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I Want to Kick You in the Back
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I Want to Kick You in the Back

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3.29  ·  Rating details ·  472 ratings  ·  54 reviews
A winner of Japan's prestigious Aktugawa Prize for rising literary talent, "I Want to Kick You in the Back" follows Hatsu, who is in her first year of high school and having a hard time fitting in with her classmates. She meets Ninagawa, an outcast who is obsessed with a model/pop idol but who has no interest in the actual girls around him. Gradually, Hatsu develops an imp ...more
Hardcover, 199 pages
Published April 14th 2015 by One Peace Books (first published August 2003)
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Average rating 3.29  · 
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G.G.
Although I read the Japanese original soon after Wataya won the Akutagawa Prize—Japan’s most prestigious literary award for promising writers—with this novella in 2003, I didn’t recall much more than that it was a convincing depiction of high school life: the alienation, the cliques, the teachers, the solipsistic smallness of life. One example:
“You always try hard during practice, Hasegawa, so you’re sure to improve with time.”
He [the teacher] said it with such confidence, that despite myself, he gotexample:
“You
...more
Laura D
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Convincing depiction of the isolation, alienation and friend group of high school life. I can totally relate to the desire to kick someone in the back
Mèo lười
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mình đọc cuốn này từ những năm cấp 3, những năm tháng chẳng lấy làm vui vẻ với mình. Mình đọc nó rồi tự nhủ, ồ hóa ra cũng có vài người giống mình. Tự kỉ nè, tự bỏ rơi nhân loại nè.
Thành thử ra mình cho nó 5 sao.
Vì nó giống mình.
Phakin
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
คนเขียนไดรางวัล Akutagawa Prize จากเลมนีตอนอายุแค 19 ปี (ไดปีเดียวกับ Snake and Earrings ของฮิโตมิ คะเนฮะระ) เลยลองซือมาอานดู ปรากฏวาเปนหนังสือทีประหลาดมากๆ

พลอตวาดวยความสัมพันธระหวางเดก ม.ปลาย สองคน คนหนึงเปนหญิงขีเหงาทีชอบปลีกตัวจากหมูเพือนและ(พยายาม)ใหคากับความสัมพันธเฉพาะทีตัวเองอยากจะให กับอีกคนเปนชายทีชีวิตขับเคลือนไปดวยความคลังไคลตอนางแบบหญิงคนหนึงเทานัน ความสัมพันธประหลาดเริมตนจริงๆ จังๆ เมือฝายหลังรูวาฝายแรกเคยพบและพูดคุยดาราหญิงคนนันตัวเปนๆ มาแลว ขณะทีตัวเองยังไมเคย

ทีวาประห
...more
Suzanne
Jul 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
If you'd like to look into the mind of a Japanese teenager, this would be a great place to start. Wataya wrote this novel, her second, as a university student, and you can tell. The intense introspection and the Every Little Thing Means Something mentality are hallmarks of being a young adult, and her use of metaphors -- often quite charming and/or striking -- is something that a lot of older writers give up on. In the United States, this could probably pass as a YA novel. Think of it as a Japan ...more
kagami
この本を読むこと自体が楽しかったし、内容も興味深いと思ったが、なんであの背中をそんなに蹴りたくなる、その動機というか、考え方が分からない。やっぱり日本の本にはよくそういう、私みたいな外人に理解しきれない、ちょっと変なところがあったりするよね。
I liked the book, but I couldn't understand the desire to kick that back. I was reminded of how there always seems to be some weird and not-quite-understandable element in most Japanese books I've come across. I did enjoy reading it though, especially the honest, no-nonsense style, and the chance of a sneak peek into the life of Japanese high-school students.
Scott
Jul 06, 2017 rated it liked it
This was good, but I'll probably have forgotten a lot of it in a month. I like that she was able to portray an unusual but convincing sort of affection between people who are drawn to but don't necessarily like one another. It's nice to be reminded that teenagers can be written to have nuanced relationships amongst all the Bella Swan crap that's out there.

