Alternate Title: Our Happy Hours
Author: Gong Ji-young
Illustrators: Sahara Mizu, Sumomo Yumeka
Chosen by: Lynn
Description from Goodreads:
"I have something I don't want to lose"
"So much so that these terrible feelings have grown."
A pianist who attempted suicide 3 times, Juri, is taken to help her aunt at a prison where murderers who killed indiscriminately are sentenced to death. There, she meets a man named Yuu who took the lives of 3 people. A mother's antagonism--a brother's death... Together they embrace the violent rebellion in their hearts caused by the large, deep scars they carry. However, before long, they both embrace an earnest hope in their hearts. "I want to live"...
An adaptation of novel by South Korea's most popular female novelist, Gong Ji-Young.
Manhwa, for those who do not know, is the Korean equivalent of manga. Both manga and manhwa have a reputation for being melodramatic and crazy, which is perhaps rightly earned. I expected Our Happy Hours to fall into that category, but it is surprisingly melodrama-free. The subject is treated with the appropriate gravity, but nothing needless is added to up the emotional ante unnecessarily. The plot's not drawn out or over-complicated.
Juri tries to commit suicide for the third time. A former pianist, she now refuses to play and hates her mother, once a famous pianist. All Juri wants is to die, out of this life with untrustworthy people and nothing to live for. Her Aunt, the only good person in her life, is a nun, who works with death row inmates, trying to bring a bit of joy into their dreary lives while they went for the sentence to be carried out. She asks Juri to come speak with one of the inmates.
Unsurprisingly, Juri does not want to do so, but, given that she can do that or spend time in a mental institution, she agrees. Speaking with Yuu, a convicted murderer doomed to die, she opens up and is able to overcome her own mental blocks. She finds beauty in the world and connection. Though they come from completely opposite backgrounds (her: wealthy; him: a poor orphan, who had to prostitute himself), they have a lot in common and bond slowly. Their story is touching and tragic. Oh, the feels that I did not expect!
The writing, or at least the translation, was much stronger than usual, perhaps due to the fact that this is an adaptation of a novel. The art works quite well with the story, very shadowy. The conclusion does run a bit to the cheesy side, but everything else was perfect. Dark, emotional, and full of feels.
The next Sadie Hawkins Sunday book will be Modelland by Tyra Banks. Thanks for that, Stephanie Sinclair! :-p
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