Fjords Reviews

HOME | BOOK REVIEWS | I Think I Am in Friends-Love With You
I Think I Am in Friends-Love With You by Yumi Sakugawa
Share Button

 

Fjords Review, I Think I Am in Friends-Love With You by Yumi Sakugawa

Humor
I Think I Am in Friend-Love With You
by Yumi Sakugawa

Adams Media
128 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4405-7302-6

 

by Stephanie Nikolopoulos

 

Have you ever fallen in love with a friend? Not in a romantic way, of course. That might be weird. But maybe you have a super cool friend in your life. Someone who always knows about the best indie bands before anyone else has heard of them. Someone whose taste in art makes the world seem brighter. Someone whose Facebook profile you obsessively stalk. Someone you have a major crush on . . . a platonic sort of way. Maybe you’ve been wishing so badly you could tell your friend how much he or she means to you, but you’re worried the object of your affection may misunderstand your intentions as amorous

Until you discover Yumi Sakugawa I Think I Am in Friend-Love With You, a gift book for your nonsexual crush.

No genders are assigned in I Think I Am in Friend-Love With You, but it appears to be a case of opposites attract: a phallic-shaped, hairy Cyclops with bashful, pink cheeks that goes by the Twitter handle @MEvilGen1us, who might just as well go by the nickname One-Eyed Monster, confesses it is in “friend-love” with @YOUnicornPowerr, a hairless lemur-like creature who has a solid black oval, like a hole, for a face. In the past few years, the terms “bromance” and “girl crush” became as annoyingly grating as “yolo,” but Sakugawa’s notion of “friend-love” supersedes this, sounding genuine and mutual.

Instead of embracing the vulnerability of love, though, @MEvilGen1us immediately begins backpedaling, feeling the need to make it exceptionally, awkwardly clear that this is not romantic love—“Because that would be weird.” In fact, @MEvilGen1us is so adamant about driving this point home that only a few pages later, it says it wants to hang out “in a platonic way, of course.” The “of course” is particularly striking diction because rather than denoting an obvious truth, the phrase exaggerates the narrator’s intentions to make them appear to be a given truth. A few pages after that, it says, rather crudely, “And when we do hang out, I don’t want to swap saliva.”

Fjords Review, I Think I Am in Friends-Love With You by Yumi Sakugawa Our culture has become so romance– and sex-obsessed that expressing any other sort of love now must come with a caveat, with a “do not touch” sign. In the Ancient Greek, there are four distinct words for love: agápe means a “spiritual” type of love that is unconditional; éros means a passionate love that is “physical”; storgē means a familial-like “affection”; and philía, “mental” love, is a general type of love that speaks to loyalty, sharing, and friendship. Sakugawa’s main character aspires to philia, and @MEvilGen1us’ sentiments sound sincere and beautiful in such comments like: “Because what you find to be beautiful, funny and heartbreaking in this world is what I find to be beautiful, funny and heartbreaking in this world.” As the main character comes off as a tad too desperate and superficial–@MEvilGen1us’ implores @YOUnicornPowerr to “surprise me with pokes on Facebook”—while also exhibiting some immaturity in tactlessly rebuffing any advances that have not even occurred, one wonders how their relationship will evolve.

From S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders to Stephen Chboksy’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower and from Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club to Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, many books have tackled the complexities of friendship. Yumi Sakugawa I Think I Am in Friend-Love With You is a reminder of how sticky friend-love can be.

The repetitive insistence not to misunderstand the nature of the love suggests a range of possible motives: paranoia (did @YOUnicornPowerr hit on @MEvilGen1us at some point prior to this and make their relationship uncomfortable?), egotism (what makes @MEvilGen1us so sure @YOUnicornPowerr would jump to that conclusion and want to initiate something more than friendship?), and that “the lady doth protest too much,” as Shakespeare might quip (if anyone is pining, it’s @MEvilGen1us). Even if @YOUnicornPowerr has no inclination to think of @MEvilGen1us in that way, the constant, tactless rebuffing is hurtful because it suggests a lack of trust and understanding.

