Book review: 『あのころ』by Momoko Sakura

あのころ
Title: あのころ
First published: 1996
Published: 2004
Format: Bunko
Page Count: 213
てきやの話術につられて買ってしまった「まほうカード」のからくり。ガラクタの処方に困り果てた家庭訪問の思い出。「まる子」だったあの頃をふりかえる、爆笑と郷愁のエッセイシリーズ第1弾。

『あのころ』is the first title in a series of three books about Momoko Sakura’s childhood. The other two books are 『まる子だった』and 『ももこの話』. The book contains 15 short episodes, all accompanied by an illustration.

Review

I love reading Momoko Sakura’s recollection of her childhood. The way she talks about it makes her stories extremely heart-warming, relatable and funny.

I think that I already wrote this in my review of 『まる子だった』, but I am surprised by how similar children’s everyday life can be across the world. I can relate to so many episodes described by Momoko Sakura, even though I grew up in France. Waiting until the last days of the holidays before starting your homework, struggling to learn how to ride a bike when everyone else is doing fine, pestering your parents to get some money and buy useless things you immediately regret… there are so many relatable episodes in there! I remember that I hated gymnastics at school, and the marathon episode reminded me of the dreaded gymnastics competition we had in primary school.

Overall, the tone is mostly light and funny, but there are some moments that I found a little sad. Adults (parents and teachers) can sometimes say harsh things or have an attitude that will wound children, even if they didn’t mean to. But even these unhappy moments become cherished memories. The whole book feels very nostalgic.

I only have positive things to say about 『あのころ』, and I heartily recommend it. With its short chapters and everyday life vocabulary, it is also a perfect reading material for Japanese learners.

Other books in this series:
まる子だった (まるこだった)2