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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TCNJ chapter.

Have you ever read a book where the main character is so excruciatingly relatable? That’s how I felt when I first read Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata.

This may be another book that I have found through BookTok (I totally found it through BookTok), and I’m really happy that I found out about this book!

This book had me hooked from the moment I started reading it, and I actually finished it all in one day. In all honesty, it is a pretty short read (a little over 160 pages), and the text isn’t the same size as it is found in other books. This is also the first time I decided to annotate a book, so it is safe to say that this book really spoke to me!

The book follows the main character Keiko Furukura. While growing up, she didn’t make any friends in school, and would occasionally cause problems at school (which I won’t go into), but wasn’t picked on or bullied. She simply just didn’t fit in with her other peers.

Her not fitting while at school followed her to her adult life, where she found herself working at a convenience store for 18 years, from when she was 18 to 36 years old. She has no desire to leave this job of hers, even though her family does not understand why and wants her to work somewhere else. When she first started the job, she had to read a manual as to how to be a store worker, and she says that she doesn’t know how to be a normal person outside of that manual.

At work, she has generally picked up the mannerisms and speech of her fellow coworkers. She thinks that she also infects people with how she speaks, too, and she also says “Infecting each other is how we maintain ourselves as human is what I think.” (26) I totally agree with her on this.

Furukura has also never had a boyfriend before and has never really had an interest in anyone while growing up. At a hangout with her friends and their husbands, they insist that they’ll find her a partner, even though she never asked them to do so. Reading this part made me angry because one of her friend’s husband says “You can’t go on like this, and deep down you must be getting desperate, no?” (79) Then he gets upset when she wants him to explain why he thinks that way.

There are obviously more things that happen throughout the book, but I won’t spoil all of it. The book had me hooked, though, as I wanted to read about her life and see if she would ever end up changing work careers and quitting her job as a convenience store woman (did you see what I did there?).

I really found Keiko Furukura relatable while reading. This is mainly because she is considered weird and an outsider for not following everyone else in the world (not being married, working the same job for multiple years, etc). She doesn’t fit in. However, she’s content with not fitting in. She doesn’t find any problems with not fitting in with others. She’s content doing her own thing.

In some way, I relate to this because there have been times growing up when I feel like I don’t fit in. Sometimes I still feel that way, but I’ve come to terms with feeling like that, and I’m content with not fitting in with others. If you feel like you’ve never fit in before, this book will definitely resonate with you.

This book has made me more aware that it’s totally okay to not fit in. Everyone is doing their own thing in life, and you shouldn’t force yourself to try and do what everyone else is doing. If you like what you’re doing, then keep on doing it, and don’t stop just because someone disagrees with how you’re living your life.

I recommend this book to anyone who has been considered an outcast in life. I truly love this book and want to read more of Sayaka Murata’s books in the future.

Jenna is a Junior at TCNJ and is a Journalism/Professional Writing and Communication Studies Major. She goes by She/They pronouns. Their hobbies consist of playing the violin, playing the guitar, writing, and reading.