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Convenience Store Woman: Sayaka Murata

“The normal world has no room for exceptions and always quietly eliminates foreign objects. Anyone who is lacking is disposed of. So that’s why I need to be cured. Unless I’m cured, normal people will expurgate me. Finally, I understood why my family had tried so hard to fix me.”

Plot Overview

This is the story of 36-year-old Keiko Furukura. Keiko is different, not ‘normal’ as per the conventional social standards. She has difficulty understanding natural human emotions and social conventions. So, to fit in she adopts a robotic life. For 18 years, she has been working in a convenience store where unlike other places she can understand the rules of social interaction. And she is happy and content with her life. But her friends and family start pressuring her to find a husband and a proper job, and that’s when things start going downhill for her.

My thoughts

This book has really hit me home. The character of Keiko is quite relatable and sometimes funny with her wry humor. The jab taken by the author on the normalcy of the society has hit the mark. Especially the part where Keiko’s sister thought it is better for her to be with a jobless and cheating man than continue with her old ways of life was hard-hitting.

And even the stinking, homeless, jobless and with a debt, Shiraha, who himself felt that he is wronged by the social norms, also has the audacity to look down upon a hard-working and honest woman. He also feels that it is better for her that she keep him with her and support him and by doing so he is doing her a favor. And the sexual remarks that he passed on her got me so so angry.

The book raises so many questions for society. Who decides what is normal and what is abnormal? Why is it so important for women to find a partner in this society? Why does everyone have to be either ambitious or to settle down? Why does everyone feel that they have a right to lecture when someone does not live a conventional life?

Conclusion

This is a quick and adorable read. The language is simple and funny. I listened to this book on Audible and it was a very thin book, so I was able to finish it in 2 days. I do recommend it.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Published inBooksFiction

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