angrykitty's Reviews > So Far from the Bamboo Grove

So Far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins
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Apr 02, 09

bookshelves: 2009, bio-autobio, kids-teens
Read in April, 2009

i was looking at possible books for teachers to teach, and i came across this title, so i did what i always do when i'm unfamiliar with a title, i went to and looked at it's summary. much to my surprise, there were great reviews along with some really negative ones with real specific beefs. i'm finding that the beefs are pretty well founded....

this book wasn't bad, but if it's taught without a little history, the koreans look like total barbarians. it's unfortunate that at the end of the book, there is a note saying that it's not important to know of the history of korea to understand the book. that's kinda true, but also very false. it's a little strange that this book has been accepted and is even compared to "night" (bad bad comparison) by some. i think that guilt about the atomic bombs may have something to do with this. that's just my personal opinion though.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by William (new)

William johannson You seem to be one of very few with critical thinking ability to realize that this book has too many discrepencies, lacking historical truth or context. The real reason Yoko and her family were in Korea, her father's real job as an officer in a "medical" camp for experimenting on Koreans and Chinese.

Jaimie While I understand your point of view, I have to disagree with your overall perception of the book. I have read it many times, and have met the author, and what she is trying to do in this book is tell her story. She is not giving a history lesson, but telling what it felt like to be a young child in such a desperate situation. Of course the Koreans are going to look like total barbarians, because that is how they would appear to this young girl. This is why when I was young I really connected with this book- I was a little girl, reading the story of another little girl's drastically different life. It showed me a completely new perspective, and it has been a favorite ever since.

message 3: by William (new)

William johannson Jamie,

You as a teacher doesn't see the larger picture, perhaps, critical thinking ability. Problem is that this book is used to teach impressionable little kids, just like "Yoko," who as a little impressionable girl did not fully grasp the nature of her father's business in Korea; being an administrator of gulag for civilian torture and human experimental factory. This book is a fairy-story concocted from a child with false remembrance, now used by clueless elementary teachers to teach morals, ethics; what a joke!!!!

Somehow the Bataan Death March, Nanking Massacre and atrocities committed against Koreans by the likes of "Yoko's" father lost all relevance to the civilized people. The only importance, I guess, is teaching warm fuzzy, fairy tale without an iota of truth.

Isn't it ironic that we are constantly reminded of the terrible atrocities committed by the Nazis against the Jews, yet, so gullible enough to accept the idea that Anne Frank and the Jewish people were the cause of their own sufferings. Yes, this little book by "Yoko," is promoting this idea.

Melonbarmonster Yes Jamie that's why moral context and historical contexts are important. Some perspectives such as those that portray KKK, Nazi or Imperial Japanese perspectives that portray a narrow whitewashed image of the "protagonists" should not be taught in middle school especially when instructors are often entirely ignorant of East Asian history.

Mandy The author set out to write a memoir, not a book for you to teach. This was her own experience.

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