Returning to her hometown, Rio reunited with Shinobu. Feeling free since the closure she received from Danny, Rio feels free to pursue her past, and returns to her childhood home. While there, however, she is arrested for trespassing and thrown in jail without any of the rights of a citizen. Luckily, she is soon freed and reunited with her husband and daughter. Shaken from the consequences of her secrets coming to light and the effect her hidden past is wrecking on her marriage, Rio struggles to keep her family together. By the end of the novel, Lily's comfort in the country of her ancestors gives both Rio and Sal hope for the future.
What I Liked
- Repairing A Marriage: I thought Sal's reaction to the truth finally coming out was very realistic and in character with who he is as a person. There were definitely some strong moments in their reunion, such as when he asks her if she feels like a murderer, which is a definite throwback to the beginning of the novel, and while there are also things I didn't like about his reaction (see What I Didn't Like) I think the bulk of his anger is justified.
- Lily in Japan: I loved getting to see Lily in Japan. Rio has definitely held some bitterness against her home country and seeing how beautifully Lily fits into th culture of Japan seems to heal a lot of that anger. Overall, I think it would have really hurt the novel if we hadn't had a chance to see this reunion of Rio's family and their introduction to Rio's motherland.
- Shinobu's Happy Ending: 👌🏻 beautiful, sweet Shinobu got his beautiful ending which is good because I was totally prepared to be enraged on his behalf 😂
What I Didn't Like
- The Japanese Jail System: That was some crap! Reading how Rio was treated, both during her arrest and her days in jail, was very frustrating. I would be interested to see if that is how the jail system works in Japan irl. I feel like that kind of treatment of foreigners (the whole arrest now ask questions later) would go over about as well as a bag of bricks.
- Sal's Reaction: I know I put this in What I Liked as well, but I had mixed feelings about the whole thing. On one hand I do think that her making up an entire childhood (fictionalizing entire people) was a step too far, so his anger at that is understandable. But I thought he could have been a bit more understanding about her past with Tomoya Yu, especially considering how he treated her and her description of the self defense/accidental nature of it. Ultimately, I think that that she did cross a line by making up a ton of stories about fictional childhood friends. There was no reason for her to really lie about those things and I think Sal feels more betrayed by those stories than he does by how she murdered someone.
- Tomoya's Parents: Man, that scene was AWKWARD! At times, Rio still feels extremely out of touch with reality and immature, and this was definitely one of those times. The whole scene annoyed me, to be honest. It didn't feel necessary, and other than the interesting tidbit about how Tomoya Yu's photos are gone from the house, there wasn't much in it that captivated my attention and it didn't really further anything.
- No Tam: I was really hoping that we would reunite with Tam before the end of the novel. He was such a strong character during Rio's days at Kawano, and he just seemed like a very important figure in Rio's life. It would have been nice to see him again, even if it was very brief.
Quotes of the Week
I couldn't narrow it to one, so here is two:
"My mom told me that Native Americans didn't name entire rivers as bodies of water; they referred to specific places along the river- Little Bend or Slow-Moving Through Trees. The concept of the water as one entity didn't serve them. I am that river. And like that river, instead of defining who Rio is, I can only name certain parts of myself: Mom. Nurse. And the part left unshared," (206).
"I can be hafu, if I want; I can always find someone to call me incomplete. But I can be whole, too; I can be unsplit and complete in the fragmented way that a life is a life," (260).
- At times during the novel, Rio seems to be fragmented, isolated from certain parts of herself. How do you think this changes through out the novel? Does Rio seem to become complete by the end of the novel or does she just come to accept the separate parts of herself?
- I said earlier that I felt like Rio's reunion with Tomoya Yu's parents didn't seem to have much of a purpose. Do you disagree? What purpose do you think it has? How do you explain the Yu's strange behavior towards Rio?