Saturday, April 2, 2011

Goodreads Review: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and SweetHotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a beautifully written book about two children living in Seattle's International District just as the world is on the brink of war. Told partly through the juvenile eyes of Henry and the adult eyes of the boy who has now become a man, it follows the journey of two children finding one another in the midst of a time in our history full of hatred, prejudice and angst. As Henry and Keiko fall into one another, they eschew all standard societal protocol by going on scholarship to an all-white school, befriending a sax-playing African-American man, and breaking tradition by choosing one another in a time when races did not mix, let alone a Chinese boy and a Japanese girl.

This story is ultimately one of a love, first love that blossoms into a tragic unfolding as World War II rages on and all people of Japanese descent and anyone helping them are thrown into internment camps supposedly for their own safety. It's a microscopic look at what happened in one major city during the internment to the residents, their belongings, and the people left behind. And more than anything, it is a story about the real tragedy of war - the loss of innocence.

Based on real events, real places and a few real people, it is really an amazing story.

Rated PG for theme (war) and a few words befitting of the time.

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