Midori By Moonlight – Wendy Tokunaga

Title: Midori by Moonlight
Author: Wendy Tokunaga
ISBN: 0312372612
Pages: 256
Release Date: September 18, 2007
Challenge: A to Z Challenge, RYOB 2009
Genre: Chick Lit
Rating: 5 out of 5

From the back cover:

Midori Saito’s dream seems about to come true. Too independent for Japanese society, Midori is a young woman who has always felt like a stranger in her native land. So when she falls in love with Kevin, an American English teacher, she readily agrees to leave home and start a new life with him in San Francisco–as his fiancée. Kevin seems to be the perfect man. That is, until he dumps her for his blonde ex-fiancée, whom Midori never even knew existed. Midori is left on her own, with just a smattering of fractured English, not much cash, and a fiancée visa set to expire in sixty days. Unable to face the humiliation of telling her parents she’s been jilted, and not wanting to give up on her “American Dream,” Midori realizes she’s in for quite a challenge. Her only hope is her new acquaintance (and potential landlord) Shinji, a successful San Francisco graphic artist and amateur moon gazer who fled Japan after a family tragedy. And eventually, Midori surprises even herself as she proves she will do almost anything to hang on to her dream of a new life.

I’ve heard a lot that chick lit is “finished” – the storylines are the same, the characters are non-descript, and no one really has any interest in it anymore. Whether Midori by Moonlight is an exception to that rule or proof that it’s patently untrue, I’m not sure; but I can definitely say that this slim chick lit novel is the most fun I’ve had in recent memory while reading a book.

Midori is a feisty heroine whom the reader can’t help but root for. She struggles with her English – while her knowledge of the language is passable, it’s the idioms she has trouble with. Her misuse of colloquial phrases is an endless source of amusement in the novel. Midori is also determined and a very strong character, though she doesn’t realize it. It takes courage to leave everything you know behind and forge a new life in a foreign country, and even more courage to stay there when all the circumstance change. Everything and everyone is telling Midori to return to Japan, but she refuses; her strength shines through.

I also loved the multicultural aspects of this novel. It was interesting to learn more about Japanese culture, especially with regard to how they look at young women. It seemed to be similar to Indian culture in that respect. While I think culture is important, I admired Midori for standing up to convention and forging her own path.

I loved Midori by Moonlight. Midori isn’t your usual heroine; she’s unsure of herself and lives in the moment. She doesn’t think she’s brave or courageous. She just knows she can’t return to Japan and has to make her American experience work. If you pick up this novel, plan on devouring it in one sitting. It’s a great book that I can’t recommend highly enough, even for those who don’t usually enjoy chick lit.

Comments

  1. Oooh this sounds like a lot of fun! And a graphic artist in the book, yes yes yes!

  2. That looks like so much fun!

  3. I enjoy reading about Japanese culture, and after The Scene of Sake and Losing Kei, this one sounds like a nice, light read. Great review!

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

  4. Well it definitely has to be a really good book to have received a 5 rating from you. I’ll add this one to the list for those times I need a novel like this.

  5. I read the interview with the author on Brenda Janowitz’s blog and thought this book sounded good. After reading your review, I’m definitely interested!

  6. I don’t where I saw this, but I saw it a few months ago and thought it looked good. Glad to see you have such a high opinion of it.

  7. This one is definitely going on my list – it sounds exactly like something I’d love. I have really been enjoying all the multicultural novels I’ve been coming across lately.

  8. Thought your comment about chick-lit was very interesting – perhaps that’s why putting fiction into boxes especially when there’s no male equivalent term is ultimately limiting and unhelpful?
    Loved your review and will be reading this one! Sounds refreshingly different!

  9. Thought your comment about chick-lit was very interesting – perhaps that’s why putting fiction into boxes especially when there’s no male equivalent term is ultimately limiting and unhelpful?
    Loved your review and will be reading this one! Sounds refreshingly different!

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