Confessions by Kanae Minato (translated by Stephen Snyder) : Book Review

Storyline Rating : 5/5 stars

Brief Summary from Goodreads :

Her pupils killed her daughter. Now, she will have her revenge.

After an engagement that ended in tragedy, all Yuko Moriguchi had to live for was her four-year-old child, Manami. Now, after a heartbreaking accident on the grounds of the middle school where she teaches, Yuko has given up and tendered her resignation.

But first, she has one last lecture to deliver. She tells a story that will upend everything her students ever thought they knew about two of their peers, and sets in motion a maniacal plot for revenge.

Narrated in alternating voices, with twists you’ll never see coming, Confessions probes the limits of punishment, despair, and tragic love, culminating in a harrowing confrontation between teacher and student that will place the occupants of an entire school in harm’s way. You’ll never look at a classroom the same way again.


My Point of View :

Amazingly and very uniquely written novel! I guess it’s unique mainly because I have never read a novel with each chapter told by a different character. The first chapter itself begins with a teacher (Yuko-sensei) giving some sort of a retirement speech to her class, and answers her students’ questions – to which you do not know the questions, just the replies she gave. It took me awhile to get use to the writing style but I couldn’t stop reading once I did.

Yuko’s daughter, Manami, recently died in the swimming pool in the middle school she is teaching. She could not go on teaching knowing her daughter died in the same school and so she retired. Though, that is only one of the reasons. The other reason was the fact that two of her students were involve in her daughter’s death – which means that Manami’s death is not an accident but a murder. During Yuko’s last day of teaching, she gave a speech (retirement speech) to her class (homeroom). She explained the reason behind her retirement, the real truth of her daughter’s death, and the murderers (also in her same class). She ends her speech telling the class she infected the two murderers’ milk (which the whole class drank before homeroom begins) with HIV tainted blood, as a form of revenge for her daughter’s death. And….the butterfly effect begins from there…

I was appalled by Shuya’s (Student A) and Naoki’s (Student B) actions. They are so young and yet their thoughts are simply horrifying. I was actually worried when Yuko said she was not going to report to the police about the truth because I would hate that the evil boys will get away with what they did. BOY, am I glad when I find that she tainted their milk with HIV (I actually clapped…). Don’t get me wrong here, I am vengeful kind of person but not to the extend of killing someone. And I get where Yuko is coming from, her daughter is murdered by two of her students and the authorities can’t do much when evidence points that it’s all just an accident (not that I am a mother myself but I know you can imagine yourself in her shoes).

The main issue the whole novel is trying to highlight here is really how easily the society blames the teacher when something goes wrong with their children (especially in a school setting). It is true that a teacher’s is partially responsible with a student’s upbringing but parents holds equal amount of responsibility. I can’t help but hate the chapter that is told from Naoki’s mother’s POV. She coddles her son (STILL) even when she found out he have a hand in killing Manami, and then goes on blaming Yuko for her son’s behavior – a teacher not doing her job. I know love is blind, particularly a mother’s love, but it is not right if your child’s BAD/WRONG behavior is not immediately rectify and goes on saying what he/she did is okay. What kind of young generation will these kind of parents produce? Though, I must admit, Yuko (as a teacher) should not have done what she did. It’s never right for a teacher to punish young (still) developing students the way she did, as it will destroy a person’s (or even more) life.

In the end, I can’t help but wonder if Shuya (Student A) actually and…finally fully regrets in the end of the tale. Even if he doesn’t I am still happy that he feels actual pain for losing something he treasures. Like I said before, I am the kind of person that takes revenge if that persons deserve it (of course not to the extend of killing a person). It’s definitely a good read if you love thrillers, especially Japanese ones like Keigo Higashino.

Favorite Quote : None from this book.

 

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