One of the magical things about books is that sometimes they make a bigger impression on you that you can even imagine beforehand.
Sometimes they will make you cry inconsolably, sometimes giggle like a school girl or even make you question the very fabric of reality.
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata was one of these books as in some aspects it hit a little too close to home.
Keiko loves her job of 18 years at the convenience shop and practically lives for her job. Those around her think it’s odd a woman her age isn’t married to a breadwinner husband with kids yet but Keiko is content with the convenience store.
This book made me feel both understood and like a freak if that makes sense. If not, let me elaborate.
As an autistic person myself I see the world in a similar way to Keiko, struggle with the more human elements of life such as emotions and empathy and disassociate a fair bit myself. While we are not one and the same by any means it was nice to read a book with the main character, or frankly a character, like me.
I do wish I had the same passion for my job like Keiko has though, I really dislike mine.
However, in the book, she is always being told she needs to be “cured” and how society will not accept her. At one point this leads to, at least to me, a rather emotional scene with her sister. I had to put the book down for a minute after reading that part.
I know that this was not Sayaka Murata’s intention but it did stir some rather nasty memories.
I really enjoy her almost blunt writing style. Maybe it’s because I’ve been reading a lot of fairly long fantasy stories lately with layers of lore I found it rather refreshing to read a short story. It flows so well that it is hard to put down.
Her deadpan humour is right up my alley, particularly at the beginning but it does continue throughout the story.
Outside of the scene I mentioned, it was hard to put this book down. Convenience Store Woman is a truly charming tale. If you are looking for a unique reading experience, pop down to your local convenience store and pick up Convenience Store Woman.