I’ve read the 蛇にピアス translation after your description, as a sort of consolation after my failure with 推し、燃ゆ (both were written by very young authors, so it’s kind of replacement. But since 蛇にピアス was released in early 2000s it isn’t really present-day-book anymore. But oh well, it’s the period of my own teenage years, so there’s at least that emotional connection. It’s still better than saying that Banana Yoshimoto is the writer of the young generation - yes, I saw this kind of marketing for her works. I’m not saying young generation can’t enjoy her books, but the lady is already 56 years old and started writing in the 80s…)
I admit that in my case it was “someone had to stop reading because it was too intense? i want to check it!”
Since it was a translation, I did read it in one go during one evening. For me it was quite tame, if sometimes unhygienic, but I understand how it can be triggering for some. Unfortunately, my own triggers are about atypical things and I usually cannot count on getting a warning but on the other hand I’m very comfortable with the pain and blood and rough sex stuff like in this book.
(I was mostly worried that he didn’t wash his feet and she has her tongue newly pierced so what if she gets an infection, things like that )
What was disappointing, however, is that I was sometimes counting on the plot being somehow encouraging of characters way of life. Like, okay, they are doing some risky stuff, and living on the edge of society, but they are supporting themselves financially and are happy like this. And this didn’t happen. It was a tale of self-destruction after all, and this made me upset. I was honestly wishing for more, and I felt like it was yet another story of “welp, wandering off from society is bad”.
I think this is sorta the point. She is disturbed, has problems with her mental health, and is incapable of making good decisions. So it isn’t supposed to make sense for someone with good (or at least better than the heroine’s) mental health.
I guess I just wish her a life where she pierces her body, gets tattoos, but is still able to hold some job (I admit it may be hard to continue working as a waitress with some of the ornaments, although I loved how she was able to fake being a perfect Japanese young girl), doesn’t cheat on her partner, and maybe plays with pain a little, during sex, by changing her piercings to larger ones a little too quickly, but maybe doesn’t destroy her body by refusing to eat, but maybe chooses partners who don’t kill anyone.