Review on: Naoko by Keigo Higashino
Imagine hearing that your wife and daughter, who are your only family, are in an accident and upon rushing to the scene you find that your wife is dying and your daughter in a coma. It can lead a man to sink into an unimaginable state of depression, yet the main character of the story is not given the chance to grieve. A while after his wife’s death, his daughter who is in a comatic state wakes up only to find that somehow his wife is his daughter. His wife’s personality has been transferred into his daughter’s body, not knowing whether it’s temporary of permanent.
It’s more than just a dream when his “daughter” knows things that only his wife knows. It continues on for the next few years, with his wife living the life his daughter would have led. To top it all of, his wife develops a double personality with her having a completely different character in his presence, and outside of it.
A very thought provoking book that reminds me somewhat of “For One More Day by Mitch Albom” which gives us another insight as to how one would live their life if they were given the chance to start anew. What I loved about the book is how modern the writer made the characters seem. Despite this being located in Japan, it gave us a more modern but still somewhat traditional perspective as to the character of Japanese parents and teenagers. With the gloomy beginning to start the story, one would think that the rest of the story would stay just as depressing, yet the writer was able to bring in many humorous, dramatic, mysterious and touching moments within the everyday experiences of the two main characters.
The end may turn out to be enthusiastically uplifting, or may lead the reader to an even deeper-insight as to what really happened. In the end though, what the story doesn’t lack is the ability to make the reader re-think their actions in life. An interesting part of the story too is the obvious involvement of the main character, the father, in the everyday experiences that his daughter encounters, which allows us to see a little into how parents see the lives of their children.
A definite must-read, if you’re into a lot of interesting genres put together to give us another world that doesn’t seem too far from our own. Even if we ourselves are not put into a situation wherein we “switch bodies” with someone, the experiences of living possibly 2 distinct/indistinct personalities is not an impossible thing especially with our modern world in which many kids try to act beyond their age and where many adults try to act younger than they actually are. The possibility of having two personalities doesn’t seem that off.