I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Firstly, I want to say that from reading some of the other reviews of this book that people seem to have been going in expecting something very different than what this book is intended to be: this is a small collection of affirmations with cute illustrations to turn to when everything seems to hard and you just want a bit of a pick me up and encouragement. This book is like a pat on the shoulder or a good hug. This book is NOT a story or a self-help guide and it is also not intended to be.
The illustrations are the shining stars of this book. They are sweet and made me feel happier all by themselves, so they are very fitting. I also love the love for food and beds which is evident in the illustrations (very relatable). I will admit to not being familiar with Rilakkuma, but I would imagine that these illustrations would be especially pleasing to those who are.
As for the affirmations themselves, some of them are insightful, but many of them are nothing special. However, I don’t really have a problem with this, because I don’t think they need to be. This book isn’t trying to shift your world view or unveil some kind of fantastic revelation, but simply to remind you of the things that are so simple and true, but so easily forgotten when we are too hard on ourselves.
However, I have docked a star and I will now address the main reason why: the formatting. I will preface this with a disclaimer that my edition was received from NetGalley, so it may not be the same as the print version, but it is likely quite similar as the book had already been published by the time I downloaded the book. This book is obviously translated from the Japanese, and the original illustrations are all done in Japanese. As such, the English translations have simply been typed underneath/next to the Japanese on the illustrations or at the bottom of the page on the pages where the affirmations are written. Additionally, the type set used and the way these English translations are incorporated are particularly clunky, resembling the kind of subtitling one might find on a YouTube video, and not a translation in a book.
I believe the publisher should have either found a way to replace the Japanese with the English (at least on the affirmations, if not on the illustrations) as is done in manga translations, or have picked a more fitting and less jarring type set, especially as the aesthetic of this book is so key to the reader’s enjoyment. This is, of course, not the author’s fault, but it is worth mentioning and keeping on mind if you are considering purchasing the English translation of this book. Maybe try and take a look inside before you buy and see if it will bother you too much.
In conclusion, if you are looking for a sweet book to remind you to go easier on yourself and to comfort you when you’re feeling down (and you’re not too put off by slightly clunky type set and formatting issues with the translations), I definitely recommend this book!