Her pupils murdered her daughter. Now she will have her revenge.
After calling off her engagement in the wake of a tragic revelation, Yuko Moriguchi had nothing to live for except her only child, four-year-old child, Manami. Now, following an 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 upends everything her students ever thought they knew about two of their peers, and sets in motion a diabolical 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 danger. You'll never look at a classroom the same way again.
The murder of a young science teacher's trusting four-year-old daughter by some of her own 13-year-old students sets in motion a diabolic revenge plot with devastating collateral damage in Minato's outstanding debut, which inspired the Oscar nominated film. Initially, single mother Yuko Moriguchi's grief mixes with guilt when police rule little Manami's death accidental; she accepts the blow as yet another in a lengthy series, including the HIV-positive diagnosis that Manami's father received during Yuko's pregnancy, which prompted him to break off their engagement. But when she subsequently discovers evidence that points to foul play, Yuko decides to draw on her knowledge of the culprits to exact retribution far more terrible than the punishment that would have been meted out to such youthful offenders by the authorities. The plan's twisted genius emerges gradually through restrained first-person chapters narrated by Yuko and other principals. The suspense intensifies as the entire Machiavellian web only belatedly becomes clear. Minato, a homemaker and former home economics teacher, also spotlights the dysfunction that can fester beneath the tidy surface of Japanese society as well as the searing fury of a mother's love gone wrong.
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This book was a pleasant surprise and held my attention from start to finish. The writing is straightforward and the plot remains taut even after a gangbuster beginning that the cynic in me was sure the book could not maintain.