PMU: week 3 P. 127 - 189

SPOILER ALERT: Important plot events will be discussed in this week's post. If you have not completed the reading, please do so before participating in this entry.


Danny and Rio continue their temple pilgrimage, and soon a third traveler, Shinobu, joins them. But when Shinobu is able to fully translate Hiro's letter and reveal the secrets Danny has been hiding, tensions rise. After a violent altercation between Danny and Rio, the former continues the pilgrimage by herself, but a typhoon soon lands her in the hospital, where further secrets will be revealed.

What I Liked:

  • Shinobu: Shinobu's introduction was definitely one of my favorite moments. This book has been so heavy, it was nice to relax with a more light-hearted character. I was pretty bummed that by the end of the reading, Shinobu seemed a bit more dark himself. It's almost like Rio and Danny's darkness rubbed off on him!
  • The Letter: I kind of figured that Danny didn't give Rio the full contents of the letter, which was very frustrating. When we find out exactly what Hiro wrote, it's a beautiful moment. I know Rio thinks that closure is garbage, but I think Hiro's letter gave her at least some of that. It's nice to know that Hiro didn't remain as cold as she remembers him, and that he still cared about her and her family in the end. I just wish that they had been able to reunite while he was still alive.
  • A Beautiful Death: *SPOILER ALERT* I know that Danny's death is a sad thing, so it feels kind of strange putting it in the "What I Liked" section, especially since I did like Danny, so it's not like I wanted to see her die. Still, her death was a beautiful thing. We get to hear a large chunk of the story that we have been missing, and we get a beautiful last scene between Rio and Danny. The way Danny ultimately chooses to die is very fitting of the free-spirited woman.

What I Didn't Like:

  • Rio's Violence: I haven't really minded Rio's character throughout the book, but when she strikes Danny in the barn I was pretty disappointed in her. However, even though it's a part of the book that I really didn't like, it was definitely understandable. I think that the stress of returning to Japan and overturning all of these buried secrets would have gotten to her eventually.. I was shocked though that Shinobu reacted so extremely against her actions. I never thought he would encourage them or like them either, but I thought he would at least be a little more understanding, especially since Rio instantly expresses remorse for it. Instead, he is repulsed and gives Rio a cold shoulder for the rest of the reading.
  • The Phone Call: The phone call between Rio and Sal was suuuuuper frustrating! The truth was SO close to coming out, and Rio hanging up and turning off her phone is so infuriating and irresponsible. On the bright side, at least the truth doesn't come out over the phone...
  • Poor Kanako: That poor nurse! She was such a sweet character (much like Shinobu) and once again Rio and Danny's dark past leaves her touched (much like Shinobu...I'm noticing a trend here...I hope it doesn't carry over to Sal and Lily).

Quote of the Week

"Forgiveness is a choice, goes the wisdom. It's not easy; it takes work. [The United States] is a country that believes in hard work. Not forgiving means you are lazy. I'm a fan of unforgiveness. Choosing not to forgive is a fine choice for some of us. Unforgiveness is its own power. To resist the forgiveness bullies us to be strong," (182).

Discussion Questions

  1. While in the hospital, Danny gives Rio a house key to her childhood home. What do you think the importance of that is? What do you think Rio will find there?
  2. At the end of the reading, Rio is sure that Sal has put together who Chizuru really is, but she also argues that her sudden hang up could be easily excused due to issues surrounding international phone calls. What do you think?
  3. Shinobu's blend of western and eastern culture introduces how a lot of younger people in Japan feel, though for most of the novel we are shown an older, more traditional mindset. What do you think Shinobu's blend brings to the novel?
Created By
Jessi Young

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