Thursday, May 24, 2012

Review: Moon Over Tokyo by Siri Mitchell

Siri Mitchell happens to be one of my favorite authors, so when I found a copy of Moon Over Tokyo at a secondhand shop I couldn't resist "rescuing" it and giving it a new home. It's a book I've been wanting to read for quite a while now, so I was actually rather thrilled to run across it.

Book Cover and Synopsis:
Though Stars and Stripes reporter Allie O’Connor has lived in Japan for two years, she still feels like a foreigner. As her best friend prepares to move away, she prays for a new friend. Just a friend.

Soon after this prayer she runs into Eric Larsen at church, an old classmate from high school. Eric has recently been assigned to the U.S. embassy and lives in Allie’s district in Tokyo. In school they had been polar opposites. He had been captain of the debate team; she had edited the literary magazine. He drank espresso, while she preferred green tea. He is definitely not the friend she was looking for. And he is. Here she is.

Will Allie accept this unexpected answer to her prayer? And will she be brave enough to really see the person she once chose to overlook?

My Thoughts:
I've never given much thought to Japan before, but this novel manages to paint a vivid picture of the foreign culture as seen through the eyes of Allie, a reporter for the Stars and Stripes newspaper. Even after two years of living in the Tokyo metropolis Allie still feels like an outsider; not knowing the language limits her understanding of the culture and keeps her isolated in a small world that consists only of her co-workers and a few people from her church.

After Allie sends up a desperate prayer for a friend, her biggest enemy from high school suddenly shows up in Tokyo. Eric is everything she doesn't want in a friend, and yet there he is... an English speaking person with a good grasp of the Japanese language and culture, offering to open up Japan for her to explore and discover.

I really liked how much time Allie and Eric spent together, and the amount of bantering dialogue between them. Often times in books the characters will have a sudden attraction that seems completely out of the blue, but that is definitely not the case here. We get to see their relationship grow and progress from rivals, to friends, to possibly more.

While Japan isn't high on my list of places to go, I did enjoy reading about it from Allie's perspective. I will admit that I found her personal life much more interesting than the touristy places she visited... but thanks to her travels in and out of Tokyo I now have something to picture in my mind when I hear about Japan, rather than just a shape on a map! :)

I thought it was very cool how the whole story sort of revolves around Allie's prayer at the beginning for a friend. A simple thing for most people, but to Allie a friend who she could communicate (in English!) with and spend time with was everything, and it was just so cool to see how God answered her prayer. Eric wasn't anything like what she wanted, but was exactly what she needed. The book is fictional of course, but nevertheless it's still a great example of how God is always at work in our lives. 

My Rating: 5 stars

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