Tramps Like Us, Vol 2

Tramps Like Us, Vol 2

By Yayoi Ogawa (Tokyopop)
ISBN 1-59532-140-3

The exploration of modern relationships continues to oh, so slowly unfold in the second volume of Yayoi Ogawa’s beguiling modern romance. Sumire Iwaya is a thoroughly modern woman, a hard-bitten, hard-headed journalist, who can’t allow her softer side to weaken the armour she uses to survive in the male-dominated workplace.

Her romantic life is still complex. There is a man, a fellow journalist and he seems perfect. But somehow Sumire just can’t be herself with him. At least she still has her best friend to confide in, and the unconditional love of her dog Momo.

But is Momo’s love still uncomplicated and unconditional? After all, he’s not a real dog. He’s actually a rather beautiful young man she found living in a dumpster. He seems to be a complete innocent, vital, energetic and without guile – or manners. So she adopts him; feeding, cleaning and training him in return for companionship, warmth and the kind of love that only an animal can provide.

But Momo, a talented, if flaky, dancer is human, and Only Human. Isn’t it impossible for his innocent adoration not too deepen into something stronger, perhaps more selfish? Sumire feels the pressure too, occasionally, but she’s still got more urgent issues to deal with first, such as whether to finally have sex with her current- and unbelievably patient – boy-friend, and what to do with her ‘ex’ now that he’s squirmed back into the picture…

This sophisticated spin on a classic When Harry Met Sally dilemma continues to delight. By expanding the intimate circle affected by the strange relationship the author has intensified the tension without resorting to melodrama. As Sumire and Momo battle their own natures and to strive to break the deadlock of their relationship, they are continually reminded of just how much they could lose by precipitate action. Is the chance of deeper happiness worth the potential loss of their only emotional refuge?

This tale is a revelation. The progress is so cautious and hesitant you often feel like shouting at the pages but nonetheless the story does move subtly on. Sharp, charming and strikingly drawn, this is a book for grown-ups that depict maturity whilst still being decorous. More, Please!

© 2000, 2004 Yayoi Ogawa. All Rights Reserved.