My Thoughts On The Hotel On The Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

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I loved this book.

Henry Lee is 12 years old in 1942. He is a Chinese boy, living in Seattle, forced to go to an all-white school where he is teased and mocked. To pay for attending this school, he has to work in the school kitchen and do chores for the school after classes.

It’s horrible until another Asian student starts at the school. Keiko. She’s a welcome relief to the isolation that Henry has felt but for one thing — she is Japanese. Not only is she an enemy to the Chinese but she is an enemy in America.

Even though the relationship is forbidden, Henry and Keiko become best friends and Henry falls in love with her.

But the war progresses and thousands upon thousands of Japanese Americans are rounded up and placed in camps for the majority of the war.

Henry and Keiko are separated.

This story is told through he eyes of Henry in 1984. His wife has recently died and he confronts his past when they open up The Panama Hotel and find the personal belongings many Japanese families were not able to take with him. In the collection are some of Keiko’s items.

It was a great story. I cried at the end, it was just really well done. The character development in this book is also well done. I loved Mrs. Beatty and Sheldon. They were amazing adults and friends, always there when Henry needed someone. I really liked them.

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3 thoughts on “My Thoughts On The Hotel On The Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

    tina said:
    January 26, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    I really liked this book also. It was especially interesting because I grew up not 5 miles from a Japanese internment camp and had heard stories of it my whole life. One of my grandpa’s shed’s (very long shed) was one of the “housing units” that was in the camp. We called it “The Jap House.” I never really realized why it was called that until I was in my teens . . . . . and then was embarassed, because the term “Jap” wasn’t very nice!!! We recently took McKay to the camp site. Hopefully it left an impression on him as it has done me.

    LeeAnn Volk said:
    February 6, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    This is a great book. Causes one to think about things that happen outside of there own sphere. A great book for a book club!

    Stephanie said:
    February 21, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    I loved this book too. The story was well written and it was from a different perspective than I’d ever read of those events. Chinese Americans aren’t the first people that come to mind when you think of WWII. But wow that added a whole new dimension to the story. It was soooo good!

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