A Gesture Life Summary

A Gesture Life Summary

Doc Hata is a WWII veteran for the Imperial Army of Japan who was conscripted for his medical background and recalls his time caring for women whom the army had abducted and raped. Doc tells the reader in flashbacks about his time serving for Japan in the war and also about his store and his relationship to his adopted daughter.

Doc starts by telling about his current home in an American town called Bedley Run, a small town of primarily affluent people where Doc manages to feel a sense of community again as the town shopkeeper. After selling Sunny Medical Supply, his pharmacy, the story follows his difficulty adjusting to a life without a specific role.

This is when he meets Liv Crawford, a real estate agent who is interested in selling Doc's house for him, so he considers the prospect of moving. He recalls Japan and his life there. His adoptive daughter Sunny also comes to mind, remembering his time with her, some good experiences and some more difficult. He remembers his old neighbor, and perhaps lover, Mary Burns, who Sunny rejected completely as a mother-figure. We learn during this flashback that Doc goes by 'doc' because his shop customers thought he was a doctor, but he's not. It becomes clear that Sunny and Doc have had a seriously rocky relationship, and something caused a rift between them.

Doc finds himself hospitalized and during his stay, he recalls how Sunny would run away, and sometimes she would hang out with the wrong crowd. He talks with the daughter of Officer Como, the police officer who begins to involve himself, although Sunny resents his authority. Suddenly, Doc realizes that he has everything he needs to reach back out to his daughter, so he does, telling stories along the way about the gruesome things he saw during the war, especially this one rape victim whose image haunts him still.

When he reconnects with Sunny, he learns that her store is the only one in the mall that's still open, and she's sure that she's going to lose her job. Doc offers to help raise her son, Thomas.

Doc still finds himself needing to talk more about K. K is the army's 'comfort woman,' which is a kidnapped victim that they rape brutally. He can't shake the brutality of her situation. He recalls how the officers fought for her, and how one Lieutenant actually befriended her and protected her, at least until his superior officer decided he wanted a turn with her. She kills the captain and Doc helps her to make it look like the officer killed himself on accident, but the reader is led to conclude that K's fate was violent gang rape until she died.

The novel shows Doc slowly resolving his season of post-trauma, perhaps helped along by his new rekindled relationship with Sunny and his grandson. He does end up selling his house after all.

Update this section!

You can help us out by revising, improving and updating this section.

Update this section

After you claim a section you’ll have 24 hours to send in a draft. An editor will review the submission and either publish your submission or provide feedback.