What’s up, internet people? I’m still exhausted from staying up way past my bedtime reading–something I haven’t done (voluntarily) since my wild, risk-taking high school days.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of falling deeply in love with a good, fast-paced book. After four years of reading whatever was on the syllabus, my brain was apparently just aching to return to its reading roots, because I picked my latest read, Marian Keyes’ Sushi for Beginners, on a complete whim.
I had gone to Half Price Books during a sale in order to acquire a copy of War and Peace (which my college roommate and I are forcing ourselves through because lit majors are basically torture addicts), and the title caught my eye. “Hey,” I thought, “I’ve never eaten sushi, either!” I know that’s probably a silly way to choose a book, but it caught my eye. After scanning the blurbs and reading a page to check that I’d like her style, I brought the book home with me because they didn’t have War and Peace and I can’t leave a book sale without buying something, am I right?
Anyway, what really got me was the fact that the novel is set in Dublin. I must be in a “blast from the past” mode because, as you saw from my last post, I read Interview with the Vampire to revisit my teenage vampire obsession, and reading Sushi for Beginners allowed me to revisit the more lingering love–hilarious novels set in the UK. When I was in high school I read every book in the Mates, Dates series, the Georgia Nicholson series, and of course Harry Potter (which is a vastly different thing but still kind of counts). My mates and I spent a great deal of time adopting Brit slang and assuming that people envied our obvious knowledge of Brit culture (older, wiser Amanda says they probably just thought I was bonkers). I once spent an entire day at Disneyworld speaking in an affected British accent, hoping to convince people I was from England (this before I had ever even actually been there, but that’s beside the point).
Which brings me to Sushi for Beginners. I probably don’t need to tell you that I enjoyed it, since this post started off with me staying up waaaaay past my bedtime to finish it, something that War and Peace could never manage (unless I was reading it for class, of course). Although the three main female characters aren’t all likeable, Marian’s writing style is exactly what I love in a novel; humorous, familiar, and fast-paced. I recognize this book, and this author, aren’t exactly news, but it’s new to me and I’m excited to have found another name to look or out there in bookland.
We could have a debate about the “literary” value of a book that is, in a lot of ways, a romantic comedy on paper, but then I would have to hit you and that wouldn’t be very fun, now would it? Instead, I’ll just tell you a little about why I liked the book.
Although Ashling gets a little close to the Mary Sue stereotype at times, and a few of the plot points are devastatingly predictable (or maybe that’s just from the perspective of someone who has watched too many romantic comedies?), there were a lot of things about the book that I couldn’t predict. I ripped through it the way I marathon shows on Netflix, demanding that the author deliver the couplings I want by the end (she did, for the most part). I spent most of the first half of the novel wondering where it got its title, but it eventually made some sense, which was much more satisfying than never learning at all. And even though I realized halfway through that I was shipping several different couples that all involved the same woman (oops), I couldn’t wait to find out how it all wrapped up. And isn’t that what a good book is about?
I laughed, I cried, and I finished it at 1am. All in all, a good reading experience. I wish things hadn’t all wrapped up so neatly so suddenly in the end (the couple I’d been predicting in the beginning came together rather slap-dash for my taste, much like the tragic spontaneity of the Ron-Hermione kiss I waited years to read), but I’d still recommend the book to anyone who loves a good laugh and a fast-paced read.