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insaneneko

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bittersweet recipe [Mar. 13th, 2009|08:23 pm]
insaneneko
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I really enjoyed reading Bittersweet Recipe written by Tsukimura Kei and illustrated by Sakura Haiji. It's about a hikikomori and the very happy pastry chef who manages to help him come back out into the world. The first half made me so happy because Tsukishima-sensei did a wonderful job of portraying the internal struggle within the hikikomori, the initial shock that set him off, the inertia aided by heavy doses of guilt and shame that keeps in shut in, the hatred he has for himself because he intellectually knows he should be doing something with his life yet can't get himself to move...Kenta is a 19-year-old who lives in a house left to him by his grandmother (whose death provided the shock), crocheting delicate lace to keep himself occupied and living a blank life. He has no contact with his parents, his older brother comes by to check on him (and berate him for being worthless). His life is turned upside down when an insanely happy pastry chef asks to rent the unused storefront attached to the house. He is bowled over by the chef and before he knows it he's agreed to rent the space. After a while, he doesn't feel too self-conscious when interacting with the chef because the chef is so involved with his new venture. The chef is very friendly and brings him tasty baked goods all the time, and Kenta slowly emerges out of his shell...Until the set-back happens and we get some angst. Kenta realizes that he's fallen in love with the chef and is just horrified. He tries to cut off contact with the chef until he can get over it, and feels so guilty and unworthy about the whole business. Of course, things end happily for the two. Unfortunately the second half of the book wasn't nearly as captivating as the first for me. Kenta's internal struggle is so exquisitely balanced so that he angsts but doesn't quite get emo....So perfect. XD
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: canis_m
2009-03-15 03:35 am (UTC)
Oh golly, I might have to order this. Thanks for reccing.

You haven't read this by any chance, have you? (It looks totally up my alley, and I heart Miike Romuco, but I've never read the author...)
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[User Picture]From: insaneneko
2009-03-15 08:08 am (UTC)
It's a sweet one, very typical for Tsukishima-sensei. XD

I haven't read that book. I have read another book by that author and was not impressed (I could not buy the characters' motivations), but it's hard to judge the quality of an author from just reading one work. The story sounds sweet, though. You should read it and let the rest of us know if it's any good!
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