When I bought some second-hand copies of Fake off eBay, the same seller had a copy of Confidential Confessions 1 for a dollar, so I thought I might as well get it to try. This is a shoujo manga series and thus aimed at teenage girls, but rather than being the stereotypically light and fluffy, this one is fairly dark and tackles some serious issues. The first volume has a long story about bullying at school and teenage suicide; there’s also a shorter story about teenage prostitution.
I couldn’t get into it at all, but I think mostly because it’s not my sort of thing, and as a middle-aged Brit I’m not the target audience anyway. Skimming through it, I can see why it has great reviews on Amazon — it’s neither soap opera nor preachy, but takes a realistic look at problems that a lot of Japanese teens face in real life. That also means that it doesn’t have a guaranteed happy ending. This may be depressing for some people; for others it will be helpful, as when you’re depressed yourself it can make things worse to be reading fiction that tells you that everyone else gets a happy ending. This manga appears to be aimed at providing fiction that comforts by saying “You’re not alone in feeling this way.” As it says on the cover, “because real life doesn’t always have a happy ending.”
This particular volume is also very, very blunt about what attempted suicide actually means, and what goes through the minds of people considering suicide. It’s going to be an emotionally tough read, and there is the possibility that it could be a trigger for someone, although I think it’s much more likely to help than to harm.
Not my thing, and I suspect that it’s not going to be one for most of the people I know, but I’ll provide the Amazon links for volume 1 anyway. There seem to be six volumes.