Cover Image: This is Amiko, Do You Copy?

This is Amiko, Do You Copy?

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This is Amiko, Do You Copy? is a novella about the aftermath of a family tragedy. At the centre of the story is Amiko, who is excited for her pregnant mother to bring home a new baby sibling. This ultimately doesn't happen and the family falls apart. Amiko has always been a spirited and 'difficult' girl and in the aftermath of the tragedy, her mother falls into a deep depression, her father pretends nothing happened and her brother starts hanging out with the wrong crowd. Amiko recounts tales from her childhood and adolescence to tell the story of how she ended up living with her grandmother.

The main focus of this story is Amiko's neurodivergence. While her diagnosis is never named, it is very clear she is neurodivergent (she takes things too literally, she has problems reading social cues and she has no filter to name but a few of her symptoms). She is bullied in school and her family either ignore or chastise her as they don't know how to handle her. Yet there is some dark humour sprinkled throughout and the story overall doesn't feel preachy or over the top. This is possibly due to the way it's told, just Amiko recalling these memories. The language is simple and allows for the reader to read between the lines, displaying emotions without laying it on too thick.

It's one I think I will reread in the future, giving it time to sink in and see what I can pick up second time around. If you liked Convenience Store Woman, then you may enjoy this one.

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This is a short but powerful novel about Amiko who is a unique and irrepressible character. The struggles of Amiko's relationships and her individuality was charming and heart-breaking. This short but powerful novel had me thinking about it long after I finished the last page.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review

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This was a pleasant novella to read but I’m not quite sure what the point of it was. It follows a neurodivergent girl called Amiko whose mother undergoes something really traumatic and falls into depression. It felt like it was trying to have a coming-of-age feel to it but it was too short and succinct to really stand on its own legs. Felt slightly rushed and thought I had missed something. Definitely enjoyed the authors first work a lot more than this but will be seeing what she writes next.

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This was strange and weird. The main character was relatable to my life, but it cut close to home at times. Nice to see underrepresented protagonists. One sitting read this.

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My love for Japanese literature has transcended once again and I am so close to learning Japanese. I loved it, 100% would recommend to everyone on my contacts list.

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This is Amiko, Do You Copy? by Natsuko Imamura and translated from the Japanese by Hitomi Yoshio, was a fast paced novella that I finished in one sitting. 

This is the story of Amiko, a neurodivergent girl (only suggested and not stated explicitly) from age 10 to her mid teens. She is an outcast, the 'weird' one, who is made fun of at school, treated differently by her teachers and society at large. Her family consisting of a mother, father and a brother, while don't necessarily treat her differently, they don't also make much effort to understand her. Her brother does take some effort but even so is a child himself to be able to do much more. The story starts with Amiko living with her grandmother and narrating her story from her past to now. We see a largely normal family on the exterior, disintegrate steadily through the course of the story. It's written from Amiko's perspective and hence will have you wanting to know more about other characters but since it is Amiko's worldview, you will only get that. It's a poignant read and I wouldn't want to give away much as I feel the strength of the story lies in it revealing itself over ones reading course. 

This book was Imamura's debut. I have read her The Woman In the Purple Skirt and what strikes me in both these books is her writing style: engaging, layered and a methodology of slow reveal as you go along in the story, that keeps you hooked. She is subtle and doesn't state the obvious, wants her readers to do their bit of deciphering. Imamura will always leave you with a lot more questions than answers. Amiko still has me thinking of her. It's a poignant little tale of not belonging or fitting in to the structures that society creates for you. The title of this translated book refers to a set of walkie-talkie that is gifted to Amiko on her birthday, one she uses unsuccessfully to communicate with her brother on a day that changes the course of the family's life forever. The title, also suggestive of what Amiko's life is like, a one way communication with no desired response from the society. It's a sad, sad little book that I really loved. 

Thanks to @netgalley and @pushkinpress for the eARC.

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This a subtle and powerfully moving piece of writing, focussing on Amiko and her family as they struggle with life and what it throws at them. The family unit starts to fracture, and this only increases Amiko's issues as she herself tries to deal with her neuro-divergent issues. At times I could imagine this being used as a teaching tool in schools, but sometimes the events take on a much darker theme that makes it a much more adult book.

