Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata: Book Review

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Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka
Title: Convenience Store Woman

My Synopsis:

Keiko Furukura has never quite fit in. Behavioral norms baffle her. When she’s young and two boys are fighting in the schoolyard, she hits one over the head with a shovel to break up the fight. She can’t understand why her teachers and parents are upset because it was a successful tactic–the fight ended.

So when she lands a job working in a convenience store in college, she’s happy. The store looks clean and fresh, like a fish bowl. Her manager gives her a script to work from when dealing with customers. Cold drinks sell on hot days and warm drinks sell on cold days. Life is predictable. Eighteen years pass and society is again pressuring her, asking when she’s going to get a “real” job, get married, start a family. She’s puzzled again, wondering why a life that makes her happy is being judged so negatively.

My Review:

I wasn’t quite sure to what to expect when I downloaded this book from the library but I liked it. It’s quirky and funny but there’s a lot of substance lurking beneath the exterior.

I won’t hazard a guess as to what might be “wrong” with Keiko but she really doesn’t think like most other people. But is that bad? She isn’t hurting anyone, she’s fulfilled by her job, she doesn’t feel any urge to be intimate with anyone, so why can’t others leave her alone? Why does her family want to “cure” her? She doesn’t even understand what she needs to be cured of.

This slender book left me with a lot to ponder. Why can’t we as a society leave the nonconformists alone? Why do we label jobs as “real” or not? Shouldn’t we see any job that fills a need as a “real” job? And Keiko made me see the beauty of any job done well.

This book won’t be for everyone because not a lot actually happens. But if you want to see the world through the eyes of an outsider, give it a try.

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  1. A passive narrator who just wants to be left in peace? Yes, I can just imagine how everyone must be dying to heap advice and criticism. Passivity seems to mean “I welcome feedback” to a lot of people. Sigh.

  2. “she hits one over the head with a shovel to break up the fight. She can’t understand why her teachers and parents are upset because it was a successful tactic–the fight ended” Okay, I know this probably isn’t supposed to be funny but I had to laugh. It worked, right? 🙂

    Seriously though this sounds awesome. And this “Why can’t we as a society leave the nonconformists alone??

    SO true… I feel like as a society sometimes we just pigeonhole everyone/ everything and if you’re a little outside the norm it can make life so unnecesarily HARD. I’ve always been live and let live so I never understand all the judging…

  3. I like your question about why we can’t leave people alone/accept each of us for who we are. If we could do that, things would be so much better all around!

  4. I know a lot of readers have enjoyed this book, but it wasn’t for me. I thought the dialogue was unrealistic and stilted and the premise of the story was unsettling and ridiculous.

  5. I will definitely like this one and it’s been on my TBR before I read your review! Lovely!

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  6. Hmm, this one sounds really interesting, in a quiet kind of way. It is so frustrating that society wants to push everyone into neat little boxes, when many people could be much happier and more fulfilled by being outside of those boxes.

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