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Forgiveness

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really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  2,130 Ratings  ·  322 Reviews
The heart-rending true story of two families on either side of the Second World War-and a moving tribute to the nature of forgiveness

When the Second World War broke out, Ralph MacLean traded his quiet yet troubled life on the Magdalene Islands in eastern Canada for the ravages of war overseas. On the other side of the country, Mitsue Sakamoto and her family felt their plea
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Hardcover, 272 pages
Published June 3rd 2014 by HarperCollins Publishers
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❀ Susan G
https://ayearofbooksblog.com/2018/01/...

One of the many wonderful things about Canada Reads is that it encourages Canadian’s to read books… books that you might not normally come across, books that make us think, books that we can debate and books that change us! As my followers know, I love Canada Reads! Attending the 2017 Canada Reads finale was one of my book highlights of the year.

The theme for the 2018 Canada Reads is: One Book to Open Your Eyes and the Canada Reads 2018 long list of 15 boo
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Brandon
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
In Forgiveness, Mark Sakamoto tells the story of his maternal grandfather, Ralph MacLean, who had spent a number of years clinging to life as a POW in a Japanese prison camp during the second World War and his paternal grandmother, Mitsu Sakamoto, who had been forced from her home and province following the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces.

The details surrounding Ralph’s imprisonment were harrowing to say the least. I found myself having to put the book down multiple times as the descr
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Kathleen
FORGIVENESS: A Gift from My Grandparents by Mark Sakamoto is the heart-rending true story of two people on either side of the war and a moving tribute to the nature of forgiveness. This book is the winner of the Canada Reads Prize in the year 2018!

Mark 11:25 "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. "

"A relatable journey of real-life ups and downs-humble reminders throughout, to be more kind and forgiv
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Edward Fenner
Whoever edited this book deserves a demotion or a dismissal. The prose style is mostly fine and often quite wonderful but it is also quite inconsistent with some very abrupt and oddly-placed sentences. And it reads a bit rough in places. I did enjoy Sakamoto's attention to detail in the WWII-era stories. I cared for those people and felt for them. There were many injustices all around but I felt there were far too many leaps and gaps in the narrative. The vignettes were fine but their arrangemen ...more
Magdelanye
Forgiveness is not a transaction. It is not an exchange. Forgiveness has nothing to do with the past. p237

This book is part investigative journalism but also an act of devotion to the authors family. Ralph McLean, a Canadian, and Mitsue Sakamoto, also Canadian, both endured world war II as prisoners on opposite sides of the world. Ralph, the authors maternal grandfather, a soldier from the Magdalen Islands, spent over 3 years as a prisoner of the Japanese in Hong Kong. His paternal grandmother,
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Barth Siemens
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Barth by: Canada Reads 2018 longlist
Michael Ignatieff called this book "part memoir, part saga." While the first part of the book taught me a little more about Japanese-Canadian family life in the mid-20th centure, I look for more story in my saga. I instead it comprised a decently written biography.

I didn't perceive that the latter part of the book added much to the overall work. I look for more reflection in a memoir.

I chose this book because it was listed on the Canada Reads longlist. I hope it does not make the shortlist.
David
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian
Every March in Canada we have this odd competition, Canada Reads. It began in 2002 and features five panelists arguing over five books over four days vying to be the worthy book. Each year there is a theme and this year it was the “book to open your eyes.” Yes with all that snow (it’s been a long winter) Canadians are drawn together by a “book fight.” The panelists are varied, including a tornado hunter, a fashion journalist, a singer, an actor and a TV host. And the books are quite varied as we ...more
Sandra
Jun 21, 2014 rated it liked it
All in all a good book, especially for a debut novel. My rating of a three stems from my desire for the book to have delved farther into the process of forgiveness between the author's maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother. Sakamoto does a great job in the first 3/4 of the book describing the experiences of both these grandparents - one as a POW prisoner and one as a displaced Japanese Canadian. What happened to these individuals after these experiences? Did the POW grandfather suffer fr ...more
Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺
I found this book a slow read until the last few chapters when the story moves into the author’s own life instead of his grandparents’ stories. Although his grandparents endured incredible hardships, the writing fell flat. It wasn’t until Sakamoto started talking about himself that I felt emotions coming through the words.
Carolyn
Jul 09, 2018 rated it liked it
This is the recent winner of the CBC’s Canada Reads award. It is an unique family story but am reluctantly giving the book 3 stars. It was narrated in a manner which failed often to convey to me the emotions I should be feeling. The two WW2 stories which occurred separately on both sides of the globe involving the author’s grandparents were masterfully and sympathetically told. The book needed better editing. There were geographic and historical errors.

