My rating: 4 of 5 stars
First thoughts: a sweet, kind of strange tale that made me want to visit Japan. I liked the setting and themes and supporting characters much more than the protagonist.
Where I read: on the couch, in bed, instead of wasting time on the internet.
This story made Japan more real to me as a place that I could see myself visiting. The "wherever you go, there you are" theme struck me, and I always like to see how others interpret it. This version adds in another layer with garbage/how you dispose of things working as a symbol for routine/structure/rules/putting "things" in their proper places.
Favorite characters: Hiro and his shy yet direct way of communicating, Keiko for her genuine emotions.
Recommended for: world travelers, people who are quick to run from problems, lovers and fighters.
I connected with Marina, the protagonist, on some levels, but I also kind of hated her. She could be really dumb. And I spent most of the book not believing the relationship between her and Carolyn. It seemed too forced. The way both of their stories resolved at the end reinforced my disbelief.
Final thoughts: If I had met this book at a different time in my life, I'm not sure if I would have finished it. I'm glad I found it when I did. I would read more by Watrous.
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