Thursday, October 24, 2013

Daisuki. (Ren'Ai Rensai #1)

I've been wanting to read Daisuki for quite a while now. I kept putting it off because I went through a spell of trying to only read wholesome and/or religious books. I'm Mormon, an adult convert, trying to do things "by The Book", but that hasn't worked out so well for me. I still love The Church, but I also still love reading a naughty book every once in a while, too. In fact, I've decided to try and read more. Not out of some sort of rebellion, it's just what I'm in the mood for lately, no pun intended

Anyways, Daisuki is the first book I can recall reading where the main characters are lesbians. I've seen movies that focus on lesbian couples and have always enjoyed them, so why not books too? I love reading about the dynamics of female friendships, relationships take it to a whole other level. This was a very interesting read for me. I loved this book. Both main characters, Reina and Aiko, I just loved them. I wish I knew them in real life. I wish they'd turn this book into a movie. Not a porn, but a movie. 

This book offered way more than sex. I think the term used on Amazon "erotic romance" describes it better than erotica. Erotica- to me- suggests there's maybe not much romance and the point of the reader reading the book is for the sex. This book was so beyond that. It certainly had romance. It had heart. It was sweet and tender and sometimes very serious. I learned a lot about Japanese society and it's view of gays and lesbians and Japan's perception of female stereotypes and our roles in the workplace and home. Gender identity and gender roles play a big part in Daisuki. Here's an excerpt from the book:
"Maybe, after so many years of societal pressure and conditioning, Reina lost touch with her own identity. Is that sort of thing even possible? She worked, she wore business suits, she smoked and drank beer at dinner, and she loved nothing more than brandishing a fake phallus and dominating feminine women. But she didn't used to define herself by those things. When did everything change?"
Reina towards the end of the book definitely has an identity crisis. I just really felt for Reina, even though I have not had the same identity crisis as Reina, I think everyone can relate in some way to trying to fit themselves in the perfect mold of what they should be according to societal norms. There's always that cliche of how one should act or what they should like. Look, I'm having my own mini-identity crisis right now. I am Mormon and reviewing a freaking book that's not only erotic, but lesbian.

Another thing this book explores are difficulties in relationships. Aiko and Reina have a few things that cause stress in their relationship. One would be Reina's lack of verbally relating to Aiko that she loves her. Aiko would also like to- at least- symbolically get married. However, Reina doesn't feel exactly the same. We later find out that has more to do with Reina personally and less to do with how she feels about Aiko. To add even more confusion to their relationship, both Reina and Aiko have side-lovers that they see and will sometimes bring women into their bed to enjoy together. Another stress factor is that neither of their families accept their relationship- nor take them seriously as a couple- even though they've been living together for almost 20 years.

Like I said, I loved this book. As soon as I was done reading it, I bought the next one Hatsukoi. I am giving Daisuki 5 out of 5 stars. I have a feeling this is going to become one of my favorite series. I would recommend this book to anyone. It had everything I enjoy in a book. It was based in a foreign country, it explored feminist topics and gender roles, I learned stuff, and it was romantic, sweet, and fun.

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