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A Reader of Fictions: Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #3: Our Happy Hours

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #3: Our Happy Hours

Watashitachi no Shiawase na Jikan
Alternate Title: Our Happy Hours

Author: Gong Ji-young
Illustrators: Sahara Mizu, Sumomo Yumeka
Volumes: 1
Source: Mangafox
Chosen by: Lynn

Description from Goodreads:
"I have something I don't want to lose"

"So much so that these terrible feelings have grown."

A pianist who attempted suicide 3 times, Juri, is taken to help her aunt at a prison where murderers who killed indiscriminately are sentenced to death. There, she meets a man named Yuu who took the lives of 3 people. A mother's antagonism--a brother's death... Together they embrace the violent rebellion in their hearts caused by the large, deep scars they carry. However, before long, they both embrace an earnest hope in their hearts. "I want to live"...

An adaptation of novel by South Korea's most popular female novelist, Gong Ji-Young.

You guys, I am so excited that Lynn put some manhwa on my to-read list for Sadie Hawkins Sunday. I love reading manga and manhwa, but I do not do it enough, because I mostly live from review copy to review copy. Also, this is totally a story I probably would have skipped left to my own devices, both because I'm not a fan of the cover art and because it sounds so depressing, and I'm still getting used to the idea I love depressing stories. Thanks, Lynn, for getting me to read something out of the usual, especially since I loved it!

Manhwa, for those who do not know, is the Korean equivalent of manga. Both manga and manhwa have a reputation for being melodramatic and crazy, which is perhaps rightly earned. I expected Our Happy Hours to fall into that category, but it is surprisingly melodrama-free. The subject is treated with the appropriate gravity, but nothing needless is added to up the emotional ante unnecessarily. The plot's not drawn out or over-complicated.

Juri tries to commit suicide for the third time. A former pianist, she now refuses to play and hates her mother, once a famous pianist. All Juri wants is to die, out of this life with untrustworthy people and nothing to live for. Her Aunt, the only good person in her life, is a nun, who works with death row inmates, trying to bring a bit of joy into their dreary lives while they went for the sentence to be carried out. She asks Juri to come speak with one of the inmates.

Unsurprisingly, Juri does not want to do so, but, given that she can do that or spend time in a mental institution, she agrees. Speaking with Yuu, a convicted murderer doomed to die, she opens up and is able to overcome her own mental blocks. She finds beauty in the world and connection. Though they come from completely opposite backgrounds (her: wealthy; him: a poor orphan, who had to prostitute himself), they have a lot in common and bond slowly. Their story is touching and tragic. Oh, the feels that I did not expect!

The writing, or at least the translation, was much stronger than usual, perhaps due to the fact that this is an adaptation of a novel. The art works quite well with the story, very shadowy. The conclusion does run a bit to the cheesy side, but everything else was perfect. Dark, emotional, and full of feels.

Rating: 4.5/5

Up Next:
The next Sadie Hawkins Sunday book will be Modelland by Tyra Banks. Thanks for that, Stephanie Sinclair! :-p

Want to tell me what to read? Fill out THIS FORM with a book suggestion! For more details, check this post.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this manga, and I'm glad (but unsurprised) that you did too. I didn't even know you read manga, I'll have to make some recs...

January 20, 2013 at 8:24 PM  
Blogger Jenni said...

Hey! What about my pick, I want you to read my pick!

I am not one for this type of novel but I have to say that I love how the meme has gotten you reading some books that you wouldn't have had the pleasure of reading otherwise! It's so easy to get caught up in the schedule which is no fun. Great review, this sounds pretty drab with the suicide attempts and jail and all.

January 21, 2013 at 9:26 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Oh yay! I hope you do. :-D

January 22, 2013 at 4:23 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I totally will! Eventually! When the randomness gods smile on it.

Ha, yes, I love when I branch out a little!

January 22, 2013 at 4:24 PM  
Blogger Lynn K. said...

I thought I had already commented on this! (it was all in my mind... o__o)

So glad you enjoyed this one! "Dark, emotional, and full of feels." <-- perfect description. :D

On the topic of the writing, the fact that this manga is an adaption was probably one of the reasons, but this was also scanlated by Storm in Heaven, sadly closed down but their work was always quality.

February 7, 2013 at 4:19 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Well, I'm glad you found it after all!

Oh! I don't know much about scanlaters. I heard it can be good to go directly to their sites, but I don't know who they are. :/

February 7, 2013 at 8:25 AM  
Blogger Lynn K. said...

There's a directory of sorts called 'Baka-Updates Manga'. You can check out which series is done by which group and there are links there.

February 8, 2013 at 1:43 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

good to know!

February 8, 2013 at 10:30 AM  

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