Book Review

Convenience Store Woman


My Thoughts

Keiko is a convenience store worker and, to the people around her, a bit of an oddball. She has worked part-time at the same store for her entire adult life with no aspirations to pursue a full-time career, she has no interest in romantic relationships or starting a family, she struggles with everyday social interactions, and most of all–she’s satisfied with her life.

Keiko often feels out of place, like she has to put on a mask while interacting with others. She has difficulty understanding people’s motivations and feelings, she struggles to hold conversations and to navigate social norms, she has no interest in marriage, and she feels most comfortable ordering her life according to a strict routine. While it is not stated explicitly, I got the impression that Keiko is both asexual as well as being on the spectrum.

To Keiko, her life is perfect, she’s happy, she belongs to society, that should be what matters right? However, to the people around her, she just doesn’t make any sense. Convenience Store Woman is a story about alienation, about the pressure that society puts on people to conform to the social standards of adulthood. Keiko doesn’t feel that she belongs though she tries, she constantly worries about becoming an outsider and adjusts her behavior to fit in.

Convenience Store Woman pulls the reader into Keiko’s world, it is both charming and as it is a crushing portrayal of modern Japanese society. Keiko’s asexual tendencies are not so unusual in modern-day Japan, a country in the midst of a population crisis as marriage and birth rates plummet. More and more people are beginning to look like Keiko and Shiraha, a single woman and a hikikomori with no real interest in marriage or childrearing.

“When morning comes, once again I’m a convenience store worker, a cog in society. This is the only way I can be a normal person.”

Rating:

I’m a Filipino American blogger, historian, and lazy writer. I enjoy books, video games, anime/manga, and smoking hookah.

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