Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
Sometimes its so nice to sit down to a good book with a good story.
Not too sappy, not too "romantic", and at the same time not too heavy.
I just finished Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and I think it lands comfortably in this not-so-easy to describe category. Henry Lee is the main character of the book, who in 1986 has just lost his wife to cancer. He is challenged as to what his life will now be without his wife, and also how to continue his relationship with his only son, which has become strained through the illness of his wife. Against these current events, Henry begins remembering a part of his childhood.
The book begins telling the story of Henry's youth during World War II while growing up in Seattle. He is the only Chinese boy at an all-white school until Keiko, a Japanese girl begins attending. The two strike up a strong friendship, both having to struggle being the only two people different from the whole school, and of course, battling the prejudice of being Asian while America was at war with Japan. The story quickly develops into a dramatic tale of Keiko and her family being forced to evacuate to internment camps with the rest of the Japanese population until the wars end. Henry, however, does not forget Keiko and their strong friendship and burgeoning young love.
I won't give anymore away, because the story is bittersweet and best enjoyed once the mood of wartime Seattle is established. The writing is well done, and the time period and topic so interesting. This book is a good one if you're in the mood for a good story!