@MEvilGen1us envisions a friendship of posting Yoko Ono quotes to one another, swapping Malcolm Gladwell and Charles Burns books with each other, giving long hugs—“But never so long that it becomes a romantic thing”—and having “never-ending conversations” in cafes. Yet @MEvilGen1us’ desire comes across as desperate when the Cyclops says it will follow the lemur-like creature to its “favorite food truck,” will laugh at its humorless jokes, and immortalize their time together with “bad Photoshop drawings” because “I just so desperately want for you to think that I am this super-awesome person...” @MEvilGen1us, in turn, wants the object of its affection to bolster its self-esteem and reblog @MEvilGen1us’ Tumblr posts, “surprise me with pokes on Facebook,” and “randomly e-mail me weird blog links that remind you of me.”

Archives

Dear Everyone by Matt Shears

Magic City Gospel by Ashley M. Jones

Intimacy by Stanley Crawford

Lunch Poems by Deborah Kuan

The Best American Poetry 2016

One with the Tiger by Steven Church

Crosstalk by Connie Willis

The King of White Collar Boxing by David Lawrence

They Were Coming for Him by Berta Vias-Mahou

Verse for the Averse: a Review of Ben Lerner’s The Hatred of Poetry

That Other Me by Maha Gargash

Simone by Eduardo Lalo

Swimming by Karl Luntt

Ghost/ Landscape by Kristina Marie Darling and John Gallaher

Enchantment Lake by Margi Preus

Bad Light by Carlos Castán

Diaboliques by Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly

Staying Alive by Laura Sims

Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo

Fireflies by John Leland

Maze of Blood by Marly Youmans

Tender the Maker by Christina Hutchkins

Little Anodynes by Jon Pineda

Conjuror by Holly Sullivan McClure

Someone's Trying To Find You by Marc Augé

The Four Corners of Palermo by Giuseppe Di Piazza

Now You Have Many Legs to Stand On by Ashley-Elizabeth Best

The Knowledge by Robert Peake

The Darling by Lorraine M. López

How To Be Drawn by Terrance Hayes

Watershed Days: Adventures (A Little Thorny and Familiar) in the Home Range by Thorpe Moeckel

[INSERT] BOY by Danez Smith

Demigods on Speedway by Aurelie Sheehan

Find Me by Laura Van Den Berg

Singing Bones by Kate Schmitt

Knuckleball by Tom Pitts

Wandering Time by Luis Alberto Urrea

Teaching a Man to Unstick His Tail by Ralph Hamilton

Domenica Martinello: The Abject in the Interzones

Control Bird Alt Delete by Alexandria Peary

Twelve Clocks by Julie Sophia Paegle

Love You To a Pulp by C.S. DeWildt

Even Though I Don’t Miss You by Chelsea Martin

Women by Chloe Caldwell

Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis

ESSAY 2:12 A.M. by Kat Meads

Revising The Storm by Geffrey Davis

Quality Snacks by Andy Mozina

Nature's Confession by J.L. Morin

Midnight in Siberia by David Greene

Strings Attached by Diane Decillis

Down from the Mountaintop: From Belief to Belonging by Joshua Dolezal

The New Testament by Jericho Brown

You Don't Know Me by James Nolan

Phoning Home: Essays by Jacob M. Appel

Words We Might One Day Say by Holly Karapetkova

Murder by Danielle Collobert

Sorrow by Catherine Gammon

The Americans by David Roderick

Put Your Hands In by Chris Hosea

Third Wife by Jiri Klobouk

Box of Blue Horses by Lisa Graley

Review of Hilary Plum’s They Dragged Them Through the Streets

The Sleep of Reason by Morri Creech

The Hush before the Animals Attack by Carol Matos

Regina Derieva, In Memoriam by Frederick Smock

American Neolithic by Terence Hawkins

Review of The House Began to Pitch by Kelly Whiddon

Hill William by Scott McClanahan

Seamus Heaney Aloft

The Bounteous World by Frederick Smock

Review of The Tide King by Jen Michalski

Going Down by Chris Campanioni

Review of Empire in the Shade of a Grass Blade by Rob Cook

Review of The Day Judge Spencer Learned the Power of Metaphor

Review of The Figure of a Man Being Swallowed by a Fish

Review of Life Cycle Poems by Dena Rash Guzman

Review of Saint X by Kirk Nesset

Review of Jessica Treadway's Please Come Back to Me

Eve Asks by Christine Redman-Waldeyer