Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Book review: Chain Mail Addicted To You by Hiroshi Ishizaki

So the thriller begins:

I stood in front of the mailbox and cried. Snow fell around me, frosting my hair and shoes, slowly blotting out the words of the test results I held in my hands. Out of over twenty-five thousand test-takers, I had placed first in Japanese, mathematics, Science, Basic Studies, and General Studies. I had finally made it..

But it was too late. My mother was gone, and she wasn't coming back. If I had only studied harder, if I had only gotten these results a month earlier, maybe it would have made a difference.

So tell me what is Chain Mail Addicted To You about?
Three teenage girls all receive the same e-mail on their cellphone from a fourth girl; do they want to participate in creating a fictional world, escape from everyday life? None of the girls know each other in real life, but they have one thing in common, they are tired of the life they are leading, they don't fit in anywhere. Together on a private on-line message board the four girls create their one suspense novel. Each choses one of four parts the girl with the original idea has created. They write a story of a girl that's being stalked of a seriously disturbed guy. One day the lines between fiction and reality seems to blend and one of the girls has a sneaking suspicion that she's actually being followed for real.

My thoughts:
The whole story is set in motion by an email, four girls create their own thriller on a webpage. They chose the part they most want and have to for their turn to write, when it feels natural that their character has got something to contribute to the story. When the girls start writing their story it is almost as hard for the reader to put down the book as it is for the girls in the novel to keep from logging in on the webpage from school, the bus or-you-name-it to find out how the story progresses.

The Japanese writer Hiroshi Ishizaki gives us a picture of what life can be like for some teenagers living in Japan. Many of them have a huge pressure on them to be the very best. We are talking getting up at 4-5 A.M. to practice a couple of hours before school, then to attend night class after the school day has ended. Of course teens from all over the world can have people pressuring them but I got the impression that this is far more normal in Japan than say here in Europe where I live. I do not wish to stigmatize the Japanese so if anyone feels that I'm all wrong then please tell me so.

Ishizaki does an amazing job by giving us the insight of the mind of these four teenage girls. I do think he pulls it of wonderfully, and it cannot be that easy for a man to create four such believable female teen characters.

The cover says a lot about the book, girls being obsessed to check out their novel with their cellphones.

This was my very first novel by a Japanese author and I really enjoyed it. I have my eye on another Japanese author Koushun Takami and his novel Battle Royal. If anyone has any other suggestions I would appreciate it.

This book can be purchased from Amazon(I'm not an affiliate).

Want to know more?
Find out more about the author over at Kodansha Children's Books

Pages(hardcover): 384
Publisher: Egemont USA
ISBN: 978-1606840573
Source: Purchased