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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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10/24/2006 Archived Entry: "Book review: The Man Who Doesn't Take Off His Clothes, vol. 1"

The Man Who Doesn't Take Off His Clothes, vol. 1
By Narise Konohara
Illustrations by Yuki Shimizu
Published by the Juné Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.

Review by Ginger Mayerson

Wherein
I write of many things,
a few of them even
related to this novel.

Huge Plot Spoilers Ahead

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Proceed

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Naise Konohara wrote a very good yaoi novel called "Cold Sleep" and I now believe it's a very good novel because there's no sex in it. Really. I really liked the first three quarters of "The Man Who Doesn't Take Off His Clothes, vol. 1," but the last quarter just ruined it for me. I'm a huge fan of Digital Manga's the Juné Imprint and want them to keep publishing yaoi and shonen-ai novels because it's a fascinating genre American publishing simply does not have and I feel they're certainly doing us all a favor publishing these novels, but we all might look back in 20 years and realize Juné was actually doing some ground-breaking service to both cultures by publishing the novels. However, I simply cannot help but feel that I'd be ever so much happier if they could publish work that is more like "Cold Sleep" and "Only the Ring Finger Knows" novels, and I'm actually sitting here thinking I should just delete this review, put on "Apocalypse Now" back on, and commune with Colonel Kurtz for the rest of the evening because I really don't want to, um, be less than, ah, enthusiastic about "The Man Who Doesn't Take Off His Clothes, vol. 1," but I'm having a helluva time getting over the last part of the book. But I am a serious person, so I will say seriously that I enjoyed everything in this book right up to page 176, and brothers and sisters, you might really like the action after page 176: I'm not here to judge you, I'm just here to give my honest opinion of a title from a publisher I hold in great esteem. (And it's breaking my heart. Hold me, Colonel Kurtz, just hold me.)

In "The Man Who Doesn't Take Off His Clothes, vol. 1," it's a good story, good characters, good writing, but went south for me about ten pages just before the sex scene, which has to be one of the least romantic or sexy sex scenes I've ever read. This sex scene ties for non-sexiness with the sex scenes in her other novel "Don't Worry Mama." I'm beginning to wonder if Ms. Konohara has something against anal sex, because her descriptions were a huge turn-off for me.

Maybe it's cultural, maybe it's my age, but the last quarter of this novel was just not my cup of yaoi. Oh, and in closing, here's a Helpful Hint from a Paleo-Feminist: if the creepy bartender puts a date rape drug in your date's drink, take your date to the hospital to get his or her stomach pumped, and not into the creepy room at the back of the creepy bar for creepy sex. Okay? Your karma will thank you. End of Sermon.

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