kira-kira by Cynthia Kadohata

Kira-kira: glittering; sparkling. That is the word that Katie’s older sister Lynn used to describe everything beautiful in her life. The sea, people’s eyes, and the wondrous stars are some of the things that she described.

Lynn was Katie’s best friend. She was the one who taught Katie her first word: kira-kira. They were very close, and never fought. As Katie and Lynn go older, their family’s Japanese grocery store went out of business and they were forced to move to Georgia with other family to make a new life. Their parents became workers at a hatchery, and had to work long hours to be able to pay for the bills.

One night, when Katie and Lynn are playing kickball with some of the neighborhood kids, Lynn was hit in the chest and knocked to the ground. Everyone ran towards her. As she stood up, she could barely walk because of the dizziness that followed, and they immediately took her home. This accident may seem minor, but it leads to horrible things to come.

As weeks, maybe months pass; they are forced to take her to the hospital as her condition worsens. They have her tested for any serious illnesses or injuries, and find that she is fatally anemic. She has to stay home and rest, and is not allowed to go to school. As she becomes more ill, the family’s life goes downhill as well. It’s almost like her illness is poising the family’s welfare as well and is making them miserable. She becomes worse, and is diagnosed with lymphoma. When Katie finds this out, she looks it up and realizes that Lynn might die. Lynn has to be treated more and more, and the family goes deep into debt, and has trouble paying it off.

As Lynn continues to get worse, their parents take out their hidden savings and a bank loan, and buy Lynn a house. After they move into the new house, Lynn miraculously gets better. It’s like the house itself is healing her. Lynn is finally able to go to school and becomes a straight ‘A’ student. But she becomes ill once again, and has to go back into bed rest.

On New Year’s, after trying to make Lynn take her iron pill’s, Katie becomes angry at her sister and they begin to fight. Lynn says that she hates her and Katie, having gone through enough, leaves the room for a break from her stubborn sister. She goes out onto their roof, and watches the sunrise, on January 1st. She climbs back through the window and her parents walk into the room. When they check on Lynn, they find that she has passed away, when no one was with her. Katie instantly begins to feel horrible, because she was the one that had to force her to take her pills. She was the one she fought with before she died. She was the one that she hated her last night alive.

At Lynn’s funeral, people threw red roses into the hole where they buried her coffin. As her father steps up to throw his single white rose, he misses the hole and it falls behind her gravestone. Everyone just watches in silence as her uncle goes and picks up that one white rose and lays it gently into the hole. As her father begins to cry, Katie runs away into their house, knowing that if she hears her father cry, she will lose herself and won’t be able to hold onto her bravery.

After the service, people come back to her house for a “get together”. As she walks among them, she hears that when they are talking about Lynn, they don’t refer to her as Lynn. Instead they call her “The body” or “That girl”. Katie begins to get angry, and stands in the middle of the room and shouts “SHE ISN’T JUST A BODY! SHE WAS MY SISTER SO DON’T ACT LIKE SHE WAS A THING! HER NAME IS LYNN!!” and runs out of the room, and onto the bed that Lynn used to occupy.
After all of the celebrations for the New Year, Katie takes the family to California, where Lynn was sure she’d live after she graduated college. As they walk along the shore, Katie could hear her sister’s voice whispering through the waves; “Kira-kira, kira-kira.”

This story shows the life of what some families have to go through every day, and what their pain and suffering is like. I think this book is also meant to show you that you should be grateful for the people you love and that are in your life, because you never know when they might leave you forever. And you should live your everyday the best you can.





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Scheffel said...
Oct. 10, 2011 at 10:50 am
Kira-Kira is such a great book. I love how they told it from Katie's point of view. It made it more interesting that way. I also love the relationship between Lynn and Katie becuase they have a strong love for each other. You should definately read this book!
 
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