Published: September 8th, 2022
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Genre: Literary Fiction, Humorous Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook
Today is my stop on the blog tour for the moving and heartfelt Mika in Real Life. Thank you to Jen at Michael Joseph for the invitation to take part and the gifted copy of the book.
AT 35, MIKA SUZUKI IS STRUGGLING.
She’s been fired (again). Her last relationship went up in flames. Her mother is perpetually disappointed in her.
And now, she’s had a phone call from sixteen-year-old Penny Calvin: the baby she reluctantly placed for adoption when she was just a teenager herself.
Penny has questions – and Mika is desperate to meet her girl. But she barely feels like she can take care of herself . . .
Is she ready to show Penny who Mika Suzuki really is?
“All these moments live in me still. You live in me still. Half of my breaths, a quarter of each heartbeat, are yours. I guess that’s what happens when you have children — they take a piece of you.”
Mika in Real Life was a hidden gem that took me by surprise. The story opens with a letter from Mika to her daughter and then jumps back to the day Mika receives Penny’s first phone call seven months earlier. What follows is a heartfelt, funny and insightful tale of self discovery that explores the powerful bond between a parent and child. By the third page I already felt broken and I was unprepared for the emotional journey this takes you on, going through a rainbow of emotions over the next 375 pages.
Wonderfully written and compelling, Emiko Jean perfectly captures the essence of the parent and child bond; the intensity, fear, sacrifice, constant change, grief and inadequacy you feel as a part of your heart walks around outside your body. As a mother myself, I felt so much of this story on a visceral level. It was like my own heart and soul was wide open for all to see. She also examines how the reality never quite measures up to the fantasy and expectations we have and how parenthood is the epitome of learning the art of letting go, something that really hit home with me as the mother of two eighteen-year-olds going through that stage of spreading their wings.
“It was a kind of beautiful agony having a child. Feeling their emotions as well as your own.”
Mika is one of those characters you cannot help falling in love with. She is a mess, has no idea what she’s doing or who she is and makes some huge mistakes, but that is part of her charm and what makes her so relatable. I was rooting for her at every step and enjoyed reading as she found herself while getting to know Penny. It is so easy for us to get caught up in where we thought we should be in life and compare ourselves to others and Mika is a great reminder why that isn’t healthy and why we should celebrate what we have rather than chastising ourselves for what we don’t have or didn’t accomplish.
The book is also filled with great background characters. I loved Penny and thought the author did a fantastic job of really capturing both how it feels to be a teenager and how it feels to parent one. I also had a real soft spot for Thomas and enjoyed seeing a positive but realistic representation of a single father.
Moving, witty and layered, this delightful book is one that will linger long after turning the final page. Highly recommended.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
When Emiko is not writing, she is reading. Most of her friends are imaginary. Before she became a writer she was an entomologist (fancy name for bug catcher), a candle maker, a florist, and most recently a teacher. She lives in Washington with her husband and children (unruly twins). She loves the rain.
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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Emma xxx
Please check out the reviews from other bloggers taking part in the tour
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