We begin with the end of the school year, when Yuko Moriguchi, a middle school teacher in Japan, is explaining to her students why she is retiring from teaching. It seems that her 4-year-old daughter died in the school's swimming pool, and Moriguchi believes that she was murdered -- by two students in her class.
She is vengeful and explains what she has done to those students in a very matter-of-fact way. Confessions continues with perspectives from the class president, the two murderers, and Moriguchi again. As we hear their stories, we are exposed to the lives of these characters and how those experiences contributed to the events.
Even though we get some of the same story from each person, it isn't at all repetitive. Because they each have such a different perspective. What really grabbed me about this method of telling the story is how you can never truly know the motivations of people. Since I work in a school and see hundreds of students, this is an important lesson for me. Kids get into trouble. They do stupid things. But as much as I think I might know "why," I really have no idea.
In Confessions, the reader is told by Moriguchi why something happened, but then when you read another character's story, you realize there is so much more. Things aren't always what they seem. And each character adds to the story, telling an additional part. I did find the life histories a bit tedious at times, but all the detail also deepened my understanding of each character's place in the story.
We also get a glimpse of Japanese culture as it pertains to education and family life, and these traditions contribute to the actions of these characters. The book is translated from the original Japanese, and I had no difficulty with the translation.
It's very creative, and I found myself more and more anxious about how everything was going to wrap up as the story progressed.
The narrators, Elaina Erika Davis and Noah Galvin do an excellent job. Galvin sounds like a young kid (maybe he is?) They use Japanese names which are pronounced correctly (or seem to be...what do I know?)
There are twists and surprises, and well, the revenge? Hah. Yes, there is revenge. Is it appropriate? Well, it's twisted, but I'll let you decide. I highly recommend Confessions if you are into murder and revenge stories.
Published by Mulholland, 2014, Hachette Audio
Audiobook obtained from the library
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