The theme of forgiveness was interwoven i
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Brian
Mar 13, 2016 rated it liked it
(3.5) Quite a book-worthy family tree!

I enjoyed reading Mark's narratives of his grandparents and parents. I learned a lot about how Japanese were treated in Canada during World War II (particularly in British Columbia). How awful this was, but how it was crucial to Mark ever coming into existence. The lives that his families lived were certainly eventful and worthy of being written down. The narrative is largely engaging, but could be a little more literary and definitely could benefit from mor
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CynthiaA
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was the winner of the 2018 Canada Reads debates, and what a worthy winner!

Sakamoto tells 3 interwoven stories in this memoir of love and forgiveness: his maternal Grandfather who suffered terribly as a Japanese POW during WWII; his paternal Grandmother, a Canadian-born Japanese women who lost everything during the interment of Japanese citizens during WWII; and his own relationship with his alcoholic mother during his childhood and teens. The writing is exquisite and the stories are fu
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Mj
3 stars. A moving and informative memoir about family members involved in WW11 - how Canadians of Japanese descent fared “at home” and how Canadians fared abroad as soldiers at war in Japan and in POW camps. Sakamoto has paid wonderful tribute to his grandparents (paternal and maternal) by sharing their stories.
Found it touching, eye-opening and inspirational - an excellent way of honouring his grandparents by the author. Even more important, was that Sakamoto kept their stories alive and share
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Kathleen Nightingale
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto won the Canada Reads award for 2018. Jeanne Beker defended this book to the end and it was an outstanding win. I was drawn to the story line and couldn't wait to read the book. I was certainly not disappointed. I learned more about the Second World War and how Japanese took POW and how Canada dealth with Japanese Canadian's and internment. It is so unfortunate when man evokes harm in the most cruel and inhumane way toward other men and women in society.

This book is a
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Julia O'Hanley
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Put it down for a little while but SOOOO glad I picked it back up. If I had to guess, this might be my #1 pick of 2018. So amazingly brilliant and beautiful.
Nadine Hiemstra
Really interesting way to hear from two different sides of the war. I really appreciated the opportunity to learn and hear the stories of people whose experiences could have easily been lost to time. The writing wasn’t as engaging as I would have liked, but I thought it was a decent overview of a family’s experiences across generations.
Jacqueline
Heard about this book from the 2018 Canada Reads shortlist. Bought a copy and loved it. Most of the book tells the story of the author's grandparents - a grandmother that suffered through the discrimination of being a Japanese descendant living in Canada when we treated the Japanese people horribly and a grandfather that suffered the horrors of being a Canada solider captured by the Japanese. Both could have grown up bitter against the other's people group, but they chose to forgive and live fre ...more
Ann-Marie
"My grandparents bore witness to the worst in humanity. Yet they also managed to illuminate the finest in humanity."
A tale of 3 interwoven family stories that share the complex & difficult experience of each core player (the author, his maternal Scottish Canadian grandfather & his paternal Japanese grandmother) experienced in their pivotal twenties. The book challenges the reader to explore your own capacity for forgiveness, examine your own Canadian family story (big gaps in my own that
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Jennifer
Feb 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Kudos Mr. Sakamoto. It must have taken a ton of courage for you to sit down with your family members and re-open old wounds from decades ago. Then to have the strength to put your private pain in this book and send it out into the world for all to read and critique.

Your rather unique and interesting story is an ultimately triumphant one in the end, where it's evident that the power of hope and love is what has held your family together.

I come away now from your book still wanting to know more of
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Luke
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I have ever read. The stunning and at times horrific story is written in a real and impactful style.

Favourite part: The pacing of the book was fantastic. The reader experiences a buildup to what seems to be the climax, and then a slight reprieve before building up again to the final climax and denouement.

Least favourite part: Honestly not much. The authors part of the story following the climax seemed at times a bit rushed. He could have expanded more upon his personal expe
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Rach
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The backbone of this memoir is the alternating stories of Mark Sakamoto's grandparents. On his mother's side, his grandfather, Frank, was a young Canadian soldier who miraculously survived years in prisoner camps in Japan. On his father's side, his grandmother, Mitsue, and her family were forced out of their urban Vancouver homes by a racist government and moved to rural Alberta to work as farm laborers in deplorable conditions.