This is an earlier work than the author's previously published 'The Woman in the Purple Skirt', another powerful psychological study, so it's wonderful to have this now available in English translation. At its heart, the book relies on our compassion for Amiko, and I feel that Imamura definitely delivers that, It's short, but leaves a lasting impression, and that surely is the mark of a good book. 4.5 stars.

(With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this title.)

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Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC - 3.5 stars

Written from Amiko's perspective as a child who is neurodivergent, it's an interesting exploration of how people perceive things differently from one another and the impact of neglectful behaviour. I've not read a book like this before and it was quite upsetting so I'm not sure I'd read it again.

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3.5 stars

My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for my free digital ARC!

Amiko is a young neurodivergent girl living in Japan with her mother, father and brother. She doesn't see the world like most other people do, and this book offers a peek into what it's like living life in a way most others don't understand. Amiko is perfectly happy eating her curry rice with her hands and saying it exactly how it is, but unfortunately her elders and her peers at school don't appreciate it. The author displays both the casual and pointed cruelty at play by neurotypicals towards neurodivergent folks. My heart broke for Amiko on several occasions, though mostly when her intentions were pure and made sense to her, but her actions didn't have the desired effect on their recipient.

The ending in particular was heartbreaking when you realise what happened, and although this book was published in 2011 in Japan, I'm not sure how far attitudes have come the world over since then. Hopefully they only continue to improve for neurodivergent folks!

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I rather curious novella about Amika, a Neuro divergent young girl, and the world as seen through her eyes. She seems happy enough to begin with; living in her bubble, and looking forward to the arrival of her new baby brother, but when her step-mother loses the baby her world changes almost overnight. The story is told from Amika's point of view and she has little understanding about what is happening to get family and so to her, so there were definitely things that I felt I missed or didn't really understand in the way I might have if I had more knowledge of Japanese culture. She's a different kind of unreliable narrator.

*Many thanks to Netgalley and Pushkin Press for a copy in exchange for an honest opinion.*

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Natsuko Imamura's "This is Amiko, Do You Copy?" is quite a curious novella, which presents Amiko, a neurodivergent girl, who wants to understand the world around her so bad, and yet, her inability to do so ends up separating her even from her family.

I had a conflicted relationship with Amiko, which says a lot about Imamura's skills as a writer. Amiko's unawareness of the brutal world around her made me feel for her, though at the same time, I could see her families incompetence on how to treat a person like Amiko's. The heartbreaking aspect of the novella, for me, came from the impotence of each of the family member on how to deal with such events.

Still, as deep as this novella feels in retrospective, it doesn't make it a hard read. The writing feels very straightforward, and I guess, Amiko's naiveness towards the whole issue, makes it more manageable.

I wanna keep reading Natsuko Imamura for sure.

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Short and sweet, a stunning tale of the breaking of a family through the perspective of the neurodivergent youngest child. Unfortunately, the shortness of it kept it from greatness. Featured some fantastic writing though

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Amiko is a young Japanese girl happy in her world. High-spirited and trying to please everyone she has a loving family and no idea that she's "different". Amiko has no filters,she says what she thinks and doesn't see life as others do. When tragedy strikes Amiko's total lack of awareness inadvertently causes chaos and heartbreak.

Like much contemporary Japanese fiction this is a thought-provoking and "different" book that leaves the reader to make their own interpretation and would make for an excellent reading group choice.

This is a superb piece of writing,Natsuko Imamura manages to mix tragedy with humour and it's a book you'll still be thinking about well after finishing it.

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A short novella describing the confusing world that a neurodivergent teen girl experiences. We get to know Amiko and her family, learn about her time at school, and suffer with her as her increasingly complex life isolates her more and more, leaving her more confused than ever before.

What I liked is the perspective of a troubled and neurodivergent teen - how she interprets events to make them fit her understanding of her world, and the way this interpretation differs from objective (if there is such a thing) reality around her. It's never clear whether what we see and experience is real, imagined, or interpreted by our protagonist. It's also interesting to see how her suffering family deals with her, and what impact her behaviour has on their own mental health.

