Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Kissing Adrien,Moon Over Tokyo, The Cubicle Next Door by Siri Mitchell

I will have read all three of Siri Mitchell's chick lit books by the end of the week. I finished Kissing Adrien late last week and Moon Over Tokyo yesterday. I am now reading the Cubicle Next Door.

I put off reading Kissing Adrien because I knew it would make me miss France. I don't know how to explain it other than this...I wanted and felt called to live in France since I was in the seventh grade. It became the defining theme of my life since then until about a year and a half ago when I realized it was probably not going to happen. That's the story in a nutshell. There are more details, but that's the short of it. It was a good book, heavy on description, a few dips into cultural understanding of faith, cultural sin, etc. And, of course, it was a nice little romance.

In a very strange world, Ms. Mitchell has lived in both France and Japan in her lifetime. (the two countries I love!) So I knew Moon Over Tokyo would probably be the same, heavy on description and make me miss Tokyo. What I found to be one of the most interesting aspects of this book was how well she captured the expatriate experience of resenting the country that's hosting you. I didn't feel that way. I loved Japan. I was fascinated with it and enjoyed it completely. But I knew a lot of people who did feel the very way her main character did about Japan.

Another interesting part of this book is that it was almost like a guidebook of what to do your first year in Tokyo. The characters went on all the famous trips, or at minimum they were mentioned. Kamakura, Nikko, Hakone, and of course the required trip to Kyoto. And other more local things like cherry blossom viewings and Tsukiji Fish Market. Other little details were also included of daily life in Japan. What was odd to me was that Allie, the main character, had lived in Japan for two years before doing any of this stuff! It took her two years in Japan to try sushi! Something else that was lacking was the complete lack of Japanese characters. There was only one Japanese character in the book, Yuka. She served the role of explaining Japanese customs and culture to Allie. The best part of Japan has to be the people. I am so thankful that I was able to make Japanese friends and that my days at work were spent with Japanese people.

I am now more than half way through The Cubicle Next Door and I think that setting is a big role in all of Ms. Mitchell's books. This one is set in Colorado and is quite significant in the plot as well.

What I think I really like about these books are the main characters. She is often likeable with strongly held beliefs. She is also often filled with fear at change and risk. I identify with that really strongly in my life right now, and it's good to read someone's journey, even if it's fiction. I also like the way Mitchell weaves description of places into the story and uses it as metaphor for the character. I think it's almost profound!

These books contain social drinking of alcohol. (how did she get away with it?) They are also at times, quite light on the God talk. I'm not sure any Scripture is quoted. But they are realistic portrayals of women today, I think, and they are worth the time invested in reading. (if you like chick lit)

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