Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking those links, I will receive a small commission from the sale at no extra cost to you.This Monk Wears Heels: Be Who You Are by Kodo Nishimura
Published by Watkins Publishing on February 8, 2022
Genres: Adult Nonfiction, LGBTQ
Format: eBook (204 pages)
Purchase: Amazon • IndieBound
Add Book: Goodreads • Bookhype
Kodo Nishimura rose to fame following his appearance in Queer Eye: We're in Japan. Now this celebrity make-up artist and ordained Buddhist monk shares his unique guide to positivity and self-acceptance. This is a practical guide that will appeal to an audience who will learn from the author's path to self-love and resilience.
You won't become the real you unless you face up to the thing that you've avoided most. Open your eyes to whatever it is you don't want to see and change will come.
Kodo Nishimura, international make-up artist and Buddhist monk, rose to stardom after appearing in the Queer Eye: We're In Japan! special that aired to massive viewership on Netflix. His wide smile, however, hid a painful past. The book starts with Kodo's childhood in Japan, playing dress up as Little Mermaid, and his lonely adolescence when, although born into a family of priests, all he wanted to do was wear pretty dresses and become a princess. Growing up an outsider in a society that celebrates uniformity, Kodo's time in New York at the Parsons School of Design and his work as a leading make-up artist finally brought him to embrace his own uniqueness.
The book is full of practical tips for positive thinking and insights into the philosophical approach to life Kodo has crafted as a Buddhist monk. Detailing his journey to self- love, the book provides a gentle, loving, and encouraging voice for all those who dare to be different.
Even though I hadn’t heard of the author before, I was extremely interested in reading This Monk Wears Heels. I love reading about all kinds of people, so of course I was interested in what a queer monk had to say about self-love and acceptance! Unfortunately, there’s nothing new here. All of the advice felt generic and just echos everything we’ve all heard before: love your differences, don’t judge others, blend your eye shadow (unless your goth)! It’s sound advice, but it wasn’t presented in a way that felt fresh. It was just kind of there, leaving me uninspired and underwhelmed.
Kodo Nishimura has an interesting life story, and I did enjoy reading about their experiences from a scared young boy into someone coming into their own through makeup and Buddhism. Despite how short This Monk Wears Heels is, it’s also extremely repetitive. The same stories are told again and again, but with slight variations to fit the current “lesson.” I don’t doubt that the author has more tales to draw from, so it was disappointing to read the same few scenarios multiple times.
The writing style was also lacking any personality. It as all just bland and kind of boring at times. I really liked the sections where they discussed their monk training and the lessons from Buddhism that are surprisingly relevant to a self-acceptance journey. But these parts are mixed in with other random bits of wisdom in a way that doesn’t flow at all. It jumps from one topic to the next, then back again, then to something else entirely, then there’s make-up tips, and back to the previous story. I was left more confused than anything else.