Thursday, June 24, 2010

Review for Hotel On The Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and SweetJune Goodreads Serendipity Challenge Task #3: For this task, read a book that has been featured on your favorite book/reading related blog. When you post this task include a link to the blog and a review of the book.

I've never met Jamie Ford, but I feel invested in this book because he and I frequent several of the same writer forums, and I have found him to be both classy and helpful, with a great sense of humor. His agent is Kristin Nelson, the author of a popular blog called Pubrants, and she talks about him all the time.

I often mention that I'm stuck in a young adult fantasy rut. That was one of the reasons I wanted to start a book group that would force me to expand my horizons, and it's books like this that make me glad I did. This is a beautiful book. It is about a boy named Henry Lee, a Chinese boy living in Seattle during World War II. He befriends a Japanese girl named Keiko, and quickly falls in love with her. The story switches back and forth between the story of Henry Lee, the boy, and Henry Lee more than 40 years later, right after his wife Ethel's death. The story begins when a middle aged Henry Lee sees a press conference being held at the Panama Hotel, a hotel that has been boarded up for years. The new owner has discovered the untouched belongings of several Japanese families in the basement of the hotel, where they had been stored when the Japanese were forced into internment camps during World War II.  When the owner opens up a parasol that Henry recognizes as Keiko's, all of Henry's memories of Keiko and the difficult choices he made as a child come flooding back.

This book is not just a love story though. It is about the relationships of fathers and sons, and the power of stories to heal and bind us together. I recommend this book highly, and hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.


  1. Let me know how you like it. Roger is reading it right now, and he doesn't read much, so it must be good!