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  • Writer's pictureGaili Schoen

Memorial: A Novel

I was excited to read this book after hearing the storyline: A gay couple parts for awhile as the Japanese-American partner flies home to Osaka to be with his dying father, just after his divorced Japanese mother has arrive in his Houston home. The premise that his mother will get to know and connect with his black partner in Houston while he finally connects with his estranged father in Osaka seemed interesting, but the reality came up short for me. The characters are only superficially drawn and conversations amongst these four never go very deep. A few revelations surface but little that touches on any kind of gained wisdom or learning. The ending drags a bit, but some of the best discussion happen right at the end.

Most annoyingly, the author seems to feel that he has to reach an average of at least one "fuck" exclamation per page. It seems contrived, particularly when the Japanese mother and father say it. I enjoy colorful language when it fits, but the number of "fucks" in this book become ridiculous and repetitive, distracting the reader from the story. Still, many readers have enjoyed this book, and it's refreshing to read a story about a normal gay couple trying to figure out their lives and relationships, while exploring their parents' various dysfunctions.

⭐⭐⭐/5 on GoodReads - check out our RipeReads in Community/Groups!

Hardcover 320 pages, Audiobook 8 hours, 20 minutes


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