From the Bookshelf of Crazy Challenge Connection

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
Start date
May 1, 2012
Finish date
May 31, 2012
Why we're reading this
Book of the Month - May 2012
Discussion to follow in June 2012
Discussion Leader: Mibelle

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Henry Lee, a 12-year-old Chinese American, has only one friend at Rainier elementary school in 1942 Seattle. She is his fellow cafeteria worker/scholarship student – Keiko Okabe – a second-generation Japanese American. The events of World War II will greatly affect these two young people, on the cusp between childhood friendship and teenage love. Fast forward to 1986 Seattle, where Henry has recently lost his wife, Ethel, to cancer. When the Panama Hotel’s new owner begins renovations to r
Feb 18, 2011 Suzanne rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Color My Palette Challenge - Golden Glow
Recommended to Suzanne by: RBC - Feb 2011
I really want to say this book was bittersweet, but given the title that would be too easy. The story was heart-renderingly tender and poignant. I knew that nearly all Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during WWII, but I got a deeper glimpse into this travesty through the Okabe family's story. You sort of know how the story is going to go, yet at some point you just let yourself get lost in it and surrender your emotions. The looking at the past from the present narrative seemed e ...more
Just as the title states, this is a bitter sweet story. When an abandoned hotel is Seattle is re-opened and a treasure trove of old items from the Japanese families interned are found in the basement, Henry Lee (Chinese) starts searching for an item that evokes numerous bitter sweet memories of his unlikely friendship with Keiko (Japanese). Their friendship is tested by family and racial tensions, as well as distance when Keiko and her family are relocated to an internment camp in Idaho. Such a ...more
This was good. Didn't go as fast as I thought it would. It was a bit hard reading because it was kind of sad. I felt bad that he never really had anyone growing up. Family wasn't there and no friends other than Keiko and Sheldon. Very lonely.
I usually don't read historical fictions, but I'm so glad I read this one! The writing was captivating and the story was sweet. I learned several facts about the Japanese internment camps across the US and even did some additional research online looking up places and people mentioned in the book. The characters are definitely going to stick with me for awhile! I didn't want the book to end.
Absolutely loved this!
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Shelves: own
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