We are following the below schedule (page counts may vary based on your medium): Week 1 - Up until star break. Sentence ending in 殺されたからです。- 9% / p.29 Week 2 - Through end of chapter 1 - 19% / p.61 Week 3 - Up until star break. Sentence ending in 救われた気分でした。- 28% / p. 87 Week 4 - Through end of chapter 2 - 38% / p. 119 Week 5 - Chapter 3 - 54% / p. 169 Week 6 - up until bolded section starting with 四歳児 - 64% / p. 196 Week 7 - through end of chapter 4 - 74% / p. 229 Week 8 - through end of book - 100% / p. 301
I will generally copy this information over thread to thread each week for ease of finding - you can always expect the schedule at the top of any weekly thread
Law and Order
Any reveals, for the current chapters must be behind spoilers or detail curtains. When we get further in you don’t need to hide details that were revealed in previous chapters.
Questions on vocab, grammar, nuance, and the like are both welcome and encouraged. If you’re not sure if it’s a spoiler, assume it is and use one of the above options to hide the text.
You are encouraged to speculate and guess wildly
Be kind about other peoples’ wild guesses
Even if you don’t read the chapter(s) in time, you are still encouraged to post in the thread for that reading once you have finished it. I advise not reading ahead in the threads as you may see spoilers.
To gauge participation - a poll!
Are you reading week 5?
Yes, I’m planning to read along/am reading along this week
This was a great pick for the book club. I’m really enjoying the story so far. 直樹 killed 愛美 on purpose?! Why would he do that? Unless all of that is a lie too. And it seems like his mother was planning a double suicide. I did not see that coming. With this story it feels like whenever I know a “fact” that gets turned on its head in the next chapter. I love it.
The first part was a weird mix of amusing and tragic. As readers we’re aware of different information than the characters, so it was interesting to see his mother’s wrong assumptions. So she’s the reason the class got stuck with ウェルテル? Seems like she ended up regretting that.
That was hilarious in hindsight: “直樹 probably gets his lack of decisiveness from his father.” or whatever the narrator said. Ah yes. It’s a shame he didn’t inherit mom’s firm conviction.
His mom was a piece of work for sure; very traditional. I couldn’t help but read out sections to my roommate as I went along. Of course she dotes on her can-do-no-wrong son while only mentioning her eldest daughter because she’s pregnant. Then again, I suppose this diary was supposed to be only for her bad days, so maybe she was proud of her daughters for other reasons. Ah, and I saw we did get a name for our narrator this chapter; I highlighted it but need to add it to the character list. A last name for ウェルテル and 修哉 as well.
And her seeing the only way out for her son from a life of people gossiping about him was murdering him… Definitely gives you the vibe that we were only likely seeing the tip of the iceberg in her diary; the emotional and mental strain of those few months must’ve been incredible. Did she deserve to die, no. Is 直樹 at fault for his defense of himself ending in her death… yes, I think so. Even if her death was accidental.
One thing I keep coming back to is 悠子先生, and how this has all been a downward spiral since her actions in the beginning of the book. Did she know more than she let on, especially since 直樹 gave us a hint that there may have been more to the situation than we’ve been told? If not, how does she feel about how things have progressed? Does anyone here hold 悠子先生 accountable for what’s happened in the past two chapters? Regardless of 悠子先生’s culpability, do you think what’s happened is a good thing? Kind of a weird question to ask, I know, but think of all the people we’ve met who’ve shown they have massive, unresolved issues hovering in the background. It’s a perfect storm of one person feeding off another. Idk; I feel like it’s better for everything to implode all at once, instead of gradually over the years, drawing things out and committing more lesser evils. Idk.
Anyway, I’m betting there’s more we haven’t seen from 修哉’s side. Whether it’s good or bad remains to be seen it’s definitely bad , but it makes me wonder how the author’s going to tie a four-year-old’s murder together with whatever issues all these people have.
Agreed. Depending on how earth-shattering it could be, might be a chapter or two before we get to see, sadly.
I’m leaning towards no lie, or that 直樹 has convinced himself he saw her open her eyes when she really didn’t as a way to reinforce his own guilt; either way I think he believes that’s what happened.
I’m wondering if he did it in order to impress 修哉 for some reason. His mom also talked about 直樹 falling in with some delinquent high schoolers, so I’m curious if they’re actually related to this or not.
This chapter was a relatively short read, most of it I read over the weekend. After finishing I was really confused on what to think and feel about anymore.
It’s really hard to get a good image of 直樹, as every narrator zooms in on a few aspects and they all have their prejudices. Especially his mom has a skewed/warped view.
Having been through something similiar myself, it is easier to sympathize with 直樹 here. Things get really bad that at a certain point, the offered help is more damaging than no help at all. Professional help can work, but he would have to be more open to sharing. Looking at the entries about that, they seem to dismiss it without really considering the whole picture. His own self gets eaten away by his mom and the environment becomes toxic. You’ll have to break from that and rebuild yourself independent from school, family and friends.
Regarding the added bit of information about 愛美’s death, I don’t believe she was lying that he said that nor do I think 直樹 was lying. I think he’s fully convinced himself that is the truth. He has accepted all the guilt and thinks to solve it all on his own.
So yeah tragic ending. The added piece after the diary ends is even more depressing. Before I thought it was the eldest sister telling the story, but it seems to be the sister that decided to live with her father until she went to university? Also considered that she could be a stepsister. Either way a pretty complicated family situation because of the mother. It’s something I kinda glossed over during the first chapter, but now you can see it painfully in action.
Not sure what more to expect and hope for in the next chapter. Maybe a police investigation and interrogation?
I think I’ll start reading a bit of chapter 4 tonight.
