My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Kelly Luce’s Pull Me Under tells the story of Rio Silvestri, who, when she was twelve years old, fatally stabbed a school bully. Rio, born Chizuru Akitani, is the Japanese American daughter of the revered violinist Hiro Akitani–a Living National Treasure in Japan and a man Rio hasn’t spoken to since she left her home country for the United States (and a new identity) after her violent crime. Her father’s death, along with a mysterious package that arrives on her doorstep in Boulder, Colorado, spurs her to return to Japan for the first time in twenty years. There she is forced to confront her past in ways she never imagined, pushing herself, her relationships with her husband and daughter, and her own sense of who she is to the brink.
I’ll admit one of the most appealing elements of this book was the Japan setting, and I loved the snippets of Japanese culture described throughout. The details of the temple pilgrimage were fascinating and led me to seek more details about the trail outside of the book.
But travel inspiration aside, I did really enjoy this read. I loved how the story started off by recalling the narrators time spent in the detention centre; doing so really grabbed my interest and I was invested in the story before I knew it.
As we learned more about Rio as an adult I started to dislike her as she seemed selfish and dishonest. I tried to cut her some slack as her upbringing obviously caused some trust and relationship issues. I can (sort of) also understand how a lie told enough times can be believed as truth by the teller. Rio basically lied a little bubble around herself to protect herself from the truth of her past.
At first mention of the ‘black organ’ I thought we were going to hear about a Dexter-esque ‘Dark Passenger’, but it seemed to me that Chizuru was just referring to her heart. Dealing with the constant bullying and casual racism due to her parentage seems to have made 12 year old Chizuru hot-tempered and her heart/black organ reacts strongly to indignation. I wouldn’t say that’s particularly uncommon, but her reaction to it was interesting.
I never pictured her as a murderer. It wasn’t until her husband asked her whether she felt like a murderer that I even really associated that word with her. It certainly wasn’t a premeditated act, but it wasn’t exactly an accident either, so I’m not sure what to make of it.
This is book #1 for All The Short Ones Readathon 🙂
I’ve actually read 4 so far but am very behind in reviewing!