She is alienated by her classmates, which I think caused her cynicism.
“Are you a male or a female or somewhere in between?”
Even at such a young age, Nao is able to understand the concept of gender spectrum better than many grown adults. I also just think the phrasing of this sentence is really nice.
“I caught myself pretending that everybody out there in cyberspace cared about what I thought, when really nobody gives a shit. And when I multiplied that sad feeling by all the millions of people in their lonely little rooms, furiously writing and posting to their lonely little pages that nobody has time to read because they’re all so busy writing and posting.”
I thought this quote was really interesting, especially as a blogger. It’s sort of true, and Nao really demonstrates the ability to think about the big picture and create moods while still explaining things somewhat objectively.
I will link Selina’s post here once she writes it. To make it interesting, I am writing more about Nao, and she’s writing her thoughts on Ruth. Also, the two of us seem to have very different interpretations of the book so far, so it might be interesting to read both of our posts.
I hope to post as much as possible while in Japan, but don’t expect much!