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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Sakura Self-Destruct by Simon Rooney is an urban fiction novel that will leave you pondering. But more than this, it's the personal odyssey of Jason Colbach, a depressed Englishman who seemingly has nothing going for himself and can't understand what his life is all about. He lives a boring life, and smokes weed and plays video games to escape family strife and the psychological prison he lives in. The story opens with Jason's thoughts of suicide and what it would be like to just jump from a great height and end it all. His suicidal fantasies are all he has--like friends who are a bad influence on you. He doesn't like feeling morose, but he doesn't know any other way. The sakura tree outside his window offers a ray of sunshine in his otherwise dreary life. Can his psychologist's suggestion of mindfulness help?
Sakura Self-Destruct is an interesting character study of one man's journey to self-realization, mirroring the seemingly shallow existence of so many people. Jason is a character that may remind you of someone you know in your life, who appears to be in a rut and can't find a will or reason to change anything. Simon Rooney does a fine job of relaying Jason's social anxiety, loneliness, and mental state of being. I like the fact that this character is honest about his problems, and you find yourself rooting for him to find some happiness and meaning. On one level, he doesn't understand his worth. On another, he has good insight into his own psyche and can view himself objectively. But Jason's story isn't all about depression. It has a clever sense of humor, and his character arc compels you to keep reading to find out what becomes of him and his try at mindfulness and self-discovery.
I do like that Rooney offers a fresh character and a unique premise that will resonate with today's disenchanted population. The way he has Jason describing the sakura tree as being his only friend is just a sampling of the poignant phrasing you'll find in this novel. The way Jason relates to the tree made me believe he had a real chance of coming out into the sunlight. I like the character of Alia, too, and how she tries to help him. Sakura Self-Destruct by Simon Rooney is an honest, moving portrayal of one man's attempt at finding himself.