A boy called H
Now time to rave about a book, seeing as I haven't seen the film yet. I hope to rent it once it comes out on DVD. "Shonen H" is split into two separate books, so it'll be interesting to see how the film is put together.
Shonen H is a fictional story *closely based* on a real boys memoirs before, during and after WWII. The book honestly deals with the ugly realities of war and what it must have been like for a rebellious teenager from a Christian family growing up within the strict war regime. You grow up with the boy, you share his embarrassment when he wets his bed, you cheer him on when he finds a way to make money using his design skills, you feel his anger towards a nation full of contradictions, you worry for him as he heads into a downward spiral...
Not only did I find it interesting as it is set in and around where I live, but it is also interesting as the boy is an aspiring graphic designer :)
I now realise that this book has been translated into English, but I read it in Japanese. As a gaijin, I found this book very smooth to read as the Japanese language used is not so complicated. That said, it helps significantly if you are familiar with Banshu dialect. (The Japanese dialect spoken in Kobe.)