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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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10/24/2006 Archived Entry: "Book review: Don't Worry Mama"

Don't Worry Mama
By Narise Konohara
Illustrations by Yuki Shimizu
Published by the Juné Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.

Review by Ginger Mayerson

"Don't Worry Mama" is one of those two guys get stranded somewhere and, for whatever collection of reasons, start having sex with each other kind of stories. The difference with this story is that only one of the guys is hot; the other is grotesque, repulsive and has a terrible personality. A lot of the story centers around how the hot gay guy, Yuchi, falls in love with his disgusting mama's boy boss, Imakura, who is so changed by the ordeal and the sex that he becomes more lovable, or at least less grotesque and repulsive.

Um, this is not a rape story, but it's not a gentle story either. It reminded me a little of "Lord of the Flies," and, as I'd just been watching "Apocalypse Now" I kept wondering what Colonel Kurtz and Yuichi would have done in the same situation. I'm pretty sure that if Colonel Kurtz ended up stranded on an island with Imakura, he would have roasted and eaten him at the first sign of peckishness.

I am somewhat disconcerted that Narise Konohara also wrote the lovely novel "Cold Sleep" because "Don't Worry Mama" is so different from that. However, her stories, "Class Reunion" and "The One I Love," are in a similar vein as "Don't Worry Mama," but they are much gentler stories about a mama's boy who is "rescued" by a real gay man. I also thought the characters in those stories were more attractive. Except for Yuichi's much put-upon younger brother, I couldn't work up much sympathy for any of the characters in "Don't Worry Mama." This is a rather strange love story where the lovers' motives and actions are so... um... odd, it kept jolting me out of the story. (Further diminishing my enjoyment of this story was my own personal quirk: if a love interest ever said to me "Oh, you look so cute when you're crying" I would run very fast in the other direction. What can I tell ya? Paleo-feminism dies hard in a woman my age.) There's a lot of nice writing and some nicely written, if somewhat painful sounding, sex scenes, but I could never relax enough with the characters and their situation to really enjoy them.

This book is well made and has lots of nice illustrations. The translation and editing are first-rate as well. Not my cup of tea, but for $8.95 it's worth giving a whirl if you even suspect you might like this kind of story.

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