If You Follow Me

Suicide in Shanghai Girls by Lisa See.

Suicide in A Wild Sheep Chase by my beloved Haruki Murakami.

Suicide again in If You Follow Me by Malena Watrous.

I can’t stand any more; it’s so depressing.

I splash water on my face and return to the art room, where I have to pose for two more classes before lunch. I keep my eyes closed but I can’t fall asleep. I keep thinking about my father. I think about the note he left in the glove compartment of his car, a note so short that I memorized it without trying, without wanting to. I am sorry for the pain that this will cause you, but I am in a black hole of despair and I can’t find my way out. I forfeit the right to give you any advice. Please try not to be too sad and move on with your lives. Try not to be too sad? Move on with your lives? I’ve been following this advice like a dare. Maybe Carolyn is right, I think. Maybe I have no feelings…” p. 170

I, however, have plenty of feelings, and I didn’t enjoy reading about Marina’s which came across to me as indulgent and self-absorbed. I didn’t like that she has a female lover, Carolyn, whom she followed to Japan where she could teach English. I didn’t like the way that gomi, garbage, was featured in every single chapter in the first half of the book: how to get rid of it, where it goes, how it was brought back to the girls after they’d placed it in the wrong disposal container. Enough already with the rotten beef, the broken Amana refrigerator, their neighbor, Mrs. Ogawa, telling them how to recycle Japanese style.

It was interesting to learn some Japanese vocabulary. It was interesting to learn some Japanese customs. It was interesting to imagine my life as a teacher in Japan through Marina’s life.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t relate to the choices she made in her lifestyle. How about you? How do you feel when reading about characters who are diametrically opposed to you?

Find other stops along the tour here:

Wednesday, March 10th: Take Me Away

Thursday, March 11th: Life in the Thumb

Monday, March 15th: Raging Bibliomania

Wednesday, March 17th: Stephanie’s Written Word

Thursday, March 18th: nomadreader

Monday, March 22nd: Books and Movies

Wednesday, March 24th: Book Chatter

Tuesday, March 30th: BookNAround

Wednesday, March 31st: Bookstack