Chris says there are translation issues, and I choose to believe him because this thing doesn't read very well at all. There are a
...more
Istvan Zoltan
This is a very pleasant, quick read. It is well paced, the characters have their likable, funny as well as their awkward sides. It takes you back to late elementary school/early school: the insecurity, lack of confidence, the envy when you see your friends finding their identity and way ahead, worries about others' opinions while also trying to berate them so you don't care about their opinions... The book deals with all this but the tone and storytelling is quite charming and has a light air. I ...more
Chris
Jun 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: japanese-fiction
This is a zero-star translation of a five-star book. To say I'm disappointed is an understatement. The style in the translation is inconsistent and there are awkward grammatical structures and spelling errors. The translator also managed to make each character completely two-dimensional. Very impressive.

Struck by lightening? Really?

I skimmed the original Japanese text, which is much more engaging. The characters are more believable and pathetic. I hope Wataya considers us
...more
Erikia
Dec 21, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
L’appel du pied est un roman qui me faisait envie car je pensais que j’allais passer un agréable moment de détente mais au contraire j’en ressors plutôt frustré avec cette lecture. J’ai choisi cette lecture pour mon challenge « Raconte- moi l’Asie » et je ne commence pas très bien ce challenge. Le synopsis laisse présager une histoire anodine sur la vie lycéenne d’Hasegawa mais on se retrouve avec une histoire dérangeante. J’ai tout d’abord plutôt aimé le début du livre, ce qui m’a plus c’est su ...more
Shadofu
3,5 rounded up to 4.

I read this book once, in French, when I was in high school (so years ago) and I remember I found "it was kinda weird but I liked it". Now that I've read it again in Japanese... I still agree with my younger self.

Most of all, I really liked the writing. Wataya Risa was 19 when she got the Akutagawa Prize (the most prestigious Japanese literary prize) for this book, and man, can she write. I wish I could write half as well at my age! Her style is simple, easy
...more
cọng rơm
Sep 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to cọng rơm by: HH
tựa đề sách được dịch một cách e lệ rừng rú khiến mình cảm thấy tò mò zô độ o.o
truyện thì tươi tắn mát lành, với những nỗi buồn xù xì của cái tủi trẻ trung nổi loạn đầy nhại cảm, muốn thế zới cúc đi nhưng lại không ngừng khác khao thế zới
có lẽ mình cũng từng trải qua một tủi thíu nin mơ hồ và (tưởng chừng) khắc nghiệt như zại, nên lòng bỗng bâng khuâng thương mến lạ kỳ :P
cảm ơn bạn hắc hắc đã zới thịu sách, hẹc hẹc
Francisco Alfaro Labbé
Jul 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Hermosa y triste realidad de una adolescente no adaptada que encuentra en el chico más raro de la clase una especie de ancla que la arrastra hacia su propia sexualidad, representada solo en el hecho de querer hacerle daño al punto de, incluso, darle una patada (o un par) en la espalda.
Trashpalace
Dec 06, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished, in, sep, 2007
Al primo anno di liceo, due 'esclusi' si ritrovano uniti in una non-storia di complicità ma anche di incomprensione.
Bellissimo lo stile di scrittura, malinconico e pacato.
Quang
Apr 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
đam mê.

bị đẩy ra bên lề cuộc sống.

người thừa.

người thừa.
L
I thought the first half was very interesting. This book deals with the themes of loneliness and being secluded from others (specifically in high school). It deals with two characters, the main character and her interaction with a boy. It begins with them being the only ones that don't have a group in science class, both because neither of them have any friends to group together with and from there they start interacting more...
It's definitely not your typical outcasts meet-each other kind
...more
John Lineberger
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the most refreshing YA novel I've read in six or seven years. Although the English translation has some grammar and spelling issues, the characters come alive vividly. The real strong suit of this novella is the psychological depth Wataya achieves in these struggling teenagers. The plot is often strange, with lots of quirky dark humor that I've found to be a trend in the handful of Japanese literature I've read. To think that the author was only 19 when she wrote this is amazing, and yet ...more
Zizeloni
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
readathon17 book 50: a book taking place somewhere you would like to live (japaaan)

