What just happened? How did this book turn so…bizarre?

Listen, I loved Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata. It was a great read. It was different and interesting and I always love reading books from authors from different places. It gives you a different perspective on the world.

I was super excited to learn the author had a new book coming out and I was looking forward to reading it. It was not what I was expecting. I liked it. I think. It was just by the end…Speechless. I think I am speechless. What?

I truly have no idea how to explain.

“As a child, Natsuki doesn’t fit in with her family. Her parents favour her sister, and her best friend is a plush toy hedgehog named Piyyut, who talks to her. He tells her that he has come from the planet Popinpobopia on a special quest to help her save the Earth. One summer, on vacation with her family and her cousin Yuu in her grandparents’ ramshackle wooden house in the mountains of Nagano, Natsuki decides that she must be an alien, which would explain why she can’t seem to fit in like everyone else. Later, as a grown woman, living a quiet life with her asexual husband, Natsuki is still pursued by dark shadows from her childhood, and decides to flee the baby factory of society for good, searching for answers about the vast and frightening mysteries of the universe – answers only Natsuki has the power to uncover.”

I think I liked this book. I did not like the vast majority of people in it. First off, Natsuki’s parents, particularly her mother, are terrible people who are abusive and horrible. The blatant favouritism to her sister, who doesn’t deserve it, is awful.

What Natsuki goes through is equally horrific and her mother’s reaction – again, speechless. The rest of the book is good. Interesting. Natsuki’s thought process makes sense and I understand her choices, until I no longer understood her choices.

The secondary characters are awful – her family, obviously, but also her husband’s family. And do people in Japan really feel that if you aren’t having babies, something is wrong you?

I wasn’t sure if this was an exaggeration for the sake of the book or this is actually how people think. If it’s the later, I found it really annoying and didn’t blame Natsuki for wanting to run from it.

Her life choices after that? I have nothing.

Earthlings by Sayaka Murata is $36.95 and is from PGC Books for an honest review. The opinions are my own.