BOOK REVIEWS

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-08-31 
Review Score: 3 out of 5 star From 14 user ratings
ISBN:184688134X
LANGUAGE:English

"I think this is the first time I've read Japanese literature.. when I saw this book yesterday, I couldn't help but take it home with me. The cover is gorgeous, plus I had been wanting to see the anime movie with the same title for ages. So, today I read the book.. and saw the movie. I must say I liked both. It's a story about a girl who can travel back in time a bit and so change/repeat events. Though I'd worked out who was in the lab relatively quickly, the twist at the end of the story was very nice. I liked it.

The second story, The Stuff That Nightmares Are Made Of, was about a girl and her brother, who both suffer from phobias. The girl's friend mentions the problem might be psychological, and so she does her best to find the source of the problem and solves it. This story was also quite nice and sends a good message (try to confront year fears if you can), but The Girl Who Leapt Through Time was my favourite of the two, because the concept was so interesting.

The friendships were something I also really liked in both stories. You have a girl protagonist, who is friends with boys, without dating. She's also friends with girls, but her best friend(s) is/are boys.. and they're not dating. Nor is she actively looking for a boyfriend. There is no real romance and, though you can argue that may have to do with the length of these stories, I actually really appreciated this. The friendships itself involve teasing, but also serious moments. It talks about sticking together, helping each other, being there for another. I liked it so much because the friendships seemed so genuine.

Now, I've seen other people mention the use of language in this book. I must admit, it took some time getting used to for me as well. It was very direct, a bit stiff perhaps, a bit bleak. I imagine the Japanese was a lot richer, but I didn't think the writing was bad. I liked it and thought it added something to the story, especially for the twist in first story, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.
There is one thing however that bothered me in the translation. The second story features a protagonist by the name of Masako. For some reason, she's twice refered to as Mariko on page 114. This is odd: at the beginning of the page she's still Masako, on page 115 she's Masako, but in the second half of page 114 she's Mariko. This seems to be something they missed during the editing (in case it isn't, feel free to point out), and it was quite obvious. It annoyed me because it seems such an unnecessary mistake.

I actually quite liked this, though I imagine some people may be better off with one of the movies, the anime or the manga. I only saw the anime movie, which added quite a bit of humour which cannot really be found in the book, so it all depends on what your preference is. But this is the original story, and it doesn't take long to read at all, so I'd say: give it a chance. You might be positively surprised.
" said.

"Review Taken From The Pewter Wolf

I'm not 100% sure how I became aware of this book. I'm not sure if I discovered it first on another blog - Portrait Of A Woman - when she was doing a joint "Japanese YA Novel Week" with another blog (called Death, Books and Tea) and then saw it on sale on Amazon's 12 Days of Kindle at the start of the year. Or, if it was the other way round: Amazon sale then saw it on Portrait of a Woman's blog.

Not sure but I bought it and, after reading the awesome Hollow Pike by James Dawson and not wanting to read another book I had high hopes on (Daylight Saving by Edward Hogan), I decided to read this as I wanted something fast, light and quite different from both Hollow Pike and Daylight Saving. Plus, if you read my New Year's Eve message, I said I wanted to be more brave and expand my reading so this seems perfect (I want to read more translations and I do have one or two in my pile so this was a nice starting point...)

Anyway, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is, actually, two novellas in one volume: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and The Stuff That Nightmares Are Made Of, which was originally published in Japan in 1967 (and was translated into English last year by, according to Wikipedia, David James Karashima). Both of them are written by Yasutaka Tsutsui, who is hugely popular in Japan and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is one of his most popular works. No pressure for me as I usually stay away from classics...

But the two stories are quite different. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is about Kazuko, who faints in her school science lab after smelling a lavender-like scent. When she wakes up, she feels different but thinks about it. Over the crash of three days, there is an earthquake, a fire at one of her friends' house and she and her friend get nearly run over. But at the exact moment of it happen, Kazuko time-leaps 24 hours in the past...

The other story, The Stuff That Nightmares Are Made Of is about Masako who has an irrational fear of Prajna masks and heights, and she decides to find out why she has these fears. At the same time, she helps her little brother, Yoshio, with his night terrors.

Now, these were fast. I started this late on Tuesday night and finished it on Thursday afternoon. And, sometimes, you want a fast read. And I liked the ideas that these two stories tackled - time travel and fear. But I felt that these issues weren't tackled property, or in a way which would have been interesting. Both these stories felt lacking as they could have been very interesting and very engaging novels in their own right. It felt like there could have been more...

Also, there were times I found the language used (either when characters spoke or prose) that I felt was quite tweed and, because of that, threw me out of the story and took a while to get back into it.

But the main problem I had with this was the lack of depth. It felt like you skimmed over the characters, their emotions and the events that could have been explored more. But, I have been told that a movie (trailer below with a fan video) tackled character developement, but with these two stories, they lacked depth and they lacked punch. Not my cup of tea, but glad I read them.
" said.

" I didn't care for the ending for The Girl Who Leapt Through Time much. A bit too far fetched? Maybe just me. I enjoyed the 2nd short story better for it's character development. " said.

"Following an incident in the school science lab, 15-year-old Kazuko mysteriously acquires the ability to jump backwards in time. A cute story, but a little too simplistic for me. Owing to the short length of the story, neither plot nor characters have an opportunity to develop any depth. The second story about conquering one's fears also seemed somewhat too simple and childish to me. With this book having been first published in 1965, it's definitely noticeable how much more grown up today's teenage characters are in comparison. " said.

" My first DNF of 2017. A review stating why will come soon. " said.

" Two short stories in one, this book is an odd but enjoyable little thing. The first story, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is the story of a young girl who suddenly finds herself able to jump through time and space and seeks to understand how this came to be.The second, The Stuff that Nightmares are Made of, is an exploration of psychological coping strategies and how they affect everyday life. " said.

"What a disappointment, and I suspect the problem is largely the translation itself, though I don't rule out that the original work is the source of this.

The first story, and consequently the one that gave this story its title, is The Girl Who Leap Through Time, which inspired the animated movie with the same title. The movie is way better, though it took all its cues from this story, it had better writing and delivery.

Both stories, the second is a horror-like themed story, felt badly fleshed out and immature, quite childish in its delivery really.

Now I don't know if the immaturity, and bad writing are faults of the translator, the writer itself, or both. It's probably both, but as I don't know how to read Japanese (yet), I don't have any way to say it's one way or the other.

Deeply disappointed, I expected a classic. Alas, it was not meant to be.

----
I've been antsy to read this since I learned the movie was based on this book, though I've only now geared my courage up to try to tackle it. Plus it's short, I never noticed it was only 100 pages!
" said.

"As someone who enjoyed the animated movie I have to say the original novella is a bit of a let down. I was really hoping it was going to expand on what the movie had, but instead I found myself with less information. It did clarify a couple points from the movie... but altogether, not worth it.

The 2nd short story was probably more interesting, but after the disappointment of reading the main novella I just didn't care. It was a bit creepy and mild psychoanalysis.

Methinks I am done with this author. The movie adaptations of his works are always better than the books they came from....
" said.

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