Book Reviews

Review: Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

I’ve heard so much about Convenience Store Woman and when I was given it as a gift, I dove in immediately! This shorter book packs a punch about non-conformity and what paths society pushes us into. Keep reading this book review of Convenience Store Woman for my full thoughts.


Keiko has never fit in, neither in her family, nor in school, but when at the age of eighteen she begins working at the Hiiromachi branch of “Smile Mart,” she finds peace and purpose in her life. In the store, unlike anywhere else, she understands the rules of social interaction―many are laid out line by line in the store’s manual―and she does her best to copy the dress, mannerisms, and speech of her colleagues, playing the part of a “normal” person excellently, more or less. Keiko is very happy, but the people close to her, from her family to her coworkers, increasingly pressure her to find a husband, and to start a proper career, prompting her to take desperate action…


I’ve heard nothing but intriguing things about Convenience Store Woman and I’ve got to say, all true. It’s a book that I for some reason expected to be longer, but it was the perfect length. For anyone who has felt like they haven’t fit in, this is for you. Convenience Store Woman is, in many ways, a story about non-conformity. About how society forces us to walk one path and a firm trajectory. When we don’t pursue those ‘markers’ what does it mean for us? While I absolutely hated one of the side characters misogyny which doesn’t get challenged, I was rooting for Keiko the whole time.

That being said, I did feel like Keiko read as autistic to me in the way she sees the world, adopts other’s mannerisms, and makes sense of social situations. I haven’t seen this confirmed anywhere, but I did want to mention that this definitely contributes to her feeling more like she doesn’t fit in. That everyone has these societal ‘norms’ and ‘taboos’ that she has to learn and keep track of. I’m not a doctor, so don’t obviously take what I said as fact!

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I think we feel it in these societally programmed markers for when we should be coupled off, or have a ‘real job’. These predetermined markers about where we should be at points in our lives. And when we divert from these paths, there’s a real sense of judgement and societal ostracization. It’s amazing the difference feeling a part of the in-group can be. As I said before, I hated one of the side characters and he almost read a bit like an incel, but I focused on Keiko’s journey the whole time.

I think part of why this book appeals to many is that Keiko possesses this contentness that many strife for. A happiness in the moment and not a “I’ll be happy when” mentality. You also instantly root for her and her desire to work where she feels useful and happy. Nancy Wu’s narration plays into this as well, giving her desires, confusion, and passion a real feel. It lends authenticity to her longing. It feels very much like a story which stresses allowing others to live the lives, and occupations, they enjoy.

Find Convenience Store Woman on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, Blackwells,, and Google Play.


Who is your favorite character to root for?

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