Midori by Moonlight

Midori by Moonlight

by Wendy Nelson Tokunaga

I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation. The book is Midori by Moonlight by Wendy Nelson Tokunaga.

I’ve talked before about how interesting it is to read a book and have your expectations defied. One thing becomes another, and while sometimes it’s disappointing — I hate when my action adventures get bogged down in boring sappy love stories, for instance — sometimes it’s so cleverly done that you don’t even realize it until it’s over and when you think back on the book you say to yourself, “First, I wasn’t expecting this book to keep coming to mind and second, there was a lot going on there that was below the surface.”

Of course, as a great mind once said, it’s a fine line between clever and stupid, and I don’t care to be smacked in the face with my analogies — I get it, the army of evil robots represents corporate America, I figured it out, what do you want? A medal? That is exhausting and mostly helps to grind your story to a halt.

So what does that have to do with a light and sweet book about a young Japanese woman and her desire to make a new life for herself in America? Well, as I was reading, I thought, cute, sweet, light, she makes pastry, she’s learning English by watching the soaps, she finds love in an unexpected place. But at the end, Midori kept following me around, asking me, did you notice when I abandoned the country of my birth and agreed to marry a man I barely knew? Did you see the part where I was dumped, lost and penniless in a foreign country and still figured out how to have the life I wanted? Did you get the parts about overcoming expectations of gender, class and race? And how the moon is far away, cold and beautiful until someone brings it close and puts it in your hand?

Yes, Midori, it took a while to sink in but I finally did get all those things.

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