Today's blog we are focusing on a book club pick,
"Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" by Jamie Ford.
Synopsis from bn.com:
In the opening pages of Jamie Ford’s stunning debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol.My Thoughts:
This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry’s world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American.
I read this book a few weeks ago and I still don't know what to say about it. There is a lot of character interaction within this book, which I love. Henry's relationship with his son is very reminiscent of the relationship she has with his own father. I enjoyed seeing the similarities and Henry overcoming this area of his life.
I also enjoyed the history involved in the story. I didn't know much about the internment of the Japanese in the U.S. and it shocked me in some instances. I didn't realize they lived in camps and were driven from their towns. I also was surprised at the rampant racism many of the Japanese had to deal with during this time and I felt like I was there as I was reading it.
Things I didn't like...
- I didn't like Henry very much as a character. He came across as flat for me and I just didn't care for him as a character
- I HATED the faux romance Jamie Ford tried to put in the story. They were young kids during most of the book (Keiko and Henry) and it felt arbitrary to me.
- I'm not going to spoil it, but I didn't like the ending. Just wish it had ended differently for me.
All in all, I would give it a 3 Star rating out of 5. It's an interesting read but not something fabulous.
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: October 6, 2009