Confidential Confessions volume 1
By Reiko Momochi
Release Date: July 2003
First Volume Review
Tokyopop advertises this series as a ‘shocking new series’, and you know when you read that you think it is just an attention grabber. But what you have to accept if you are going to pick up this series, is that it is quite shocking.
As a teenager I am sure most of us have had those days where we don’t understand who we are or what we are suppose to be doing in our lives. Most of us rely on the support of our parents and our friends to help us get though those tough times, but what happens when your parents are just as lost as you are and they are not there to support you? What happens when the girls who you think are friends are really nothing more than leaches using you because you are an easy target? Do you think that suicide becomes an option? How about prostitution? Think it doesn’t happen? Well, this book will convince you it does.
Reiko Momochi brings us two very realistic tales in this first volume about the lives of 2 girls who face very real problems that young girls face this day and age. The very first page tells us that in Japan alone, 3 to 4 people committed suicide every hour in the year 2000, and then we are opened up to the story of one girl who looked death in the face and what brought her to that door.
Manatsu is a girl who grew up not exactly feeling she was very wanted. Her father left and told her mother she could have custody of her, and her mother wasn’t too ‘thrilled’ to be given that custody and felt her daughter was a burden. Her parents stressed school work on her and rarely let her have friends so she grew up feeling quite alone. All she wanted was to get into school and have friends but what she got was a group of girls who used her to pay for everything. For her, there wasn’t anything in life that made her happy. She saw the rest of her life as the same boring, hurtful day in and day out for the rest of her life. Then she met Asparagus. A girl who, like her, was hating each and every day. But this girl already knew she wanted to die. She had it all planned in her head on how she would take revenge on all the girls who picked on her and suddenly Manatsu had a new friend who she decided to die with.
The thing that I kept feeling as I was reading this first story was just how believable this whole scenario was. The moment Manatsu meets Asparagus we are taken into a world of near death and it is all painted as this beautiful thing. The girls hear about a rock star that jumps from a building and kills himself and how he is made into an immortal being, and worshiped all the more than when he was alive. And the girls want that. At this point I had to sit back and think “What is this author doing making suicide sound so great?” It was awful to read how wonderful suicide is and it upset me quite a lot (so much that I stopped reading and put it back on my shelf for another few weeks!) However, all of that changes in the eyes of Manatsu once she is forced to look at death first hand. The story was very powerful and it sends a message that cuts right into you.
That story alone in this book would have made me want to recommend this story but we are actually given two, and the second story is just as realistic as the first.
Satsuki is living her life as a teenage prostitute. How she got there is a very sad story indeed, but not one that doesn’t happen in real life. Her family was poor and things were not very good at home so she ran off to try to make money for herself so she could afford to eat. She started with stealing and she learned that sex was something she could make money doing, but her views of people were not the greatest. She thought of them as means to use to survive. So, when a man takes her in and tries to give her comfort, she is confused and doesn’t understand that there is such a thing as real love in the world. When he places trust in her she thinks of survival first, and steals something precious to him for money. Once it is gone she realises she was wrong to do so and when he still comforts her and shows her what love really is she realises that she doesn’t want to live the life she had been living on the streets. But when her old life interferes with her new one, things get rocky and it is then that the lessons of life are taught to her.
You know I feel weird recommending this series as highly as I am going to. This definitely isn’t for everyone. Those who have very high spirits about life may find this very depressing and those who are depressed may find comfort in this or may find a deeper depression. However, the series does make you feel something and what it makes you feel is real emotion and for that reason I am sure I will pick up the next volume to read. One thing that I hope gets covered during this 6 volume series, is the problems that boys face. As far as I’m aware each volume is about complex issues in the lives of girls. I think it’s an important issue to balance the ‘male / female’ boundaries and make it aware that it’s not only the female population that are burdened with such problems, but the males as well.