Sunday, March 11, 2012

Februrary 12th, 2012 - Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford was a cute long as you didn't think about things too much.

Quick synopsis:  Henry Lee's wife dies when he's in his late 50s and, after grieving her, he starts reflecting on his his first love, Keiko Okabe. They met in the 1940s when Henry, a Chinese American, is assigned to school kitchen duty with Keiko, a Japanese American, in their all white private school. He discovers he's in love with her right as she and her family are being sent away to the Internment Camps. The book goes back and forth from his experiences in falling for her in the 40s and his life in the 80s.

What I liked about it:

The book is set in Seattle and described places I get to walk around and see.

The impetus for Henry's reflection on Keiko, a bunch of abandoned suitcases found in the Panama Hotel, actually happened and we met there for book club to check it out.

It was a cute story, Henry's love is very true and it was hard to dislike the characters.

What I disliked about it:

The 40's are described vividly and with obvious research, but the 80s are a little... well... just plain wrong. People who changed their name and moved across the country are tracked down easily with the Internet.

Wait for it, it'll come to you.

Mainly it was just that  tidbit that I didn't like about it, but it was enough to change my opinion on the whole book.

It's a nice airplane/beach read and, if you want to realize how messed up the Japanese internment camps were in America without getting severely depressed, then this is a good introduction.

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