My Brother’s Husband Got Me Where I Live

Is everyone here familiar with the NPR Book Concierge? The most magical and glorious of end-of-year book lists? And I say that as someone who loves end-of-year book lists and never, ever tires of reading through them. The NPR Book Concierge is the The Millions Book Preview of end-of-year book lists. I get so many book recs from it that it is a Problem. Among them this past year was Gengoroh Tagame’s My Brother’s Husband.

My Brother's Husband

It’s about a guy called Yaichi who lives in Tokyo with his daughter, Kana. But their lives change when a large, bearded, lumberjacklike Canadian called Mike shows up at their door, claiming that he is the widow of Yaichi’s recently deceased twin brother, Ryoji. Though Kana falls for Mike immediately, Yaichi struggles with his distaste for homosexuality and his initial disinterest in having a relationship with Mike.

I fell for this book at the immediate point that Yaichi’s delightful-as-hell kid falls for Mike. Her reasoning is that Mike’s from Canada, which sounds like her name, Kana. What an adorable angel — and I say that as someone who hates kidfic (usually) and resents the hell out of adorable moppets on most TV shows in which they appear. But Kana’s easy affection for Mike helps to show Yaichi a path towards having a relationship with his brother-in-law, and even reconsidering the relationship he had (and the one he could have had) with his brother. A grudging respect forms!

What I’m saying is, 2017 was garbage, and maybe your 2018 hasn’t started out perfectly quite yet. (Mine hasn’t because my neck is broken GOD DAMN IT.) If you want something to read that is primarily fluff with moments of sadness mixed in because for God’s sake Ryoji is dead, My Brother’s Husband (vol 1) awaits you.

And if I may slightly brag for a moment here, I find manga extremely intimidating, and My Brother’s Husband was perfectly readable even for me. It was a bit of an adjustment to train my brain to read the book right-to-left, but I MANAGED IT. What I’m saying is that maybe 2018 would be a good year for me to get into manga, as I have experienced such early success. N’est-ce pas?

If you’re a manga enthusiast, give me some recs! What are some good titles for manga beginners?