Reviews

Heaven by Mieko Kawakami

rubygatenby's review against another edition

Go to review page

dark emotional reflective sad fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

n4rii's review against another edition

Go to review page

dark emotional inspiring sad tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? N/A
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0

lynnhowls's review against another edition

Go to review page

3.0

I feel like I was constantly waiting for something more. More depth more connection more…meaning or sense of growth or deterioration even. Just more. Everything that happened was terrible but beyond that there wasn’t really much else to extract from it which I think is a little ironic (or not if the author’s intent was to prove Momose’s nihilistic perspective right). Either way it didn’t do much for me. One positive is the relationship between the MC and his mom which I thought was genuine and heartfelt even though it was not an openly affectionate or emotional display of love. 

sarahae_'s review against another edition

Go to review page

dark emotional hopeful reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? N/A
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

jovanas_cloud's review

Go to review page

dark emotional reflective sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

 It was underwhelming and anticlimactic.

I feel Kojima is the biggest contributor to the things I didn't like in the book. Her philosophy of Heaven, her philosophy on why they're being bullied, her reasons for being dirty, etc. To explain further, I don't understand what she wanted to say with renaming the painting because the actual name felt underwhelming. Her philosophy that they're being bullied because they're allowing it, is true to some extent because they never tried to fight back (which was easier for her to fix). The reason for being dirty, would be a great topic if she got some kind of help.
I understand she misses her dad but not performing basic hygiene like showering, washing clothes or just not being dirty in general because she's trying to be closer to her dad who is dirt poor and away working hard, IS A HUGE PROBLEM. It is such a serious problem that she even starts starving herself by the end of the book. I just refuse to believe that her mom didn't intervene in all like she must've smelled her at one point.
 

Another nonsensical thing I would like to bring up is the nihilistic conversation between the MC and Momose. First of all, not only is so dumb but the big words and theories these 14 year olds are using just seems very unlikely to happen. Like yeah it makes sense that a bully doesn't see why it's wrong to bully others but to have such big philosophy and so many points??

The culmination - I was just waiting for something big and dramatic to happen, it was always so close until it happened and the consequences were anticlimactic. 
All that happened at the Whale park with Ninomiya bullying them to strip and have sex, and after that Kojima never interacts with the MC again because he wants to get surgery for his eye?? Again she is clinging to the past and to what's comforting to her even if it makes her and other's miserable. She's disappointed because he's doing something to have an easier and more comfortable life when she could do the same more easily and cheaply too.


The last chapter was really underwhelming. I was hoping to get some more results with what happened at school, with Kojima, Ninomiya, and Momose, but got nothing of that sort. Just MC moving forward with his new sight.

I love bullying and trauma bonding works Kawakami somehow managed to get nothing done. The friendship felt rather shallow most of the time, except the gym scene 
where they were wiping MC's blood after he got kicked so hard in the head multiple times because he was a ball.
If only Kawakami went deeper and harder, this would've been much better. 

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

noella19's review against another edition

Go to review page

challenging dark emotional inspiring sad tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0

Unnerving, necessary and very beautiful.

Mieko really is something special 

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

emilio124finch's review against another edition

Go to review page

dark sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

emjennings's review against another edition

Go to review page

3.5

This stressed me out

cowgirlcrybaby's review against another edition

Go to review page

3.0

2.5-3⭐️ Who knew a book called Heaven could make me feel like absolute hell? This was really fucking sad. Even the more optimistic parts left me feeling absolutely empty. For such a short book this felt incredibly long - and I get that’s the point when dealing with such a bleak subject (childhood bullying) but damn!!! Some parts felt entirely unnecessary so was torn on how to rate this since I love Kawakami’s style so much and the overall plot/theme definitely held weight, but struggled to get through this. Read at your own risk - simply not for the faint of heart.

orangebinx's review against another edition

Go to review page

challenging dark reflective tense medium-paced

3.5

i really wanted to love this book - the writing style was great and the character development was well-paced, but i kept feeling like i wanted something more from the story. it felt like it was always on the edge of giving depth to the characters, but not quite reaching that point. the novel deals with many heavy themes, but a lot of character development and dialogue felt mostly surface-level to me. nonetheless, a very poignant and well-written story, but i felt that i couldn't connect with the characters as much as i wanted to.