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Buck Cooper is Texan, obese, and invisible to his colleagues. Even worse, to the voluptuous Allison Turner, the girl of his dreams, he is way below par. Buck's entire life is about fitting in, a feat he has struggled to achieve but at which he has never succeeded. Until, that is, serendipity lands him in Japan, right in the middle of a sumo match. As his life takes a new turn in a country where being big can mean fame and fortune, Buck must embark on the most dangerous, yet adventurous ride of his life: to find ...
Buck Cooper is Texan, obese, and invisible to his colleagues. Even worse, to the voluptuous Allison Turner, the girl of his dreams, he is way below par. Buck's entire life is about fitting in, a feat he has struggled to achieve but at which he has never succeeded. Until, that is, serendipity lands him in Japan, right in the middle of a sumo match. As his life takes a new turn in a country where being big can mean fame and fortune, Buck must embark on the most dangerous, yet adventurous ride of his life: to find the ultimate meaning of love and acceptance, even if it means risking his life and giving up everything he has. Laced with humor, this novel takes readers into the heart of sumo wrestling in Japan, seamlessly juxtaposing the human drama behind Japan’s national sport with one man’s pursuit to belong.
Posted December 10, 2013
I laughed at the first half of this book. I wondered if it was just a comedy and then it started getting serious. Buck had some huge problems. Most were caused by his size and naivete'. Jennifer claims she didn't attend Sumo wrestling matches while living in Japan but her observations cause one to wonder. Larry MortensenWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 26, 2013
Thoroughly enjoyed this book! As one of the other reviewers said, the story was a bit edgier than I expected but I loved the realistic feel. Sumo is big business and anything involving lots of money tends to invite corruption. Jennifer's prose is engaging and fast-paced. I will pass this book on to others!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 23, 2013
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Big in Japan is a good story and a fun read. The main character Buck Cooper is a smart, good-hearted man who spent his life as a fat kid, a fat college student, and now a fat man; he was lonely because of this size. When by pure accident he becomes a sumo wrestler and his size is admired by millions, it is a big change for Buck. His success never goes to his head, remains a decent, good guy. This story if full of intrigue, mystery, romance, and humor, and it is a truly outstanding sports story. I recommend it as a story that keeps the reader interested, is full of surprises, and has wonderful details of Japanese culture, and the national sport of sumo.
Posted January 3, 2013
Jennifer is such an amazing writer, and is very inspiring! This book grabs hold of your heart. The characters are so well developed, and they become some of your closest friends. The author is the best ever and I absolutely loved the dedication!!!! ;)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 20, 2012
This is one of the most engaging books I've read in a long time. I loved it! It's unique in a good way--I don't think I've read anything quite like it before. It's an off-beat, almost quirky story that really moved me. It's got something for everyone--a romance, action, interesting characters, you name it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 5, 2012
Big in Japan is a well written novel that is fast paced and extremely engaging. With each turn of the page, I itched to see what would happen next. It’s an inspiring story of an underdog who goes through tremendous brutality to become a stronger and mightier man both physically and mentally.
Though many stories display their heroes as being of a certain acceptable weight and build, Griffith’s main character, Buck Cooper, is an obese Texan. Like a Sumo “Kung Fu Panda,” he takes the hits and stings of training, and brutal hazing, only to emerge as a Sumo knight in shining armor, fighting for what he knows to be right and for the chance to love and be loved by the girl of his dreams. Buck’s old-fashioned values of integrity and honesty, coupled with Southern charm and good manners, immediately endeared him to me, and he retained my support as he stuck to his strong values, even in the face of dire consequences. He emulates a true, everyday hero, someone I want to be like. I found myself cheering when he overcame and conquered, and cringing when he was cut down. I felt for this character. I deeply cared for Buck and what became of him.
Griffith’s vivid descriptions took me to the very streets of Japan, allowing me to experience its vibrant sights and smells. She brought the world of Japanese Sumo wrestling to life with brilliant narrative without slowing the story in any way. Big in Japan is a gem worth keeping in anyone’s treasure trove of books. This book is a keeper, one to be read over again.
Review by Elsie Park, author of Shadows of Valor.
Posted August 23, 2012
Loved it! I've said it before, but I'll say it again, characters really
make a book for me. And the characters in Big In Japan, all of them,
just jumped off the page. The story line wasn't as light-hearted as I
thought it would be. I found myself getting angry several times and
feeling so bad for Buck I wanted to hug him. But with everything he went
through you could see his character grow and I loved him even more! This
book is definitely worth your time!
Posted August 5, 2012
Fantastic read. Highly interesting premise. I found it peculiar at first, but I quickly saw the genius behind such a unique setting. I now hold a small love for sumo and the characters in this book. Movie? Yes, please.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 27, 2012
Jennifer Griffith’s newest novel, Big in Japan, tells the story of Buck Cooper, a Texas gentleman with a heart as large his home state and a body and self-esteem problem to match. What starts as a supporting role in a family business trip to Tokyo ends with Buck staying in Japan training to be a sumo wrestler as the kohai to the Kawaguchi Stable’s star ozeki, Torakiba. Torakiba is the senpai from hell, subjecting Buck as his kohai to humiliating tasks including foot washing and warm watermelon spit. There’s also a love interest, Cho-cho san, who like the butterfly she’s named for flits in and out of Buck’s life, motivating him to prove to himself and the sumo world that he’s got what it takes.
Buck may be big in Japan, but in Hawaii sumo is huge. The first foreign-born non-Japanese sumo champion was Jesse Kuhaulua, fighting name Takamiyama Daigoro. He was born on Maui and his career spanned twenty years from 1964-1984. Growing up in Kahului, we all knew Jesse and followed his career avidly. When he came home to visit family, the whole town came out to greet him. I can still him in his traditional Japanese attire as he majestically strolled across our school’s parking lot, smiling and waving at us as we peeked out from behind the monkey pod tree.
Since I knew a little about sumo and what it takes to succeed in Japan as a foreign-born wrestler, I was intrigued by Griffith’s premise. While Big in Japan does touch on some of the modern criticisms and controversies in sumo wrestling, at its heart it’s a love story with coming of age themes told with a humorous, light touch. It’s Buck’s story of leaving home in order to find his true self. Westerners will get a taste of some of the cultural differences and an idea of what it takes to be a sumo wrestler, but it’s Buck’s inner and outer transformation combined with his hilarious inner monologue that’s the draw here. Griffith sometimes compares her books to cotton candy—something sweet, light, frothy, enjoyed, and gone, but I think this novel has more weight behind it, more like a makizushi meal than a simple sweet treat.