Ford, Jamie. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.
I looked forward to reading this ARC; both the title and the cover are enticing. The internment of Japanese citizens during WWII is a fascinating topic, and one that I've been interested in since reading Jeanne Wakatsuki's memoir, Farewell to Manzanar several years ago.
While the book provided a pleasant read, it did not measure up to my expectations. For the most part, I liked the characters, and the portions of the book that deal with the initial prejudice against and persecution of the Japanese are compelling...and terribly sad.
The scenes of Japanese-Americans burning photos, keepsakes, kimonos, and precious items that might connect them with Japan and thereby justify the seizure of their homes and property are particularly moving, and sadly, didn't prevent their eventual round-up and confinement.
Overall, however, the novel didn't quite coalesce. I'm afraid this is another book where my opinion will be in the minority...
Other reviews Two Kids and Tired, Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'?,
Fiction. Historical fiction. 2009. 285 pages.
More on the internment of Japanese Americans:
The documentary The Cats of Mirakatani, the story of artist Jimmy Mirakatani's internment and the subsequent effects on his life gives some fascinating information about the internment process. I really enjoyed this documentary.
Farewell to Manzanar, Jeanne Wakatsuki's memoir, describes life in the Manzanar camp, the indignities suffered, and the attempts to make life as "normal" as possible. YA.
Added to my TBR list:
When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka.
Another look at life in the camps and the inevitable and lasting consequences even after being released.
Tall Grass by Sandra Dallas.
Based on a camp in Colorado, the is described as "part mystery, part historical fiction, part coming-of-age story."
Looking Like the Enemy: My Story of Imprisonment in Japanese American Internment Camps by Mary Matsuda Gruenewald.
"In this eloquent memoir, she describes both the day-to-day and the dramatic turning points of this profound injustice: what is was like to face an indefinite sentence in crowded, primitive camps; the struggle for survival and dignity; and the strength gained from learning what she was capable of and could do to sustain her family."
Only What We Could Carry edited by Lawson Fusao Inada.
"The editor of this unusual anthology has drawn from a wealth of material: poetry, prose, biography, news accounts, formal government declarations, letters, and autobiography along with photographs, sketches, and cartoons that reflect the tragedy of the internment. Taken as a whole, it conveys the deep anguish felt by Japanese who defined themselves as citizens of the United States and yet lost their rights as citizens during a time of national fear."