September 16, 2008
Be With You
Viz Media, 2003
Cover photograph © Eliot Shepard
Bought in New York's Strand bookstore
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:
B: [insert answer here]
A: "Not at all."
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.
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