Rental Person Who Does Nothing: A Memoir

Hanover Square: Harlequin. Jan. 2024. 208p. ISBN 9781335017536. $21.99. MEMOIR
In 2018, when 35-year-old Morimoto left an unsatisfying job in Japan where his boss derided both his work and his personality, he decided to change careers, but it was hard to find the perfect fit. Inspired by a blog post by therapist Jinnosuke Kokoroya, who argued that people have value even if they do nothing, he developed a service in which he could be hired by strangers who simply needed someone to be there with them. For a fee and the reimbursement of costs, Morimoto will fulfill any request, as long as he doesn’t have to “do” anything—the Rental Person can be hired to see someone off at the airport and wave goodbye, sit in the park and share a drink, or accompany a patron when they file divorce papers. Here he writes about his experiences as Rental Person and speculates about what his presence meant to the 4,000-plus people who’ve hired him so far.
VERDICT A fascinating and oddly endearing memoir.
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