Title: Harmless Like You
Author: Rowan Hisayo Buchanan
Pub Date: August 11th, 2016
My Rating: ★★★★☆
Harmless Like You is a beautiful novel of loneliness, sadness, identity, and love. It follows Yuki Oyama, a Japanese girl living in New York in late 1960s and her son Jay in a present day, who is forced to face his mother who abandoned him when he was a kid. We meet Yuki when she’s seventeen, girl without friends, looking for love and acceptance, longing to be seen. Her father distastes New York and is waiting for a day when they all can come back to Tokyo. When this day come Yuki convinces her parents to let her stay in NYC and live with her newly met best friend. She stays. This starts her life of longing for acceptance, for love that she think she deserves, years of trying to become an artist, years of abuse. And then we have Jay, a grown man with a wife and newborn, who just lost his father. Father who took care of him when his mother left them, the father who he loved and who he needed to help him deal with being a father himself. Father who in his will left his home in Connecticut to his wife, Yuki. Jay decides to confront his mother, fly to Berlin, see her and discuss her husband’s will with her.
The story wasn’t easy for me to read. I struggled to focus and follow it at times because it’s a sad story, a story that is not hiding any raw emotions that are hard for me to feel and think about. And when reading the story I had them all on paper for me to feel and read about them written in such a beautiful way. The story is not giving us a break for happy thoughts, it is not trying hard to be more than the real life is. It represents the struggles of life in a pure honesty and I appreciate that. It is hard to read, but worth the time and effort.
I received this book from publisher. Thoughts are all mine.