Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

  • Type: Books
  • By: Jamie Ford
  • Age Category: Adults
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Recommended by: Melissa C.
  • ISBN/UPC: 9780345505330
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“It was during this stolen moment, this spot of quiet melancholy, that Henry saw what he most wanted, and most feared.”

Set in Seattle during World War II, when tensions regarding race and loyalty ran high, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is a story of conflict and commitment. Henry’s father is obsessed with the war in China and makes Henry where a button that says “I am Chinese,”so that people will not think he is Japanese. In order to Americanize Henry, his father does not allow him to speak Chinese at home and sends him to the prestigious Rainier Elementary school where he is“scholarshipping.” While there, Henry meets Keiko, a Japanese American student who is also “scholarshipping.” They form a strong bond that will be tested by the volatile times that they live in. When Keiko and her family are sent to an internment camp they promise to wait for each other, but forces are determined to keep them apart. When an older Henry sees a Japanese parasol brought out of the basement of the Panama Hotel where it has been kept for decades, he decides to confront the memory of Keiko and the promise that he made.

In this wonderfully entertaining and interesting book Ford touches on a multitude of issues: first love, parents and children, racism, patriotism, promises, and death. Once I began reading, I could not put it down. I highly recommend it.