Friday, October 7, 2011

Peeping Toms and Other Reasons You Should Love This Book

I have to admit I was a little nervous during the first two chapters of Real World. I'd already picked a crappy book, and then I made the executive decision to make everyone jump ship to another book. "Please don't let it also be crappy," I prayed.

For such a short, 200 pp. book, Kirino sure takes a long time -- 60 pages -- to warm up and set the scene. We're introduced to Toshi, who has a few witty, wisecracking things to say about feminism, and then Yuzan, who reads kind of like a bad cliché -- the closeted lesbian who's mother died of cancer. But the weirdness does slowly start to accumulate: There's Toshi's alter ego, Ninna Hori. Yuzan's mother who comes back as a ghost pebble. The mysterious killer Worm who randomly starts calling up girls in Toshi's contact list.

Readers, Kirino cracks it wide open in Chapter 3. Worm begins to reveal, in his bizarre soldierly way, the reasons why he killed his mother, and the choppiness I was so leery of in chapters 1 & 2 starts lending itself to hilarity. Opining on manga vs. novels: "The guys in my class see only the outer surface. Same with their parents. Guess they find that makes living easier, like that's the smart way to approach life. What a bunch of assholes."

Then, on page 76, we're finally treated to our first boner ("As I imagined her, I got an erection."). From there Worm shares his back-story of being a Peeping Tom, and the rest is history -- guys, I can't even keep up with this guy's quotables. Let's just say Chip would be very titillated. And then chapter 4 builds on the freakiness, with a bona fide Naughty Japanese School Girl.

I'm not sure where this is headed, but I'm pretty sure I like it.

Pretentious discussion topics: Personas & alternate realities; the Novel as a way to "show you the real world with one layer peeled away, a reality you can't see otherwise."

Best critique of hipsters:
"My old man said he'd use the Japanese-style room on the second floor as his study. A study? Don't make me laugh. All he's got are dusty old sets of collected works. Those aren't books -- they're furniture. And how about all those records he's collected since college? He never listens to them. Hello! Ever heard of CDs? We got MP3s and DVDs, too, in case you didn't know. And don't give me all that crap about how great analog sounds, okay? [...] Okay, so you bought a computer, but do you ever use it? You're just trying to look cool. Do you know that I sneak into your room, surf the Web, and play around on porn sites?"

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