Terri Lynn's Reviews > Farewell to Manzanar

Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
5699299
's review
Apr 29, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: children, nonfiction, young-adult, history
Read from April 08 to 29, 2012

Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston really breathes life into history with this book which tells the real-life story of her internment in a relocation camp during World War 2.

It is no secret that the USA is a racist country and always has been. Asians met with the same hateful behavior that Native Americans, blacks, etc have faced. I was glad to see the point made in the book by a person who sued the US government for being imprisoned during the war without having committed any crime nor undergone due process or court trial that both Germany and Italy were our enemies during the war yet there was no interment camps for German-Americans nor Italian-Americans (maybe they were too white?) . This is something my own father used to rant about when I was a child. He had been drafted as a young man into the war and sent to the Pacific where he nearly fell victim to Japanese kamikaze pilots and was at one time a prisoner of war of the Japanese and brutally tortured and abused yet remained refreshingly non-racist and spoke out against the internment as being racist and against our murdering and injuring Japanese housewives, babies, toddlers, grandmas, school kids, nurses, etc at Hiroshima and Nagasaki when the Japanese had attacked a military installation and we brutally and viciously acted like barbarians and murdered innocent civilians on purpose.

Jeanne and thousands of other Japanese-Americans, almost all who had been born in the USA and who mostly had never even been to Japan were essentially rounded up like the Nazis rounded up the Jews, based on being of Japanese heritage. They were herded into desert areas into squalid conditions that would cause a landlord to be deemed a slum lord and held prisoner for years with no charges of any crime leveled against them and no recourse. They lost their homes, businesses, and everything they owned.

Jeanne's story is about one family, her family, and what happened to them. I am richer emotionally from having read her story. This book reads like a conversation between friends. It was like she was talking directly to me. Even after they were freed (many just tossed out of the camps after the war with no where to go and everything lost) , it was as if there was still barbed wire between them and the rest of society as racism took the place of the barbed wire as a very real barrier they had to overcome.
5 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Farewell to Manzanar.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-21)




dateUp arrow    newest »

message 21: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa Vegan Oh, thank you for reminding me of this book. I read and loved it decades ago. Great review, Terri Lynn.


Terri Lynn You're welcome, Lisa. If you would like to see a book that is about the same issues, you might like Kiyo's Story: A Japanese-American Family's Quest for the American Dream which I won in a Goodreads giveaway and just treasure. Kiyo's Story is an adult book but one I would share with all teens.


message 19: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa Vegan Thanks. I'll check it out. I didn't even think of Farewell to Manzanar as ya, even though she was ya when imprisoned. I thought of it as an adult book suitable for 11 and up. Is it ya?


Terri Lynn It is usually labelled children's/YA. I have such a tendency to think that a good book is a good book and not be put off by whether it is labelled for kids or young adults, that I am puzzled sometimes by the labels. Farewell to Manzanar is on many middle school and high school reading lists. The book says the reading level is 6th grade but I think this is an excellent book for good readers from 4th grade to and including adults. Our local library had it in the YA department.


message 17: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa Vegan Thanks. I guess I'll add it to my ya shelf.

It's very subjective. When The Book Thief was first published, in Australia, it was published as an adult book, but its American publisher published it as ya. I love children's and ya and adult books, but I don't think age of the main protagonist should always determine what kind of book it is. I read To Kill a Mockingbird when I was 11 or 12 (and saw the movie with my parents when it came out when I was 9) but it is an "adult" novel.


message 16: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa Vegan Heck, I added it it to both my childrens and ya shelves. I guess I should have made an adult shelf so I could add some books to all 3 shelves!!!


message 15: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa Vegan Oh, yes, you've read it, and I voted for your review. ;-)


message 14: by Lilo (new) - added it

Lilo I do not understand either why Germans and Italians were not interned during WWII. Neither do I understand why the internment of the Japanese could not have been handled in a decent and humane way.


message 13: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa Vegan There should have been no internment at all!!!

