Naoko was written by Keigo Higashino, it was originally called Himitsu (secret). This book had won The Japan Mystery Writers Award. I borrowed this book from JF Library simply because the summary on the back cover looked interesting and intriguing.

The story is about a man named Sugita Heisuke, he was married to Sugita Naoko and had a daughter named Sugita Monami. Heisuke has a wonderful live, he enjoyed talking to his wife and daughter, and he loves both of them so much. But one day, a terrible accident took his happiness away. His wife, Naoko, died and his daughter, Monami, was in comma. The reason why Monami is still alive was because Naoko tried so hard to protect her from the accident.

When Monami woke up from her comma, she wasn’t Monami anymore, she was Naoko. Naoko took over Monami’s body…so the one that actually died was Monami not Naoko. Heisuke was forced to live in this condition, an awkward condition where his daughter is also his wife. At first everything went smoothly with little problem, but when Naoko (in Monami’s body) turned into teenager, things started to become really hard for both of them. On the peak of their problem, Monami’s spirit returned.

I enjoyed the book a lot, but somewhere in the middle when Naoko was a teenager, I found the book a bit boring….so at that time I did a lot of fast reading, which mean I skipped a lot of line but still able to keep up with the storyline. The 1st half of the book is very interesting and funny, the 2nd half of the book is divided into two, boring and then very exciting. When Monami returned is the part that becomes more and more exciting, and the ending makes it ever better

Somehow I don’t think the title Naoko really fits this book…the whole story is mostly about Heisuke and his point of view…I think Himitsu is a better title than Naoko.

I have learnt from some books that a great ending can change a not so good book into an amazing book and it goes vice versa. Naoko has a great ending and therefore makes this book as a great book (unlike Harry Potter which turns from an amazing book into a not so good book). I really like Naoko, I gave 4 stars for this book.


  1. Interesting premise for the book – and glad it picked up. Always a treat when that happens – how did you find the book? Japanese literature is a whole new world to me. Thanks for this!

    Novroz’ Answer
    I agree on that one 🙂 japanese literatures are so different than western but they have their own magic.

    I found this book in JF Library (Japan Foundation)…I like to borrow any book that caught my attention in that library….sometimes I got lucky, which mean the book is good, sometimes I don’t. I was sort of trial and error but fun experience 🙂

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