Linda'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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Apr 07, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: woodland-reads, celebrating-books-club, ridge-street-book-club, world-war-ii
Read from March 04 to 20, 2011

It is hard to believe that this was a debut novel written by Jamie Ford. He did an outstanding job writing this story, and the book will make you feel, think, cry and smile. I found this gentle tale of love and friendship and loyalty between unlikely classmates to be delightful.

The date was 1942 and Henry was the only Chinese student in an all white school. One day a new person enters the story. It is Keiko, a Japanese girl who will work with him in the school cafeteria since the are both scholarship students. The story of Henry and Keiko and the relationship between a Chinese boy and his female Japanese classmate are set in when there was a climate of fear and anger during the time of bombing in World War II. It demonstrates the power of friendship, loyalty and love in many different ways.

Henry’s complicated relationship with his father is pivotal in understanding the tensions within families during that time as well as those that exist in many families today. Henry’s wonderful friendship with the sax playing Sheldon help bring the Seattle setting to life and adds an entire glimpse of the history of jazz in Seattle that I was unaware of before reading this novel.
As the Panama Hotel (where the history is both ‘...Bitter and Sweet...’) enters the scene and it is filled with untold history and mementos that are a focal point for the story.

Ford writes in a way that draws the the reader in and I became involved with the characters and their lives and really began to care about what was happening to them. This story shows that relationships can surmount even the harshest of prejudices and serves as a model for us all. It reminds us of the struggle between generations particularly when they are of different cultures.

There is much truth and fact underlying this book and it is at times difficult to remember it is a work of historical fiction rather than a nonfiction story. I recommend this wonderful book for all to read, young adults and adults alike and give it an unconditional 5 stars. I am looking forward to his next book with great anticipation.
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message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Itotally agree with your review of Hotel on the Corner... I really enjoyed the writing, the story and the very real political climate I remember as a teenager in World War II.


Bookclubcheerleader Linda: A well-written review! So good to see you at both author events--Jamie Ford Day-last Thursday!
Cheers!
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