Don's Reviews > The Buddha in the Attic

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
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's review
Apr 25, 2012

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bookshelves: historical-fiction
Read from March 08 to 14, 2015

Interesting book to read, for several reasons. The book tells the story (stories) of Japanese women who came over to the California in the earliest 20th Century as mail-order brides; their struggles in a new country and culture, with husbands who were not who they thought, and a life that was not what they expected. The book ends during World War II, with the Japanese, after having established lives in their community, having their kids attend the same schools as their neighbors, being transported out due to their ancestry to the Interment Camps the U.S. government set up for Japanese during the war.

As such, the book is very powerful; powerful in how it describes the life of these women (in first person plural voice), and how it relates the communities the Japanese lived in following their transportation to the Internment Camps.

But the unique voice of the narration, that first person plural, also made it incredibly difficult to relate to any individual characters in the book; as such, with the individual connection gone, it almost feels more like non-fiction, the story of a people, as a group. Obviously, that's an author's prerogative, but it made certain realities of the book, horrible realities, feel more distant, where maybe an individual story arc would have brought those pains and hardships of that reality more to life to a reader.

In any event, interesting read, and touches on something in U.S. History that should never be forgotten, lest we repeat ourselves.

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Reading Progress

03/08/2015 marked as: currently-reading
03/14/2015 marked as: read

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