It was people of Japsnese ancestry because Japan bombed Pearl Harbor/the U.S. It was feared they'd bomb the west coast, Cakifornia. Germany and Italy were farther away/focused on Europe.

One of the shameful actions in U.S. history.


message 12: by Lilo (new) - added it

Lilo Lisa wrote: "There should have been no internment at all!!!

It was people of Japsnese ancestry because Japan bombed Pearl Harbor/the U.S. It was feared they'd bomb the west coast, Cakifornia. Germany and Italy..."


I am not so sure. What if Germans or Italians or Japanese had launched terror attacks?

Yet I don't see any reason why internment could not have been handled in a decent and humane way.


message 11: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa Vegan Internment was a crime against American citizens. There was zero need for it. And I see no way to humanely imprision (and take away the property, possessions, and livelihoods) of innocent people. Men, women, children.


message 10: by Lilo (new) - added it

Lilo Lisa wrote: "Internment was a crime against American citizens. There was zero need for it. And I see no way to humanely imprision (and take away the property, possessions, and livelihoods) of innocent people. M..."

I don't know whether or not there was any need for internment. Yet if you say that there wasn't, I'll take your word for it.

I don't see any reason why internment would have to be what one calls imprisonment. And even less do I see any reason that it would have to involve taking away property and possessions. (Livelihoods would be more difficult. One might not be able to take one's job or business into a confined area.)

The way it was done was, definitely, wrong.

War is something terrible. It causes hardship not only on the battlefield. And internment, wrong and bad as it might be, is not the worst what happens during war. In Europe (and Japan) innocent civilians were bombed. They lost their property, their possessions, the roofs over their heads, quite often their livelihoods, and many lost their lives. I am not blaming the Allieds. This is war.

That's why war should be the very, very last resort to solve a conflict.

And there, GOP presidential candidates trash Pres. Obama's efforts to solve conflicts with diplomacy and also say that the U.S. navy should have fired at the Iranians in order to keep them from arresting the 8 soldiers who had crossed into Iranian waters.

War is ugly. It should be avoided if at all possible.


Lisa Vegan I 100% agree war should always be a last resort.

Unfortunately, humans are too crazy to not wage many unnecessary wars.

The Republicans terrify me.


message 8: by Lilo (last edited Jan 17, 2016 12:59AM) (new) - added it

Lilo Lisa wrote: "I 100% agree war should always be a last resort.

Unfortunately, humans are too crazy to not wage many unnecessary wars.

The Republicans terrify me."


The present GOP is no longer conservative; it has become fascist. And it terrifies not only you but a lot of people, including me and my husband.

You might wish to read this article:

http://www.businessinsider.com/donald...

I am afraid America wants a blonde Hitler.

And it is not only power-craving, intelligence-deprived, and bellicose Trump we are concerned about. The evangelical candidates seem to be equally dangerous. I strongly recommend reading "American Fascists: The Christian Right and its War on America", by Chris Hedges. Here is the link to my review of this book:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Also make sure to read "It Can't Happen Here", by Sinclair Lewis (written 1935). I am afraid that "It Can Happen Here". Here is the link to my review:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

It is an absolute must-read.

Non-Nazis made the mistake not to speak up while they still could have without risking their lives. (It took Hitler only weeks to turn Germany into a bomb-tight police state, once he was in power.)

Let us not make the same mistake. Let us speak up and spread the word. This is our only chance to alert those Americans who still have working brain cells and initiate these people to become active. We must not allow fascists into the White House and let them start WWIII.

Our world has presently many hot spots. One stupid action might ignite one and put the whole world on fire.


Lisa Vegan 100% agree, unfortunately, even without having read those books. I have my brain to tell me exactly what's going on. Terrifying. Trump is in a class by himself but in their ways the others are just as scary. I'll be volunteering for the November election.

