A Tale for the Time Being - Ruth Ozeki

This was one of the best books that I've read all year.  We have Nao who lives in Japan and who has decided that before she dies, she wants to write about her 104 year old great grandmother in her diary.  We have Ruth who lives in Canada and when she is walking along the beach one day, she finds a Hello Kitty lunchbox which contains, among other things, Naoko's diary.

I loved the characters in this book.  I usually dislike reading about characters who resemble the author a bit too much, and I dislike even more reading about novelists.  But for some reason, I loved that the author was a character in this story.

And Naoko, I really loved her.  She grew up in America, but after her father lost his job, they had to move back to Japan and live in this shitty apartment.  At school she is horribly bullied.  There was a point in the book where I thought that these bullies should be put in jail for their actions.  That's how horrible they were.  So considering what Naoko has to deal with in both her home life and her school life, I can understand why she was suicidal.

I loved reading about Ruth's connection with Naoko.  She read her diary at the same time I, the reader, did and she grew to care for Nao just as I did.  There were some interesting ideas on time and the internet in this book and I thought it was a good touch that the main character was called Nao.

There were a few things that I didn't love.  Firstly I think that there was an anachronism.

 I believe that Naoko mentioned that her funeral video went viral on youtube, and then later we learned that all this had happened in 2000 and 2001.  Youtube came around in 2005.  And I remember that Nao texted her friend a picture of her in her school uniform, but were camera phones common in 2000?  It ruined some of the ideas on the internet and time for me because I think that even if 2000 wasn't very long ago, times were different then.

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The other thing that I didn't love was how the dad was handled.  

I think that I felt more sympathy towards him than Nao and Ruth did.  I really hated that both of them thought that he was selfish for being suicidal.  Suicidal people need help and support, not judgment.

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And the last thing that I didn't like was that even sometimes when I was thinking about how this book was so brilliant and amazing, I was also thinking about how I wanted it to end.  I definitely felt that way at the end, when the characters were having a conversation about what they thought was going on and I was like "I don't need to read this."  But that is a minor complaint because I still read it and I still loved the book overall.