Please Enjoy Your Happiness by Brinkley-Rogers, Paul (2016).
“The two people connected by the red thread are destined to be lovers, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. This cord may stretch or tangle, but never break….we would be linked until the end of time.”
Please Enjoy Your Happiness, a memoir by Paul Brinkley-Rogers (2016), recounts the passionate, yet tender love affair that colored his entire life. Brinkley-Rogers, now an Arizona resident and Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent, was a naïve 19-year-old sailor stationed in post WWII Japan when he met worldly Kaji Yukiko, a beautiful woman more than a decade his senior, with a past stained by her escape from Manchuria as well as her involvement with the Japanese Mafia.
Looking back on that summer of 1959, Brinkley-Rogers conveys how he was impacted by Yukiko’s passion for life, music and learning. For him, it was a seminal time; her influence molded him into the scholar and writer he became. The beauty of this book is the enormity of the emotion carried across time and space. Celebrating the red thread which still binds him to Yukiko, 70-something Brinkley-Rogers faces mortality and laments his loss of youth as he weaves together Yukikio’s letters with his own recollections and reflections.
Brinkley-Rogers exalts romance while agonizing and longing for the past. Please Enjoy Your Happiness speaks to anyone who has been swept away by love, or who would like to be–at least vicariously.
Review by Jessica Buckles