First I noticed the awesome cover. Then I saw it was a japanese author and she won the famous japanese award (you know, the one mentioned in 1Q84 :) )
So I bought it!
It is a novella about a teenage girl, a loner, who starts hanging out with another loner boy in high-school, who is totally obsessed with a top-model.
It was a nice book, it had some very good parts where the girl is wondering
...more
ray-chel ♥
I had a hard time summarizing this book. It's useless but poignant it's funny but also creepy at the same time. This is my first book from this author, but I was taken aback at how bright and colorful the descriptions were in her novel. I don't quite know how to summarize my feelings about this book as a whole. It's short, but rightly so! I don't think that I could read this type of book as a 400-page tome. I would say if you like weird, awkward, touching, coming of age, but also questionable re ...more
Sae-chan
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: japanese-writers
This intriguing little book raised so many different reactions in my heart and my body. I still wonder how....

Most people are in the mainstream of society. So few people are on the fringe. But even less are the people in-between. If we master the art to be in-between, we could really enjoy this world in a wider spectrum. Anyway, I don't think that this is what the book is about. I still wonder what....
Bronwen Griffiths
Nov 02, 2017 rated it liked it
A novella about the relationship between a teenage girl and a boy in her class - both of whom are outsiders. I liked how Wataya described their relationship - the awkwardness, friendship and tenderness. I have only given it three stars - although I considered giving it four - as it's a slight book - not just in length but in depth. Perhaps I might have given it four stars if I had been a younger reader.
nightlockbound
Oct 08, 2018 rated it liked it
As with most Japanese-translated books I read, this book is weird in its own little ways... Nevertheless, there's quite a bit of hidden subtext that I liked because it explored the characters' psycho-emotional states in a very real manner. Kudos to that! It kind of sucked that the story ended this abruptly though, would've loved to see whatever happened to Hatsu and Ninagawa after the concert.
Irene Polini
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strano, molto strano: soprattutto perché il titolo non ha niente a che fare con la storia. Il titolo in inglese (tradotto dal giapponese) è più calzante: la scrittura procede (anche se ci sono dei refusi) e in mezza giornata lo si è letto. Lascia molte riflessione sulla solitudine
Carola
3.5 stars

Not the most fantastic book ever and I didn't care about the plot itself, but I don't think that's the point with this book anyway. Wataya did a pretty good job describing high school outsiders, and especially Hatsu was a pretty interesting (albeit slightly infuriating) character imho.
Senka
Jun 27, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
今まで日本語で読んだ本の中で一番読みやすかったと思います。
話は面白いとは言えないが、主人公の感情を表している書き方がよかったと思います。
しかし、「比較」が多すぎて、読んでいた時「ここに比較なんかいらない」と思った時がしばしばでした。まあ、綿矢様がこの本を書いた時若かったのであまり悪く言いたくないのです。
Ririn
what a weird little book o.O
Jaap
Jan 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
An enjoyable novella about adolescent life, isolation and self-discovery. Not sure I understood the feelings involved, but then again, isn't that the whole idea of being an adolescent?
C.
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Đây là mình những năm cấp ba. Miêu tả ngắn gọn thì gọi là "khó hòa nhập". Đọc cuốn này thấy đồng cảm với bạn nữ chính vô cùng :)))
Betty
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very quick read, the narrating style reminded me a lot of the Catcher in the rye. I wasnt expecting much given the poor ratings for the English translation, but I was pleasantly surprised. ...more
Stephen Douglas Rowland
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Risa Wataya wrote this short novel when she was 19 years old, and took home the Akutagawa Prize for her effort, making her the youngest ever recipient. And she definitely deserved it. It's a unique, original work that is both hilarious and filled with painful truths. Whoever edited this, however, should be shot. Heinous typos and grammatical errors abound. SHAME. Read it anyway.
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Risa Wataya (綿矢 りさ, born February 1, 1984) is a female Japanese novelist from Kyoto.

Wataya graduated from Murasakino High School in Kyoto.
Her first novella, Install, written when she was 17, was awarded the 38th Bungei Prize. She graduated from Waseda University in Tokyo. Her thesis focused o
...more
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