Of course, climate change is the most important issue, as if the earth becomes impossible to sustain life, all the other issues become kind of moot. The Republicans are scariest there too.


message 6: by Lilo (new) - added it

Lilo Lisa wrote: "100% agree, unfortunately, even without having read those books. I have my brain to tell me exactly what's going on. Terrifying. Trump is in a class by himself but in their ways the others are just..."

I am glad you will be volunteering for the November election. I won't be able to--mainly because of chronic health problems. Yet I'll stir the pot on Goodreads. And should I find someone to help me set up a new Facebook page and teach me Facebook, I'll also be active on Facebook.

(I had signed up for Facebook in summer 2012. Soon after, a GR/Facebook friend, whom I have meanwhile unfriended and blocked, dragged a right extremist group to my Facebook page. This group spread outrageous lies and called openly for the assassination of President Obama. I did not know how to keep these right extremists from posting on my page, so I discontinued using Facebook.)

Campaigning here in Utah would not make much sense anyway. Half of the population in Salt Lake City and about 90% of the population in rural Utah are Mormons, and Mormons vote Republican, no matter what.


Lisa Vegan Lilo, I have major impediments too.

You could volunteer. They need people to make phone calls to independent voters and Democrats to get out the vote. To various states. They give lists and a way to make calls toll free.

The last time I volunteeed from California, I called Ohio, Florida, etc. states that could have gone either way.

As many or as few phone calls as you can do. There are other ways too help too, without leaving home and to areas other than your own.


message 4: by Lilo (last edited Jan 17, 2016 10:34PM) (new) - added it

Lilo Lisa wrote: "Lilo, I have major impediments too.

You could volunteer. They need people to make phone calls to independent voters and Democrats to get out the vote. To various states. They give lists and a way ..."


I can't. I have chronic respiratory problems that get much worse when I am talking on the phone. I am also hard of hearing. And on top of this all, when the country road in our area was widened, 6 years ago, the phone lines were damaged. Since then, the connection is bad. People have complained for years until they finally gave up. The phone company promised again and again to fix the problem, then, claimed each time to have fixed it, but it never was fixed. (A phone company employee told us privately that the phone lines would have to be replaced, but the company won't invest the money.)

For all the above reasons, I avoid using the phone whenever I can. The main reason is, however, my respiratory problem (10x pneumonia, countless other respiratory infections, chronic bronchitis).

The only way I can help is via internet.

My husband and I just watched the Democratic Debate. These are decent candidates, arguing their differences in a civilized way. Either of the Democratic candidates is 100x more suitable and acceptable for the Presidency than any of these vicious, phony, and belligerent GOP clowns.

Apart from everything else, Donald Trump's vulgarity and ill manners are outrageous. Did you know that there is a petition with 500,000 signatures in the UK to declare Trump persona non grata and ban him from entering the country? Well, it is unlikely to be granted, but it shows what people in other countries think of Trump. He is a disgrace to America.


Lisa Vegan Sorry for all your issues.

Keep an eye out because I'll bet there will be volunteer opportunities via the internet.


message 2: by Lilo (last edited Jan 17, 2016 11:02PM) (new) - added it

Lilo Lisa wrote: "Sorry for all your issues.

Keep an eye out because I'll bet there will be volunteer opportunities via the internet."


I will. And I am already on a private campaign on Goodreads. I take every opportunity to alert people to the article that tells about Trump studying Hitler's speeches and also to alert people to the books "It Can't Happen Here" and "American Fascists". Besides, I keep pointing out that today's Republicans are no longer conservatives but fascists. And I have also mentioned time and again that Donald Trump is using the very same methods as Hitler had been using to come to power.

I hope that some people who are on Facebook will spread the word. Facebook would be so much more effective for this purpose than Goodreads.


Lisa Vegan It's all over FB. But in both places it's mostly preaching to the choir. Others need to be reached. TV stations and publications are the best way to reach the most people. Calling and writing letters to them.

The trouble with political views is even when presented with compelling information and cogent arguments, very few people change their minds or even let in new information from sources they don't already trust.


back to top