Book Review: 『わたし、定時で帰ります』by Kaeruko Akeno

わたし、定時で帰ります。(わたし ていじでかえります
Title: わたし、定時で帰ります。(わたし ていじでかえります
First published: 2018
Published: 2019
Format: Bunko
Series Number: 1
Page Count: 360
絶対に定時で帰ると心に決めている会社員の東山結衣。非難されることもあるが、彼女にはどうしても残業したくない理由があった。仕事中毒の元婚約者、風邪をひいても休まない同僚、すぐに辞めると言い出す新人…。様々な社員と格闘しながら自分を貫く彼女だが、無茶な仕事を振って部下を潰すと噂のブラック上司が現れて!?働き方に悩むすべての会社員必読必涙の、全く新しいお仕事小説!

This novel has been adapted into a TV drama featuring Yuriko Yoshitaka. It started airing in April this year (2019).

Setting

As the title suggests, this novel is a story about work and workplace. The protagonist is Yui Higashiyama, she is 32 years old and works for a web company. She is known for always leaving her work at six while most of her co-workers work after hours. Things get upset when a new boss comes in Yui’s team.

Review

I absolutely loved this novel, it is without a doubt one of my favourite reads of the year! 

If you like novels about working life or want to get insights into a Japanese working place and working style, this novel seems perfect. I have never worked in Japan or in a Japanese company, so it is hard to tell if what the novel depicts is close to reality. But I enjoyed reading it, I think that I did learn a lot of things thanks to it, and it is in any case very easy to relate to the story and the characters.

What I really loved in this novel is that, while I do embrace the protagonist’s combat (no working after hours!), I also learned to understand everyone’s perspective. The author creates several characters who all have their reasons for working after hours, and it was very instructive to get to “know” these people.

Another thing that I liked with 『わたし、定時で帰ります』 is that I felt really involved in the story. What some characters said made me mad, and I wanted to jump into the story to tell them what I think, haha. I sometimes felt full of energy, sometimes discouraged or sad, but the novel is never depressing. It keeps its light/good humored tone all along, and it was a very enjoyable read!

As for the Japanese level, I struggled when there were discussions about some work related aspects, but the novel is essentially about the relations between co-workers which was not very difficult to read. All in all, I found it a little more difficult than most of the mystery novels that I usually read, but still okay.