Interesting read, although some of the plot points at the end were mildly frustrating to me. Definitely made me more curious about both Hawaiian histoInteresting read, although some of the plot points at the end were mildly frustrating to me. Definitely made me more curious about both Hawaiian history and about how Hansen's disease has been viewed/dealt with over the years. ...more
I so wanted to love this as much as I did Middlesex, and unfortunately it fell quite short. Enjoyable enough but it failed to live up to my admittedlyI so wanted to love this as much as I did Middlesex, and unfortunately it fell quite short. Enjoyable enough but it failed to live up to my admittedly high expectations...more
I don't know what to say about this book. On the one hand, I pretty much hated every single character in the book. On the other hand, I don't rememberI don't know what to say about this book. On the one hand, I pretty much hated every single character in the book. On the other hand, I don't remember the last time I felt this much emotion towards a book; negative or positive. This is a deeply disturbing novel, one I wish to never read again. I don't even want the book in my house again. ...more
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is a WWII era Romeo & Juliet-esque story. Henry is a 12 year old first generation Chinese boy growing up wHotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is a WWII era Romeo & Juliet-esque story. Henry is a 12 year old first generation Chinese boy growing up with very conservative parents in Seattle. Keiko is a 12 year old second generation Japanese girl growing up just a couple blocks away. The two are the only non-Caucasians in their elementary school, and the two quickly bond over their similarities rather than their differences while working in the school cafeteria. But it's the time of Japanese internment, and things quickly change, when Keiko and her family are forced to evacuate Seattle. The story jumps between 1942-1943 and "current day" 1986 with Henry and his adult son.
** Plus 5 - Perfect spot-on Seattle details. Much like The Art of Racing in the Rain, it's clear the author lives in Seattle and knows it's history. I love it when someone gets the details right, down to street names, buildings, and local clam chowder.
** Plus 3 - Loved learning about a part of Seattle's history that I really didn't know much about sadly. Makes me wish I could have seen the International District prior to WWII.
** Minus 4 - Gonna be a while before I can go back to the Puyallup Fair. Reminders of its checkered history are tragic and unfortunately true.
** Plus 2 - Positive male role models coming from outside of the home. Henry's relationship with Sheldon really just made me happy that he had such a positive male influence when he had such a strained relationship with his father.
** Minus 3 - The mail clerk thing was kind of lame. So was the old man smoking on the steps at the jazz club. Contrived coincidences are just annoying as a plot point.
** Minus 4 - I don't understand Henry's father's actions towards the end of the novel. But then again, I don't understand the harsh bigotry he shows throughout the book either. It makes me sad that those feelings exist all over the world between countless groups.
** Plus 3 - I love that Sheldon and Henry remain friends throughout their lives. Again, it made me super happy.
** Plus 2 - A really nice love story. At 12 & 13, it's really just puppy love but the way it's portrayed I think is true to any love story at that age.
** Plus 3 - Cheers to hidden heroes. Anything more said, and I give away something, so I'll just leave it at that.
Final tally - Plus 7
Really this was one of the most enjoyable books I've read in a long time. It'd make a good accompaniment to The Help, with similar undertones of racism and fighting against it. Definitely recommend this one to anyone. Can't wait to read it again for book club....more