What I like most about book blogging is I get the opportunity to read books I likely wouldn’t have picked up at my local bookstore or library.

Case in point of the Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata ($28.95, Publishers Group Canada), which follows the story of Keiko Furukura, a 36-year-old woman who lives in Tokyo and works at a convenience store. Keiko has never fit in – at school or at home  – but excels at the convenience store where social rules have been set out and she simply has to follow them. She also copies her co-workers manners in both speech and dress, excelling in what a “normal” person should sound and look like.

But as she approaches 40, her friends and family begin to wonder why she is still working at a convenience store, the place she started working at at 18, and why she doesn’t have a husband and a family of her own.

Convenience Store Woman is an interesting look at what “normal” is and how both women and men are encouraged to follow a similar path, otherwise they are viewed as a society failure or that their life is somehow not as important as everyone else’s. At least in Keiko’s circle of friends, there is no realization that she can possibly or a success without a husband, children or a “real” job.

Keiko is an interesting character. The choice she ends up initially making was hard to read, but the ultimate decision had me cheering.

I really liked this book. It was a quick read and an interesting look at the judgments we make upon others, and our own views of what success is, not just for ourselves, but for everyone else, too.

I also really liked reading a story based in present-day Tokyo. It’s always interesting to me to learn how other people live.

A copy of this book was provided by Publishing Group Canada Books for an honest review. The opinions are my own.