I made a new friend some time in 2017 whom I shared a lot of interests with. He’s also the first person I told this blog about (I made this blog a secret then I went on telling a stranger about it. Weird, I know. Lol). One of the interests we shared is our love for books. He told me that he loved Norwegian Wood and that I should consider reading it too. I am easily convinced by book suggestions so of course I read it.
Norwegian Wood. I will always remember this as the book that accompanied me during my vacation in El Nido, Palawan (hey, guys, if ever you’re visiting Philippines, do not leave until you’ve visited El Nido! You won’t regret it, I promise!). This is my first book for 2018 and I can’t wait to share to everyone how I felt 🙂
Okay, honestly, I don’t know what I actually felt while I was reading Norwegian Wood. Unlike the other books, Norwegian Wood didn’t give me a clue as to what I will be expecting. I felt like I am living day by day and side by side with Toru. I never knew what Haruki Murakami is trying to tell me, or if he just wants me to experience what Toru is experiencing. Whichever it is, I loved it 🙂
Norwegian Wood is told through Toru Watanabe’s perspective. Toru is a college student majoring in Drama. The story revolves around his experiences and the people around him. One reason that makes it hard for me to get over a book is I usually fall in love with the characters. And that’s exactly what happened to me. I fell in love with Toru.
I don’t know how I will provide a review of the story, but I think it is best for me to introduce the characters instead and hope that you’ll understand the story through them. I am sorry, but this will contain MAJOR spoilers (same with the rest of my reviews) so read at your own risk 🙂
Kizuki – I believe everything started with Kizuki’s end. Lol. Kizuki is Toru’s best and only friend. He was only briefly introduced in the book, but he surely left an impact to the story. As Toru’s best friend, his death left a huge mark in Toru’s life. He did not only leave Toru, but he also left his girl friend Naoko.
Naoko – You know that one friend whom you do not understand, but you love nonetheless? I felt exactly that way towards Naoko. Naoko is Kizuki’s girl friend. Toru often “thirdwheels” when the two of them were on a date so Naoko and Toru are well acquainted at the time of Kizuki’s death. When they met again after Kizuki’s death, I felt the cute awkward connection between them. I loved how Toru just follows Naoko around and never complained. Naoko is like a fragile girl that you would never dare hurt, and I loved that Toru treated her like one. I loved how she accepted that she is experiencing depression and tried to seek treatment to help herself. She also tried to surround her with friends who gave her love, which I think is the best effort she could give herself. Her ending her own life is really one of the saddest death I’ve read. It’s not as tragic as those from contemporary novels. There was no build up nor element of surprise used. Haruki Murakami conveyed her death simply. Just like how he created Naoko’s image. The effer of her death to the people around her made me realize that we may not appreciate ourselves, but for some, our mere existence is enough.
Toru and Naoko’s relationship is simple, yet complicated. They are struggling for love that they both want, but they cannot give. For Naoko, having Toru love her is enough. And for Toru, loving Naoko is enough. I think that’s the best way we can love someone, to be contented with just being loved without expecting more. To be satisfied with the love we get from a person, because no matter how much of that love we actually feel, sometimes that’s the only amount of love that person can give.
Midori – I don’t want to play favorites so I won’t say that Midori is my favorite character in this novel 😛. Her personality is really cute and she gives balance to the story. I loved reading about Naoko, but I will admit that it sometimes drag me down. Reading Toru’s experiences with Midori is really a “breather” from everything that is happening to him. I really love how unselfconscious (is this a word?) she is. She does and says whatever she wants, without caring what other people would think. Her thoughts are very liberated but still too cute to read. (P.S. I tried saying the stuff he said to Toru, it’s just awkward when I was the one saying it. Oh well.) I would have loved to see her and Toru ending up together, but I guess that is something I will never find out 😦
Toru, my love – This blog has been sitting in my drafts for months now because I don’t know how I will describe Toru. I’ve had a lot of “book boyfriends” ever since I started reading, but most of them are from romance novels with almost perfect qualities. But Toru? He’s different. He’s far from being perfect and that made him more realistic.
I will go all “nerd-lover” to all of you when I describe Toru so please bear with me.
As I said a while ago, Toru is a college student majoring in drama so, yes, he reads a lot of books. He’s socially awkward which made him a lot cuter. But, aside from all these “dreamy” qualities he has (Yes, I know, most girls are not attracted to this kind of guys), I fell in love with the way he treated Naoko and Midori. Both girls are opposites of one another, but that never changed the kind of person Toru is when he was with them.
Toru to Naoko – He is gentle and patient with Naoko. He understands her needs. He understands that Naoko cannot give her a lot, but he still chose to be with her. When Naoko was away, I loved how he only thought about her. He was as loyal as a “more than a friend” guy can be. The two of them were never in a real relationship, but Toru treated Naoko as if she was everything to him. He made future plans as if Naoko will be with her someday. When he lost her, he grieved her as if the world stopped around him.
Toru to Midori – He is the same person with Midori, but different. I loved how he’s often confused with Midori’s random and liberated thoughts. Despite the liberated thoughts, he still remained the perfect gentleman to her. The two of them are the perfect combination of awkward and cute and they would have been a cute couple in a contemporary novel.
In the end, I completely fell in love with Toru when he did not start a relationship with Midori because of Naoko. I know that with what happened, it was Midoru who got ultimately hurt. But Toru was committed to Naoko, even if he eventually fell in love with Midori, he kept his promise to Naoko until the end. That loyalty is difficult to find on a guy nowadays. In a world full of cheating guys, I’m so thankful to have read about Toru. He may be fictional, but he reminded me that there are still loyal guys out there. ❤
I think you all realized now how jumbled my thoughts are about Norwegian Wood. I’m still confused about how I really felt about it, but I just know I loved it. Lastly, for those who have already read Norwegian Wood, yes, I did not write about Reiko. I do not like her and that’s all I’m going to say about her. Haha!