Reading & Reviewing | R&R 017
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R&R 017 | Be With You

Takuji Ichikawa
Be With You
Viz Media, 2003
Cover photograph © Eliot Shepard
267 pages
Bought in New York's Strand bookstore
Flickr post

While browsing the $1 bargain shelves at New York's wonderful Strand bookstore – my favourite bookstore but one that is unfortunately not within reach when I feel like a visit – I found a book that I somehow knew didn't belong there. I purchased it and brought it home with me to The Netherlands.

It has been a year since Mio passed away, and her husband and son have managed to somehow make a fraction of a life again for themselves. But then one day, Mio is returned to them – but without any memory of who she was. Is she real, is she a ghost? Mio and her family get a chance to start again, all the while coming to terms with the uncertainty that resides within them all: Mio might not stay with them forever this time, either.

When I finished this book I was quite sad to remember where I had found it. Tucked away somewhere between rejected crime or romance novels. Castaway. Well, this book deserves to be found and read.

I'll be honest here: as enchanted I was with the story, this book was not fantastic with regards to dialogue, specifically. There was plenty of conversation between our three main characters, but often I found it to be abundant, irrelevant. In regular intervals one can find dialogue of this sort:

A: "Really?"
B: "Really."

A: "Huh?"
B: [insert answer here]
A: "Oh."

A: "Not at all."
B: "Really?"

At some point, this became annoying. But because the story managed to hold my interest, it was only a minor irritation at the time. And who knows, perhaps the author intended for the characters to have this particular way of speaking. Something they share, these conversations, or a characteristic. Not to mention one of the characters was only a young (and curious) kid. Big words and dragged out sentences would have been out of place, as well.

Leaving that aside, and without giving too much away, Be With You is a moving tale of second chances, and the importance of living in the now, while appreciating what you have. Human happiness is reflected on rather wisely in this sweet supernatural ghost story. Add well developed characters with realistic emotions to that, and you've got quite a little gem.


Book review & accompanying photo copyright Karin Elizabeth. Do NOT copy and repost or reproduce the text or photo anywhere without my permission. Contact me if you'd like to use this review.
Copyright © Karin Elizabeth. All rights reserved. This photo is public only so you ("the public") may view it; it is not to be used as free stock. Use without written consent by the author (that would be me) is illegal and punishable by law; I will take action. This goes for blogging, as well. So, contact me beforehand if you are interested in using this image or any of my others (non-)commercially.

Karin Elizabeth
  • Drey

    I found the conversation endearing. It's just a cute little habit of the child and his father.

    December 1, 2012 at 8:28 pm

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