cover image Japan Took the J.A.P. Out of Me

Japan Took the J.A.P. Out of Me

Lisa Fineberg Cook. Downtown Press, $15 (275pp) ISBN 978-1-4391-1003-4

In her debut memoir, Beverly Hills native Cook takes an honest look at the life of a young, privileged, Jewish woman who relocates to Japan with her new (American) husband, leaving the life she knows behind-largely spent out with friends, shopping, eating, or abusing nail salons and spas. Suddenly, she's immersed in a world she doesn't understand, from the language to the housework to the friendships. Much is made of her severed relationship with her best friend Stacey, but before long, Cook lands some teaching jobs, meets friendly co-workers and a few enthusiastic students, and finds her relationship with her new husband blossoming. Through her struggles, Cook offers a genuinely funny and honest fish-out-of-water narrative without ever veering into broad or tone-deaf territory (not after the title, anyway).