Keiko has been working at the same convenience store for 18 years. After coming across the store during a university internship, what was supposed to help her pay her student lifestyle suddenly became a more permanent job. This momentarily gets disrupted when an incel tries to manipulate her into colluding against society together. Keiko finds her voice again and stands up for herself and for what makes her feel useful.
It’s not stated outright but it will be apparent to most readers that Keiko is neurodivergent. She shares her background with the reader in order to set up present reality of her convenience store identity. People have been trying to “cure” her since she was little and she’s had to not be herself in order to succeed. She doesn’t have to do this at the convenience. She finds that she’s comfortable and successful working in the store.
What struck me was the poignant idea that sometimes society tries to force people to follow the path we decide for individuals: career, marriage, and children. Any divergence from the plans makes people either ostracize you or they work harder to force you back into compliance.
This is a great book club read because it’s not difficult to read and there’s a lot of details to discuss.