I did not understand how he gets diagnosed, an official certificate for not having to attend school, but there is zero follow-up. Normally there would be at least counselling if not in-patient treatment. When he was getting worse (no showering, etc.) that would have gotten him admitted here. Why get him diagnosed at all, if you then don’t get the help?
I think, I might just keep reading. The next week’s thread is open already as well… I am genuinely curious how this all ties up. I fear we are all going to be disappointed and it will be something stupid, but I hope for a nice little twist…
It sounded like mom just wanted the doctor’s note rather than any real treatment. I’m sure they contacted her for follow-ups and she just never mentioned in in her diary, especially if she felt the treatment was unnecessary. I have a feeling she would’ve felt that having a child need psychological help would be a black mark on the family (one more thing for the neighbors to gossip about), adding further incentive to not pursue professional help.
Does any one else find it ironic that 直樹’s mother repeatedly criticizes 森口先生 for being a single mother but she is literally raising 直樹 alone while her husband uses his work responsibilities shirk his responsibilities at home? She views 森口先生 as incapable of handling the responsibilities of being a parent while also balancing the responsibilities of a teacher, but I can’t help but read this as jealousy or maybe resentment from 直樹’s mother. She views her child-rearing as representative of her value as a person, which, on top of of her being deathly afraid of others viewing her family in a negative light, views 森口先生 being able to balance a professional and home life as a single individual as an attack on her own self-perception of what a mother “should be”. 直樹’s mother even views the success of her younger brother as the product of her continuing her own mother’s child-rearing which has become fundamental to how she values herself.
But despite all of this I cannot help but feel sympathetic for her. Losing both her parents during middle school must have been a traumatizing experience because middle school was when she learned from her teacher about writing down painful memories in a diary as a means to move past them (in an unhealthy way in her situation but I digress). Her hyper-awareness of how other people perceive her might have stemmed from this experience because despite being only 12 at the time, she recounts how it was thanks to her efforts that her brother turned out well with no mention of her relatives that took them in. It has been many years since then and her recounting of current events is kinda removed from that experience which justifies her not mentioning them but I say that on top of her possibly trying to justify that she did what’s best for 直樹, she’s also trying to justify her past trauma of losing her parents and having something to show for it, i.e. her brother being a respectable member of society thanks to her.
I’m really loving how this book is showing that societal rot is systematic and not simply the result of bad people being bad. 直樹 not only inherited his weak will from his father (who might have had his own overly-doting parent which has made him ill-equipped to deal with anything emotionally difficult) but also his obsession of his outward perception from his mother, which was possibly the result of the trauma she experienced as a child.
I know what you mean, but she is an adult and I do not tolerate people mistreating other people just because they have been mistreated themselves. A reason for a behaviour doesn’t excuse that behaviour, imo.
I agree on trauma not being an excuse for being a bad person but I don’t think 直樹’s mother even recognizes what she’s doing is detrimental to 直樹 in the slightest. And it’s not like there’s anyone else to show her the error of her ways. There’s an entire other parent that’s there as well but just shoves all of the responsibility onto the one.
And the myth that once someone becomes an adult that they suddenly recognize the responsibilities of their own actions is something I want to believe but has proven not to be the fact considering how many adults maintain their worldview from their childhood and are stubborn and resistant to anything that might change that. Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely criticizing 直樹’s mother for being an awful parent (awfulness is not only limited to physical abuse but the mental abuse of not letting 直樹 be his own person, and ya know, trying to kill your son because you’re embarrassed of yourself) , but I think it’s more effective to examine the root of the cause and try to prevent it from happening again instead of laying all the blame on one person and expecting that to fix things. I don’t think it’s contradictory to sympathize with the person while also condemning their actions
This family is a clear case of ESH The mother needed therapy. The son needed therapy. The dad needed a kick in the behind. For some reason, the sister seems to be OK. Though, after the events in this book, she, too, probably needs therapy.
I guess dad just works so hard that he hardly comes home.
Well, it’s quite possible they never went to any follow up appointments after she got what they came for: a good excuse to tell the school. But yeah she found out later that it wasn’t the right diagnosis at all… a little too late.
I had started reading the next chapter, but the sections here are a bit longer so that takes more commitment.
I loved the mom’s character. You could feel her just dripping with judgeyness for everyone that wasn’t family.
I love that we’re such opposites on characters we like
It’s really hard to say how I’d feel if this were real life, but man, I can’t imagine losing a kid like that. I’d probably do horrible things too. To me her actions seem like an emotionally violent ‘set them straight’ attempt, not advisable, legally questionable, but not even coming close to the worst I can imagine someone doing in that situation.
I’m also really digging this. It feels like someone took one of Miyuki Miyabe’s books and cranked them up a notch.
She is a well-written character. But I have a very strong dislike for ppl like her, so that transfers to books, of course.
No. I give this book an ESH (=Everyone Sucks Here) rating. The only thing iffy for me is the blood in the milk. It kinda comes down to whether the teacher really believed a bit of blood in milk can give someone HIV (or if she even really put the blood in - how reliable a narrator is she?). That’s a way of administering the death penalty, for teenagers, without a trial, without anything and I am not OK with the death penalty even for adults to begin with. That the boys are mentally disturbed is imo not her fault, though.
I believe last week’s narrator confirmed that there was no blood in the milk, right? She gathered up the used cartons after class and tested them for blood iirc. Granted, depending on how much blood there was and the quality of her testing instruments she could’ve definitely made a mistake, but it sounded like there was at least a chance the it was all just a scare on the teacher’s part.
I was wondering if this was her implying he actually did her a favor, or if I’m over thinking it. When I first read the chapter I highlighted the first sentence thinking, “huh? くれる?” and then forgot about it