Book Review: Confessions

CONFESSIONS | Kanae Minato
08.19.2014 (originally published 08.05.2008) | Mulholland Books
Rating: 5/5 stars

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Yuko Moriguchi lives her life trying to make sure that her four-year-old daughter, Manami, has a perfect upbringing. As a single mother who teaches full-time, this isn’t always an easy feat. Moriguchi’s able to have Manami come to the middle school she works at and have a handful of students watch over her while she wraps up the day’s lose ends. Everything is going perfectly until the day it all ends. The day that Manami is found floating, dead, in the school pool. How could this have happened?

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I think we regular people may have forgotten a basic truth—we don’t really have the right to judge anyone else.

Manami’s death is ruled an accident and Moriguchi returns to the school after a week away, but she soon decides she can no longer be there and tenders her resignation. On her last day, Moriguchi delivers a lecture that will change the lives of her students. She tells the story of her past, her daughter, and reveals the fact that Manami’s death was no accident, but that two students in this class murdered her. Moriguchi’s speech is her revenge, but does her plot end with the last word of her lecture or is there more at stake?

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You can’t blame your crimes on someone else; they’re your own responsibility.

Kanae Minato is an absolutely amazing writer! Minato blew me away with PENANCE earlier this year and CONFESSIONS was no different. This is the story of one woman’s heartbreak and the lengths that she is willing to go in order to enact revenge for her daughter’s death. The opening of CONFESSIONS starts with Moriguchi and her delivering her last lecture to her class in which she makes several startling revelations. These revelations, as well as her blatant confession of her revenge plot, have a radiating effect on the students of her class. Each subsequent chapter is then told by another narrator who has been impacted by Moriguchi’s speech. In these chapters the reader is greeted with an opportunity to learn all angles of Manami’s death, as well as how Moriguchi’s revenge has changed the narrator’s life. As with PENANCE, I found Minato’s delivery of shocking events in this book to be extremely subtle and incredibly effective. I love the way every detail was thought out and the way Minato linked each narrator’s story to the others in the book. Revenge is a fascinating topic and CONFESSIONS is the ultimate tale of the impact it can have.

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