This book was amazing. I didn't have high hopes when I picked it up, but I was most pleasantly surprised. Like historical fiction? I completely recommend Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet!
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: January 27, 2009
Source: Amazon Purchase
Genre: Historical Fiction, General Fiction
Original Review Date: December 28, 2011
Rating: 5 bookmarks
Synopsis: 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.
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. While "scholarshipping" at the exclusive Rainier Elementary, where the white kids ignore him, Henry meets Keiko Okabe, a young Japanese American student. Amid the chaos of blackouts, curfews, and FBI raids, Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship - and innocent love - that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors. And after Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the internment camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept. cont.
I really felt for Henry and Keiko. They went through so much as young preteens during the 1940's. From dealing with their own individual identities, their families identities and how those meld together as Americans born with Chinese/Japanese heritages, respectively. Even though Henry's father seemed harsh, I could see what he was trying to accomplish with his son. He went about it in an more traditional Chinese manner, in my opinion the wrong way, but I believe that he felt in his heart, he really felt he was doing what was best for Henry.