I’m not going to lie here. When I saw the title of this volume on Feel Young’s Twitter feed, I rolled my eyes so hard, I’m pretty sure I sprained something. Oh, the girls, they are so crazy! They have all these feelings! They are lunatics who need to be reined in lest they—gasp—enjoy their lives however they wish without sternly judging eyes following them wherever they go! And I know it’s a Japanese person using an English word in a Japanese context, but the word “crazy” itself has just got to go. It trivializes and stigmatizes mental illness, and there’s just no reason for using it. There’s always a more appropriate word for what you’re trying to say. In the case of this title, that word would probably be “wacky”. Or maybe “over-the-top”. Both of these are a lot more descriptive of the girl(s) in question and don’t inadvertently point a finger at mental illness. Seriously, friends, let’s all think about the words we use (says the woman whose job is to literally think about the words she uses).
Despite my exasperation with the title, though, the cover was strangely compelling (those eyes! the freckles!! the thread glued to the painting like space hair!) when I saw it at the bookstore, and I tend to enjoy the stuff in Feel Young, so I figured I’d give it a try. Friends, I’m pleased to report I have no regrets. The scare quotes around “crazy” make the title more of a nudge-nudge-wink-wink nod to all the stereotypes about women hiding in that well-worn trope than the scare-quote free version I saw on Twitter, and this selection of twelve rather short stories is far from the heartbreak and manic pixie dream girl style that I was expecting. (more…)