My parents were visiting during Christmas and my mom saw a copy of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford on my coffee table. She picked it up to leaf through it and became almost instantly enamored with the book. She was so engrossed that I asked her to take the novel home, finish it and write up a guest blog review. (Not really all that noble of me....I'm waaaay behind due to the construction work we'd been doing)
*drumroll.......Presenting for the first time ever in the arena of the world wide web.......IMikk, The Optimistic Bookfools mom. with her Very First Review......applause applause..... (Thanks mom....now mail it back so I can read it too.....*grin.....)
My daughter gave me your book to read over our Christmas holiday with her. I loved it! I grew up in Northern Minnesota during the war years. We were aware of the Japanese Relocation program but it did not directly affect us as we were isolated from them. We saw the German children suffer the same consequences as Henry and Keiko did. At times it was very harsh and I felt very sorry for them. Both my German friends, and Henry and Keiko. Some of the German children by comparison were very large and husky so the bullies were not able to intimidate them by size. One of those German classmates was not very smart and had he not been tall and husky he would have had more than the silent treatment accorded him. I remember him because he taught me to ride a bike for the first time when I was in the fifth grade. A seventh grade English teacher who was German tried to teach us the German language during our lunch hours if we wanted to remain inside. When our parents became aware of it she was no longer there. Still their suffering did not compare to the Japanese relocation. I could not fathom a United States of America allowing thugs to walk into the Japanese homes on the eve of their relocation and take whatever they wanted out of their homes. I felt the Japanese triumphed over their captors in building their camps and making things work again. I would like to have seen Henry's Chinese parents explored more deeply. Sheldon knew and felt the things Henry was feeling. He was able to tolerate a lot of things through his music that Henry could not from his background understand. This book points out the many forms of discrimination that exist in all societies. I will read any other book you write as this one struck a very bitter, sweet memory within me which had nothing to do with the hotel.