The true heart of this story is not the tragedies endured, but the
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Elyse
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lise Pomerleau
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wow. Not at all what I expected. I had heard that the book involved Canadian prisoners of Japanese war camps and the expulsion of Japanese Canadians from their homes. I thought I knew something about both of these subjects, and I usually avoid books about war as I find them too upsetting. But...he had me at the title. Forgiveness is a subject I’ve spent a lifetime struggling with. I wondered how either of the groups described could possibly forgive their transgressors. Also my friends and Canada ...more
Katy
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canadian, memoir, politics
How very Canadian! I am always fascinated with the Canada Reads competition. This year was no exception. The theme was “One book to open your eyes”, and I was intrigued how both fiction and non fiction could be pitted against one another for the grand title. This book was the winner... and what a fine choice.
The author is quite a talented storyteller yet the story is true. While the plot is forgiveness the story spans three generations of Canadians. It starts during or shortly before World War
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Ruby Sarkar
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For a book only 200 and some pages long, this was one of the most thoughtful and genuine novels I have ever read. Mark Sakamoto parallels the stories of his grandparents in the 1940s; his Canadian maternal Grandfather who was captured as a POW and sent to Japan and paternal Japanese-Canadian Grandmother whose family was unjustly forced out of their Vancouver community and into the prairies along with thousands of others Japanese Canadians.

Sakamoto's stories provides three perspectives that he in
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Julie
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the Canada Reads Winner and I really enjoyed it. The story of Mark Sakamoto's Japanese paternal grandmother and his Caucasian maternal grandfather is very poignant as his grandfather was a POW in Japan, and his grandmother was forced from her home in Vancouver and sent to work in Alberta. I loved the telling of Ralph and Mitsue's stories. The part I was not expecting was when Mark delves into his own story and his guilt around his mother and her addiction issues. But it certainly fits wi ...more
Shari Reimer
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well written and a must read for any Canadian. I grew up and live in southern Alberta and went to school/worked with Japanese Canadians and yet didn’t know all the details of their history.

I also appreciated the Grandfathers heart wrenching story- the details of the POW camp would have been so hard to retell and especially to his grandson. I have read “Unbroken” and the experiences described are very similar.

I felt however that the tie-in with the grandparents stories and the author’s story wa
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Scott Dempsey
Apr 29, 2018 rated it liked it
A compelling story rich with history, though the third segment left me wanting more. The idea for the book originated as an essay and to me it shows. The extended history from both grandparents perspectives was engaging, though the book culminates to a point that seems small in comparison to the history it told.

The whole story is told as a description of events that happened and I was left wanting more about what became of the main players in the story along the way. What are their thoughts now
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Linda
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Although I was aware of the mistreatment of both interned Japanese Canadians and prisoners of war captured by the Japanese in WWII, I had never read any of the details of their experiences. Mark Sakamoto’s book spares no horrendous details in telling his grandparents’ stories, but in the end his message is so uplifting. It’s a celebration of human strength, humility, and above all, the power of forgiveness. I read this book in one day. I couldn’t put it down. The winner of CBC’s Canada Reads 201 ...more
Jill
Disappointment. While it was a quick read, I was so hopeful that I would be able to relate to this book. My parents were interned during the war. I was hoping to read about Mark’s experience growing up with Japanese heritage but ended up being about his mother’s alcoholism. I felt the book lacked reflection on forgiveness.

The book ended up being the 2018 winner of Canada Reads and I felt the book didn’t received substantial criticism except for one panelist who I heard apologizing to the author
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Does forgiveness require an exchange betwen two people? 2 14 Jul 17, 2018 08:54AM  
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MARK SAKAMOTO, a lawyer by training, has enjoyed a rich and varied career. He began his professional career in live music, working with several international acts. He has worked at a national law firm, a national broadcaster and has served as a senior political advisor to a national party leader. He is an entrepreneur and investor in digital health, digital media and real estate. He sits on the Bo ...more
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“But I realized now that forgiveness is not a transaction. It is not an exchange. Forgiveness has nothing to do with the past.” 2 likes
“Breaking down is the easy part. Anyone, at any time, can break down. The act of coming together again is what makes a hero. Moving on, with an open heart, seems, at times, impossible. But it’s not.” 2 likes
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