Reviewed by Sheryl Root
Moon Over Tokyo by Siri Mitchell
"Siri describes real lives---lives that don't necessarily have exciting thing happening to them on a daily basis, lives filled with real fears, uncertainties and struggles."
Moon Over Tokyo is the first book by Siri Mitchell I’ve read, and it won’t be the last. She has a true gift of taking the ordinary events of life—work, friendship, love—and somehow makes them enchanting.
Journalist Allie O’Connor has lived in Japan for two years, working for the military newspaper Stars and Stripes. While most of us would consider living in another country and working in a culture very different from our own an adventure, Allie knows that this is merely an illusion. Adventure is what you make out of life, not where you live, and Allie likes her routine. Staying in that routine is much safer than risking the chance of not living up to her dreams. So when her best friend Gina leaves Japan to move back home to Australia, Allie’s prayer is that God would provide her with another friend to take her place; one who lives nearby and speaks English, just like Gina did.
However, the friend Allie envisioned isn’t quite what God provided. When she goes to church and runs into Eric Larsen, an old classmate from high school, she reaches out to him only to make him feel welcome. Allie knows how lonely it can be when you are new to a foreign country. But they could never be close. They were total opposites in high school: Eric a Young Republican, Allie a liberal Democrat, Eric captain of the debate team, Allie editor of the literary journal. Allie really hadn’t known him well enough to hate him, but she had disliked him on principle. However, as circumstance and design bring Eric and Allie together again, and her feelings begin to grow, she starts to question her past perceptions. Could a change of perspective be all that Allie needs to give her the life that she dreams of?
There were passages of this book that I read over again, both for the pure enjoyment of Allie and Eric’s burgeoning relationship and because I so empathized with Allie’s struggles. Then there was the tension leading up to their first kiss … boy, that was definitely worth waiting for!
Siri Mitchell, as a military spouse, has lived in Japan, and it is evident in the detailed and fascinating glimpse into their culture revealed in Moon Over Tokyo. However, the setting was a bonus. What truly drew me into the book was its timelessness. Siri describes real people living real lives—lives that don’t necessarily have exciting things happening to them on a daily basis, lives filled with real fears, uncertainties and struggles—and reveals how truly magical those lives can be.
Sheryl Root is Partner Database Manager at OneHope, a non-profit organization whose mission is to reach every child with God’s Word. She’s also a writer and a reader of everything she can get her hands on … books, blogs, magazines. In other words, she’s both a data geek and a book nerd. She loves to be able to support Christian authors and spread the word on great books and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, a wonderful community of published and yet to be published writers. You can follow her on Twitter at @Sheryl_Root.