Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

A Novel

Book - 2009
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Set in the ethnic neighborhoods of Seattle during World War II and Japanese American internment camps of the era, this debut novel tells the heartwarming story of widower Henry Lee, his father, and his first love Keiko Okabe.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 2009.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780345505330
0345505336
Branch Call Number: FICTION Ford Jamie 02/2009
Characteristics: 290 p. ;,25 cm.

Opinion

From Library Staff

Set in the ethnic neighborhoods of Seattle during World War II and Japanese American internment camps of the era, this debut novel tells the story of widower Henry Lee, his father, and his first love Keiko Okabe.

hethl writes "This book is endearing, complex, and imaginative, with a well-executed plot and wonderfully fully-developed characters. Flash backs from adult lives are intertwined seamlessly as two 12 year olds, Henry and Keiko, come of age and fall in love under very difficult circumstances.... Read More »

We will be discussing this novel on Nov. 20th at 9am.


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l
lianaherman
Apr 14, 2021

A page-turner story between a Chinese and Japanese student in the 1940's. An important part of history that must not be forgotten. While the story was set in Seattle, the events also took place in other cities along the western coast in both the US and Canada. A sweet ending.

e
Einer2
Feb 12, 2021

This is the second historical fiction I've read recently dealing with life in on the West Coast during the tumultuous period of history. Unfortunately the lessons learned still need learning.

r
Rdi123
Nov 19, 2020

World War2. Fifth grade scholarship students and best friends are the only Asians in their Seattle elementary school. Henry is Chinese and Keiko is Japanese. And Pearl Harbor has made all Asians, even those American born targets for abuse. Henry’s father has a hatred of Japan so their friendship is kept secret. Soon Keiko’s family is sent to an internment camp in Idaho. Fourty years later Henry comes upon the belongings of displaced Japanese in the basement of an old Seattle hotel. This reawakens his love for Keiko.

g
glotet41
Sep 29, 2020

An incredible read set in an unfortunate true time of American history.
Although it was a little slow and repetitious in parts, I found it worthwhile to simply put the book down and go back to it again later. I did this a few times and it was well worth while. Better editing could have easily corrected this and made for a five star story.

ArapahoeKati Apr 27, 2020

While the subject matter is extremely important and the setting was marvelous, the overall story between Henry and Keiko didn't quite engage me the way that other historical fiction novels about the treatment of Japanese-Americans during WWII has. Still, a pleasant and informative read but not one of my favorites.

k
KathyO59
Nov 03, 2019

This story of a new friendship between two teens of different nationalities, Chinese & Japanese from 1942 to current. Their friendship faces challenges that are hard for the teens to handle. The hardest is the internment of one that eventually severs their friendship. Their lives go on until one realizes they need to confront their past live.

Much of what was written about Seattle is very familiar. The prejudice that many Asians was real and documented in real life was minor in the story. It's an easy story to read with no twists or turns. Overall, it is a sad story but the title is very appropriate.

a
Aimee M Trudel
Sep 17, 2019

Jan's recommendation NF

l
lavasushi
Jul 29, 2019

I thought I was reading a Disney script for an after school special. Without explanation, someone would come to Henry’s aid. Or not. He was OCD about Keiko. Henry was way to young to be dealing with some adult problems. But I finished the book.

b
bookpusher
Jul 08, 2019

July WPL Book Club Selection: Sweet book! Absolutely loved this story....<3 Favourite book so far this year

s
sgcf
May 02, 2019

I had known of the Japanese internment camps during WW2 but this book helped to make it real and gave me insight. It’s an old-fashioned love story à la Romeo and Juliet, rather sentimentally told and sugar coated. I appreciated the theme about “home” – what is it? where is it? how we can never go back to that remembered sense of home. But while the content is admirable and interesting for its authenticity, Ford’s writing style is simplistic and repetitive, as if he wants to make sure we "get it." I’m a stickler for good writing. I’m glad I read it but not sure I’d recommend it.
A quote I liked: ”I try not to live in the past, but the past lives in me.”

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blue_dog_8329
Oct 23, 2016

blue_dog_8329 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

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bandanana
Sep 05, 2015

bandanana thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

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orange_cat_2301 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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blue_raven_28 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

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hlsadler
Jun 19, 2012

hlsadler thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Summary

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r
results
Jul 02, 2013

This is a beautifully written book showing both the pain and beauty of love, music & friendship among the challenges of assimilation, discrimination and war.

h
hlsadler
Jun 19, 2012

A young Chinese-American boy befriends a Japanese-American girl who is displaced into a Japanese-American Interment camp.

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blue_dog_8329
Oct 23, 2016

"Thank you and you have a fine day sir" -Sheldon and Henry

n
nic03red
Jan 23, 2011

The hardest choices in life aren't between what's right and what's wrong but between what's right and what's best.

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