[NOVEL REVIEW] My Girlfriend’s a Geek, vol. 1

My Girlfriend's a Geek vol. 1 Cover

English Title: My Girlfriend’s a Geek
Original Title:
Fujoshi Kanojo
Yen Press
Age Rating:
Older Teen
A collection of blog entries by Pentabu, documenting his ongoing one-sided battle against his fujoshi girlfriend, Y-ko.

Review: When I saw My Girlfriend’s a Geek novel listed on Yen Press’s series page, I just KNEW I had to pick it up. The summary of the book really caught my interest for one particular reason – it sounded like something I could connect to. The summary didn’t really indicate what writing style this book was going to be presented in, but it did give me a bit of an insight of what to expect – a geeky girlfriend and a boyfriend who slowly gets sucked into her geeky ways.

The writing style echos that of other published web-based novels (if you can even call them “novels” in the first place), such as Maid Machinegun and Train Man. Cracking open the book reveals nothing more than an entertaining collection of blog post between November 8, 2005 and October 1, 2006, documenting a year of “one-sided battles” he had with his girlfriend. Bolding and font sizing is used effectively throughout the blog, placing emphasis on outrageous quotes, words, and hilarious inner freak outs. It adds flavour to the already entertaining entries, wonderfully highlighting his 2-years-older-than-him girlfriend’s immaturity, conflicting, and insane mindset.

The entries themselves provide bite-sized glimpses into Pentabu’s daily life with his girlfriend. Or more specifically, all the crazy geeky things she does and drags him into. For instance, she buys an eroge under HIS name online and gives him the nickname of “Sebas” (short for “Sebastian” – I’m sure most of you otaku people are probably thinking Black Butler too, but that’s not where the name’s from; “Sebastian” is a cliché name for a butler in Japan), which ends up being changed to “Uke-Sebas” when Y-ko’s friends pointed out he had uke traits. They’re fun, relatively quick reads that are really sure to have you laughing from some of the slight ridiculousness that goes on, no matter which perspective you’re looking on from.

The full force of the fujoshi aspect isn’t really seen in this book – while Y-ko does occasionally do things seen in a typical BL (boys’ love – in a nutshell, the term Japan uses for yaoi/shonen-ai – the glossary in the back of the book provides a better technical definition) fanatic, she seems more like just a typical female otaku. I was honestly hoping for more fujoshi (if you haven’t caught on by now, it means a BL fanatic) moments to come out of her, but alas, they did not. After all, the mention of her being a fujoshi caught my attention. I am a BL fanatic myself, so naturally, the thought of reading a novel ABOUT a fujoshi caught my attention. I must note that the lack of fujoshi moments didn’t deteriorate the overall awesomeness of the blog entries and Y-ko’s geekiness as a whole. It’s entertaining enough to see her geekiness slowly (VERY SLOWLY) influence her boyfriend. That alone is reason enough to read this book.

I really feel like this is a book I can recommend to anyone who’s even casually into the anime/manga fandoms. As long as you’ve heard of relatively popular series, you should be fine to read. There’s a glossary in the back for terms that people may be unfamiliar with, as well as good explanations and definitions from Pentabu himself inside the blog entries. As long as the thought of BL being mentioned doesn’t make your blood boil, it’s a fine, entertaining read to give people even more of a glimpse into the world of otaku.

I’m sure this book will receive so many different perspective reactions. I can’t help but read it from a[n] otaku/BL fanatic perspective, since that’s who I am (…well, not so much anymore in the otaku aspect, but I still have occasional otaku thoughts!). Y-ko’s logic makes complete sense to me for the most part (like her whole “lottery” way of buying BL manga – Y-ko, I, more or less, do the same thing), with the occasional exception to her weird contradictions and twisting of words. I didn’t really feel sorry for Pentabu all that much, looking for a fujoshi mindset. Heck, I’m hoping to see him slowly obtain his own fujoshi mindset so Y-ko can have random BL discussions with him. That would be thoroughly entertaining for me to read. In fact, he kind of seems to be doing so already. Though, it’s kind of up in the air of how far down that “road” he’s going to go.

If you read this book, I’d actually LOVE to hear your reactions and perspective. Which perspective are you reading from (are you a casual anime/manga fan? An otaku who likes BL? An otaku who doesn’t like BL? A random reader who knows nothing about anime/manga?)? Do you feel sorry for Pentabu or Y-ko? Anything you can connect with? What parts do you find hilarious? And how did you find my review?

Anyway, pick up this book! It’s fantastic and a fun read! I read it in a day, more or less.

Next up? The manga adaption.