Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

hotel-on-the-corner-of-bitter-and-sweetAbout the Book:

Taken from Barnes and Noble:

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.

Forty years later, Henry Lee is certain that the parasol belonged to Keiko. In the hotel’s dark dusty basement he begins looking for signs of the Okabe family’s belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot begin to measure. Now a widower, Henry is still trying to find his voice–words that might explain the actions of his nationalistic father; words that might bridge the gap between him and his modern, Chinese American son; words that might help him confront the choices he made many years ago.

Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope. In Henry and Keiko, Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us of the power of forgiveness and the human heart.

My Thoughts:

I loved this book when I started it. I thought it was a beautiful story that was told so delicately and thought it would be like another Time Traveler’s Wife for me. But then I went into a sort of reading funk. And I don’t think it had anything to do with this book. I really can’t give this book a fair review because of that. It’s told at a slow place. It’s not an adventure story, it’s a story of love, acceptance, grief, discovery…and though the language was beautiful, it’s not what I was looking for at the time. It’s also told between two different time periods which sort of kept me distracted from each story individually. I usually don’t mind this type of format, but I had problems with it with this one. But like I said, this is a book that I think I may read at a later date and absolutely love. So I’m going to hold onto it for that reason. There are many more wonderful reviews out there that do this book much more justice. Here’s a link to the Google Book Blogs search so that you can read a less biased review.

5 Responses

  1. Reading funks make for bad reading, huh? I have all the time that I think I would love at a different type, so I hold on to them until then!

  2. I really want to read this. There have been such good reviews.

  3. This could be the same feelings that I have with Burnt Shadows right now.. 😦

  4. Sorry it wasn’t your cup of tea, but luckily there are plenty of books out there. Hope you have a lovely weekend!

  5. Hee hee, I actually have a category in for ‘Books I would Love if I would Just Finish’!! I have some pretty great titles listed. 🙂

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