September 22, 2005

Book Review: Momoko's Childhood

Momoko's Childhood
Momoko no Hanashi
By: Momoko Sakura
ISBN: 9571019186

In “Momoko's Childhood,” the sixth collection of essays by Sakura Momoko, the hilarity of her earlier books has been replaced by mild amusement. As Sakura makes abundantly clear in the book's afterword, the book was written hurriedly to meet the quota of one book per year. Sakura is still able to find the humor in everyday occurrences, but these occurrences really are more commonplace than in her previous books. (See my reviews of Monkey Circus and Ikoiri Musume, also by Sakura Momoko.) Topics in this book include her love of baked sweet potatoes, how she spent Valentine's Day as a child, hurriedly finishing her summer homework, going to a concert with her sister and father, teaching her father song lyrics, her love of horticulture, how uncomfortable winter is, how uncomfortable summer is, and more. Not ground-breaking, but they are inspiring. Her recollections of childhood inspire readers to re-imagine our own childhoods. The things that annoyed her most as a child, such as the constant nagging of her mother, have lost their power to annoy. She imagines her mother as a talking doll who repeats the same nags when her string is pulled. The trait that gets Sakura into the most trouble, her laziness, becomes the most charming thing about her. She turns the everyday events of her life into sitcom episodes. (Literally, in the case of her cartoon series. Some of the episodes from this book feel just like episodes from Maruko Hibi-chan, the cartoon series that she wrote.) Reading this book, she encourages us to see our eccentricities as the things that make us interesting, and our flaws and weaknesses as the things that make us loveable.


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