Admittedly, though, I struggled a bit with the story. The writing itself felt a bit odd, and didn't flow as easily as perhaps it should have. This is marked contrast to other books that offer similar premises, like Iain Banks's Crow Road or Sayaka Murata's Convenience Store Woman. While the story is somehow moving, it's very difficult to be genuinely affected while the story progresses. I found myself being more impressed with the story after finishing it and thinking about it than while reading it. Typically, it means that the function of the story was impressive and impactful, but its form was lacking.

That being said, I would still recommend it, especially due to its brevity. It might especially be relevant for those interested in the neurodivergent experience, and the loneliness stemming from it.

My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an early copy of this work in return for an honest review.

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A heart-breaking novella which tells us a few years from Amiko's childhood. The picture is not whole but one thing is certain: Amiko sees things differently and lives in a dysfunctional family burdened by loss and grief. The story is only a glimpse into her life but powerful and distressing nevertheless.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Pushkin Press for an Advance Review Copy.

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Such a sweet, yet heartbreaking book about neurodiverse Amiko trying to navigate the world and some truly harrowing situations she has to endure at such a young age. The comparison to her peers shows that her reactions are more than a mere childhood innocence. This book was the perfect size for the story and the author engaged you in such a way that you couldn’t help but feel and care for Amiko.

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Oh my goodness, I'm not quite sure how to review this. I can't really say it was pleasant to read because it wasn't, but I did enjoy it. It is beautiful and devastating at the same time. I loved Amiko, is she happy in her own world where she is safe from all the ugliness or would it be better if she was to know the truth? Very thought provoking regarding mental health and anxiety.

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This is a short but devastating little book looking at the world through the eyes of Amiko, who sees things differently to most people. You don't get told what issues she has, but you get the sense that she interprets things very simply and doesn't have people around her to explain things so she just tries to make sense of things as she sees fit.

Amiko over the time we're with her deals with so much. There are schooldays where she's picked on, even by the teachers, and she really doesn't understand why. And things at home are difficult too, even more so when her step mother loses her baby, something that Amiko really doesn't understand as she has no filter and it's heartbreaking to see the pain the family go through and the impact the distance has on Amiko in particular.

It's only a short book so it only feels like a snapshot of the emotions that could be explored through many of the characters, and it was really interesting to have the viewpoint of this young girl although I really wish it had been longer to build up more of a connection and background to these characters.

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For such a short book, it is very powerful.

This novella’s premise is quite simple: Amiko is narrating memories of her childhood to a little girl.
Amiko is a spirited, quirky child who causes her mother much trouble. She blurts things out, sneaks into places, eats with her hands, and doesn’t comprehend why people find that weird and tell her off, but she takes it all very stoically, almost as if she really doesn’t get any of it. Progressively it appears that is indeed the case. She shares moments of family life, and her innocent crush on Nori, which has had a lasting impact on her.
Around her birthday, things start to change. She is gifted a walkie talkie which she practices speaking with, her mum is pregnant. The family goes through a lot of adversity and things will never be the same.

There are cute comedic moments that reminded me of Ghibli children, the film “The Taste of Tea” or even the first part of “Amelie”. However there are also very dark ones, poignantly portraying the traumatic impact of neglect and bullying on a neurodivergent child, and sheds light on the complexities of relationships with family members.
The narration is fresh and brings something unique because it is a very realistic, candid, and relatable representation of a neurodivergent childhood without being cliché or relying on stereotypes.

I think this book is important. It prompts readers to reflect on their biases and the importance of recognising the human validity of people/children like Amiko, and for neurodivergent people, it is a very moving read where we feel seen. Stories featuring neurodivergent children are often told “about” them, things are told “at” them but in this book, Amiko is candidly telling her story in her words, she wants to connect, and this is echoed in the book’s title.

I honestly did not expect it to affect me as much as it did.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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My review in one word: Huh?
Was intrigued by the title and the Japanese setting, but then it all went vague.
The little girl Amiko and her clear developmental challenges are ignored by her parents, her brother and her school(mates) and she bumbles through her life with an aloofness and disinterest that is unsettling. Other than that, I didn’t get it. Sorry.

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