Deana's Reviews > Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
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Jan 13, 11

bookshelves: 2011, wwii, 4-5stars
Recommended to Deana by: Bev
Read from January 05 to 09, 2011 — I own a copy, read count: 1

What a beautifully written book! But also so sad and eye opening. I had, of course, heard of the Japanese interment camps in the western US during WWII, but I had no idea what was involved, really. It's so difficult for me to imagine that such things went on right here in my own country. I do think the book has the wrong title, although I have no idea what title I would give it. I just don't think the title conveys much about the book, or the right impression of what is inside.

I cried multiple times during the course of the book, but really enjoyed reading it. I absolutely loved the characters of Sheldon and Mrs. Beatty - the author's favorites as well :) And I loved reading the interview with the author at the end about his family and his research, and also the short story he wrote (for Orson Scott Card, no less!) that eventually became this book.

For those who don't know the basic idea - Henry (born in America to Chinese parents) and Keiko (born in America to Japanese parents) become best friends as the only two Asian students in an otherwise all-white school. They bond over their similarities and their love for jazz. Henry's staunchly traditional Chinese parents (his father in particular) do not approve of his friendship with Keiko because he considers the Japanese to be "the enemy", and actually end up refuses to speak to his son for years because he persists in the disgraceful friendship even after Keiko and her family are placed in an interment camp. The story is told in both the 1940s and the 1980s, alternating, which for me really enhances the tale. Oh, and you get a lot of fun stuff to read about the jazz scene in Seattle in the 1940s, which is maybe the best part!

The only real qualm I have is near the end when his son [does something that I won't say because it's a SPOILER] and it says "... but to Marty, a few hours on his computer, a few phone calls ..." A few hours on his .... COMPUTER?! In 1986?! I -might- have gone for that in 1996... but 1986? No.

But I suppose it's a small thing. Read the book anyway.
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Reading Progress

01/05/2011 page 34
11.0% "Realized a few days ago I'm supposed to have read this for book club on Sunday! Finally arrived in the mail this morning. Lovely reading so far :)"
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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Diana I agree on the title... It could have been "Hotel Panama".... since it still contains the word hotel in it...


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