Angela is at a crossroads. New life and new death, discovering she is pregnant just as her beloved Obachan, Aiko, passes away. Paralyzed by the gravity of these two events happening at the same time, Angela floats through Aiko’s wake like a ghost.
Unexpectedly, Angela’s Auntie Pamela gifts her a box filled with family heirlooms, including tape recordings of her Obachan describing her time in the Japanese incarceration camps, and journals dating back to the 1970s written by her mother, Judith.
To escape reality, and to grapple with it, Angela throws herself into her family’s history and discovers how little she actually knows about the women closest to her. As she learns the truth of what happened to her family, she decides she needs to make their story more widely known. She zealously throws herself into project mode, leveraging her position as a Chicago TV news producer to create a ground-breaking news piece to make a statement: We cannot let history repeat itself.
I loved this book. We got such a personal look at the experience of living through the Japanese Incarceration camps during World War II told through tape recorder conversations between mother and daughter. I so appreciated all the female dynamics - sisters, grandmothers, daughters... the format is original and also classic. There’s a thread of hope throughout and we get to feel for each character. Highly recommend
To me this book honors the history of incarceration at Japanese internment camps while teaching the reader about it at the same time. This book is about race and identity and the struggle to be an American within those specific lenses. I love the past interviews mixed in with the journals.
When I first received an email asking if I was interested in reviewing this book I said yes as it sounded really interesting. However, when it arrived I wasn’t too sure if I would enjoy. But honestly it was an amazing read, and not what I was expecting at all.
This is an original fiction story that is written around real history. I found it really interesting and learnt quite a bit about the Japanese Internment camps. I didn’t even know they existed during World was II. I only ever remember learning about the main concentration camps at Auschwitz.
It’s really well written. I really liked the multiple narrators in the book, and enjoyed reading about how each member of the family were affected over the generations. The book is written with nice short chapters, which makes it such a quick read. While reading I became really invested in the characters and could really connect with them.
This is one book I wouldn’t have minded if it was a little longer, and definitely one I will be re-reading again as I feel there are things that I missed the first time around.
This was definitely a great read and would recommend very much.
Apologies for not going into this book in more detail but I really think it needs to be read in person.
I think when I picked up this novel I was expecting more about the concentration camps on American soil during World War 2. Instead, I was pleasantly drawn into this study of familial relationships and racial identity.
Just as her Japanese-American family is burying her grandmother, or Obachan, Angela learns that she is expecting her first child. On top of this, her Aunt Pamela gifts her a collection of cassette tapes of a teenaged Pamela interviewing her mother, Aiko, Angela's Obachan, about her time in the camp Amache. The story that unfolds pulls you in and gets you invested in the relationships that play out. From the inability of Angela and Judith to connect, to the past difficulties between Judith and Aiko, the loving patience of their husbands and the strong personalities of all of the women in Angela's family, I was crying through the last several chapters of this novel.
I love Kelly's writing style and adore her characters, and I definitely recommend this book!
This is a wonderful book for our time, as it dives into racism and family relationships and how we can use our talents to inform and speak out for change. I wanted Angela’s project to be real, so I could watch the videos!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Family is a stage play. Every member is complimenting one another to keep the show going. Backstage is dark, full of secrets and unexpressed feelings. A lucky family is the one with the least onstage transformations. Every member coming to the spotlight with their baggages, revealing no much difference between the stage and the back, fully ready to find harmony still. THE STORIES WE CHOOSE NOT TO TELL is an access into the theater of Angela's family. More importantly, it is an access to the back stage where all the unreconciled truths reside. Listen to your heart closely, there are facts, feelings, and thoughts you aren't sharing with your loved ones. This is inherent in every individual. Relationships, however, are expressions and revelations of our individuality for the purpose of existing in another's space, for the purpose of connection, and for the purpose of intimacy. This relatable fact is what makes the book so gripping. This book is filled with palpable, relatable, and well written characters. It is so much to the author's credit that emotions were seemingly effortlessly transferred from the pages to the heart of this reader. The book is well paced, and politically and historically conscious. THE STORIES WE CHOOSE NOT TO TELL shines a light on a people who could easily have been us.
I loved this book! I liked Weiss' previous book, which was more science fiction, but she has the same attention to character and detail in this book. The subject was obviously very personal to her and the care she felt came through in the construction of the book. She used multiple narrators well to explore different points of view. She also used transcripted conversations to provide background and I thought that worked really well because she never relied on it too heavily, just enough to advance the story.
Mostly it touched me because it made me thing more about my mixed-race upbringing, and think about more of what my parents went through in the 60's being a Latinx-Anglo couple, and how their relationships with their families were impacted. I think I may buy a copy for my parents.
The Stories We Choose Not to Tell by Kelly Fumiko Weiss was unputdownable! The story flows between the main characters which gives us the reader an intimate look into what they're thinking and feeling. While the story itself is fiction, the history and events that occurred in the book is centered around is all too real. Weiss includes an account of her family at Amache in the Author's note, which is definitely not to be skipped over.
For fans of contemporary fiction with historical elements this book is for you!
I loved this book! As a Japanese American with a great-grandfather who was incarcerated in 1941 the storyline resonated with me. Like the character Judith, I wish I knew more about what happened during the war. Like Judith’s family, my great-grandfather, grandmother and parents didn’t really talk about their experiences. The author did a great job of representing the viewpoints of three Japanese generations; the struggle with identity and acceptance. She verbalized my personal struggles and I totally related to the story. A very appropriate and perfect title for this book.
This has to be one of my favourite books I have read this year! What a beautiful moving story. I loved the main character Angela and her different relationships that she has with each of her family members.
Author Kelly Fumiko Weiss also includes photographs and tells her own family's story in the Author's Notes which I think make this book this book feel a lot more personal and special to the readers it is intended for.
This is a beautiful story about family, loss, and the insufferable toll that incarceration of Japanese citizens had on our country. What I love about this story is that you really hear the voices of the characters. And it gives a view of love that crosses generations. The inclusion of multiple love stories adds layers to this story- but the real gem is the fictional tapes of Aiko and her daughter Pamela and how as daughters we hear our parents but we never really “hear” them.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.