‘Mika in Real Life’: Emiko Jean tackles parenthood, love and self-acceptance

At 35, Mika Suzuki has quite possibly hit rock bottom. She’s just been fired from yet another dead-end job she didn’t like (but certainly needed); has been painfully single since her last relationship with a pothead-turned-hipster-dispensary-founder went up in smoke; and her once blossoming artistic skills have stagnated. The most stable thing in her life might be her Japanese parents’ perpetual disappointment.

But then, out of the blue, Mika gets a call from Penny — the daughter she had given up for adoption 16 years ago. Mika wants to strengthen this fragile connection and she agrees to talk with Penny. After some unfortunate embellishments to her current circumstances — “with each lie, Mika painted her life in brighter colors. … It was much easier to talk about things as you wished them to be” — Penny announces she’s coming to Portland to visit her (supposedly) successful art gallery-running birth mother. Oh, and she’s bringing along Thomas Calvin, her widowered, endearingly grumpy and unexpectedly hot adoptive father. Now Mika has a choice: come clean to her teen daughter and risk losing her again, or try to make the “perfect” life she conjured for herself a reality.

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