Book Review: Kiki's Delivery Service

September 2, 2021


I love Kiki's Delivery Service. This is no surprise to longtime readers of the blog, I'm sure, as I've likely mentioned my love for the Studio Ghibli film adaptation more than once before. The lovely animation style brings this charming slice of life story about a young witch to life beautifully, and I love it even more each time I do a rewatch. I've been curious about the novel it's based on for years, and when I saw the repackaged 2020 version with a stunning cover illustration, I knew I had to take the plunge and acquire a copy. Kiki's Delivery Service, for anyone who is unfamiliar with the title, is about young half-witch Kiki, who turns thirteen and is ready to set off on an adventure following the witch's tradition of choosing a new town to call her home for a year. She settles in the town of Koriko, confident that she'll be able to carve out a place for herself... except that things turn out to be more difficult than anticipated. But with the help of new friends, and despite the obstacles she has to face, Kiki eventually does find her way.

I loved reading Kiki's Delivery Service so much! (Listening, that is, as I actually wound up going the audiobook route for it. The narrator brought the story to life really well.) It was wonderful to immerse myself in this story, and I fell even more in love with Kiki and her adventures. It was delightful to recognize details that Miyazaki pulled directly from Kadono's work to incorporate into his film, almost like having an insider's perspective to the tale. It had just enough familiarity to inspire the warm coziness I feel whenever I watch the film, that's for sure! But it also had a few elements that are unique to the novel, and those were a very welcome surprise. Truthfully, however, Kiki herself is the star of the show! I loved getting to hang out with this sassy and clever young witch (and I definitely cackled quite a few times due to her antics or remarks). But I also found myself getting emotional over and resonating with Kiki's journey of self-discovery, particularly as she tries to figure out where she belongs and what she can do.

Kiki's Delivery Service was excellent! That's really not too much of a surprise considering how much I love the film, which is a pretty spot on adaptation of this magical middle grade tale. I'm really glad that I finally read it (and yes, I totally did a rewatch of the film after I finished), and would certainly recommend checking it out regardless of whether you've seen the film. (And I obviously also recommend checking the film out too!)

Kiki's Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono
Published: July 7, 2020 (original pub. 1985) | Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: e-galley received from the publisher via NetGalley for review

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