Namo Namaha. After reading Malice, I was scouting for similar books. Books that mess with your head, not too much, but, books that manage to show you that all is not what it seems. Stories that show that the world and your perception of it can be very deceptive. This book, Confessions by Kanae Minato was actually a suggestion by a booktuber @RachaelMarie_BT and I am super thankful for her suggestion.
Yuko Moriguchi, a middle-grade school teacher tenders her resignation following the death of her only child, four-year-old Manami. During her last day, she gives the last lecture to her pupils. This lecture changes everything and sets in motion a set of events that no one could have predicted or foreseen. Will Yuko get her revenge or has she given up on bringing the killers to justice, forms the crux of the story.
What should a mother do when the murderer of her child can never be prosecuted or punished for their crime. What should she do if the murderer shows no remorse over the murder? Should she forgive and forget? Should she blame the flawed system and suffer in silence? This is a twisted story of a mother’s revenge on the murderer who kills her only child, her 4-year-old darling.
By the end of the first chapter, I had goosebumps. I yelped in surprise and closed my mouth to stuff in my awe and horror. It was the best first chapter I have ever read. This book is quite simple in its premise. The first chapter is a sixer. It starts so fabulously that everything else that follows it seems quite anti-climactic. There were times when I skimmed through, in my hurry, to reach the end of the book. I won’t say it was boring. The beginning was so impactful that I was just impatient to read the ending, that’s all.
The rest of the story simply follows the events after that first googly the author throws at us. While it was not particularly interesting or even unique, I did get the sense that every event has its importance and that in the end it’s all gonna make sense like in a solved puzzle.
Few parts were quite unrealistic though, like, how can a father be so clueless about his own family in his own house? One day? a week? I understand, but months together something happens and he doesn’t have a clue? Which father is so clueless or stupid or uncaring? He’s not an absentee father, he very much stays in the house. His wife loves him, he’s not abusive or they don’t have any typical illnesses, substance abuse, alcoholism, financial problems, etc, so it’s not as if the family is unbelievably dysfunctional or anything. Hence, I absolutely couldn’t buy the premise that he simply ignored the problems due to cowardice or passivity. No good family man will willingly allow his family to accelerate towards ruin.
Another point is the way kids never communicated with teachers/parents. Bullies probably won’t, as they’ll lose the opportunity to bully but why didn’t the other kids tell their parents/teachers? Was there not a single “normal”, “meek”, “good”, “obedient”, “responsible” or even plain “fearful” child in the class? Knowing the stigma, I am sure parents would have created a ruckus over whatever happened in that class? Not even a single child tattled to its parents/teachers. This is yet another premise that was unbelievable and unrealistic for me.
While I was super impressed with the first chapter and I was quite satisfied with the ending, I found the rest of the story quite mediocre and frankly skippable in many parts. This book is tiny so there’s not much to go on and yet, I could only like the first and last chapters. But those two chapters were so good that I didn’t regret reading this book at all.
Some important themes like juvenile crime punishments and ambiguity regarding heinous crimes are discussed in this book. There is violence and some real twisted mindset on display in this book. So, if you are squeamish about such things thread into this book with caution.
Again, this is not a book I’ll re-read but I confess I’ll never see a pre-teen with the same eyes again. My perception of how pre-teens are/could-be has completely changed. This book was a real eye-opener in that sense.
Review, recommendation, and rating
RRKReads rating – Borrow grade – A book worth borrowing from your library or trading with your friends.
My GoodReads Rating – 4
So, that was my mini-review on Confessions. Have any of you read this novel? What are your thoughts? Do you have any similar book recommendations for me? If yes, or even if you just want to discuss this book or any other book, do let me know in the comments section. I’ll be glad to chat. Till then stay indoors, stay safe from WuhanCoronaVirus, stay blessed and Om Shanti.