Monday, January 7, 2008

Midori by Moonlight

Midori by Moonlight
Wendy Nelson Tokunaga
St. Martin’s Griffin, 2007

Midori Saito has always dreamed of marrying an American man; so when Kevin, an American teaching in English in Japan asks for her hand, Midori follows him to San Francisco. Unfortunately, Midori’s dream soon becomes a nightmare when Kevin breaks off the engagement, leaving her to fend for herself. In Midori by Moonlight, author Wendy Nelson Tokunaga delivers a funny, heart-warming take on the typical “fish out of water” story.

Midori, determined to stay in America, calls upon the assistance of Shinji, a friend of Kevin’s and a Japanese ex-patriate working and living in the city. Like Midori, Shinji favors American woman especially his current girlfriend, the Japan obsessed Tracy. Although Shinji offers Midori a share in his apartment, he is clear that she must pay the rent. Unable to get a job as a pastry chef (throughout the novel, Midori creates exquisite deserts and downs huge quantities of pastries), she takes a job as a hostess in a karaoke bar in Japantown: a job that humiliates her but pays the bills and does not require a green card. While the odds are clearly stacked against our heroine, she refuses to give up and soon finds that she has chosen (even in the face of difficulties) the path she was always meant to take. The fish soon finds that the American dream can be grasped by anyone determined to reach for it.

Tokunaga explores the life of an immigrant and the nature of the dream of freedom, both internally and externally, in this work. Via a plot that is certainly a chick lit format, the work delivers on its goals

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