I got this book from my English teacher. He didn’t really give it to me, but he just let me borrow it because I pestered him for it. He then lent it to me and told me that as soon as I finished reading it I was to return it to him because it had sentimental value.
During the time he lent me the book, I had just come out of an unclean break-up and I didn’t know what I was in for when I got the book from him. I was excited to read it since there were people on the Internet raving about it, and because I grew up listening to the Beatles.
The first few chapters of the book were rather sweet and simple, as the main character talked about his life and friends Kizuki, who died at seventeen and his girlfriend Naoko. But a few years after Kizuki’s death, Naoko disappears without a trace.
During her absence, the main character Toru meets Midori, a bubbly and outspoken girl, the total opposite of Naoko.
Finally, after a few months of waiting from Toru, Naoko finally writes to him a very long letter that has consumed one entire chapter. Whatever Naoko had written in the letter had pinpointed exactly what I had been feeling the entire time since the break-up. It stirred something in me.
There were times that I wanted to give up on the book because it had gotten to me. It forced me to think deeply on abstract things like love and friendship. And in that point of time I didn’t want to think at all. I just wanted to let go and clear my mind. And there were times where I regretted reading the book because I felt like the book hurt me and I didn’t want to open it anymore.
So I approached my teacher with the intent of returning the book, continuing the book was too painful for me. I told him that I felt rather overwhelmed with everything the book has said, it pulled on my heartstrings and the detailed description of sex disturbed me, and made my mind go into overdrive. He told me that he felt the same way when he read the book, and he encouraged me to keep the book until I finished it, to keep reading it because it was very beautiful.
I kept the book for his sake, but I didn’t want to read it anymore. But the way in which Murakami wrote the book, the beauty of the story, the wholesomeness of its characters lured me back in, to open the book and give it another chance.
And now I’m almost there, I’m near the end of the book. During the time I was reading this book, I realised that I am lot like Naoko. I wasn’t only pained by heartache; there were much deeper problems within me. And so I have decided, once I finish reading this book, I should talk to our school’s counsellor. Like Naoko, I can no longer keep on ignoring these problems and get help right away, or there will be much more fatal consequences to this.
Thanks to this book, I keep the faith that I will be “healed”, and I thank my teacher for lending me this book and encouraging me to keep on reading it. It helped me face the truth. Thank you, Mr. M.