Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Book Review: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

I am sitting in my cozy bed typing this post as my most amazing husband makes me a big batch of chicken soup to freeze so I have plenty to eat once he heads to Red Deer this weekend. I am in bed, rather than at the desk in the living room, because I cannot STAND the smell of the food cooking right now. Oh pregnancy! Add to that my basically non stop headaches, and a new interesting stretching feeling on my right side, things are just peachy. I know I know-suck it up! Things could be a lot worse!! But as my (wonderful!) husband says, they could also be better :)

Ok so now on to the review! Jamie Ford's novel Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (HonCoBaS) is my first book of 2011 and the selection for my January book club! I really enjoyed this book, even if it did result in a sobbing mess this weekend! I will explain.

 HonCoBaS is set in 1986 Seattle with flashbacks beginning with 1942's Japanese-American internment. Henry is a Chinese American who is reflecting on his childhood friendship with Keiko a Japanese girl who is sent to the internment camps, as well as his complex relationship with his father, who vehemently disapproves of this relationship. As a Chinese man, his father views all Japanese as his own personal end. In 1986,Henry's wife has recently passed away and he has always relied on her to communicate with his son. Henry begins to share this part of his history with his son and his new fiance. Ford effortlessly switches between time periods, helping us to understand a very interesting part of American history and how it may have touched individuals. At one point Henry is meeting with Keiko at an internment camp and they are saying goodbye because the Japanese are being sent further inland to try to cut off potential communication via the coastline. Their parting was heartbreaking to me, and being at a very emotional part of my life (pregnancy AND my husband moving) I totally lost it!! At least I wasn't on the subway!

I look forward to further discussions with my book club!


  1. Thanks for the write-up, so glad you enjoyed the book (tears and all). And don't feel bad, I cry at sad movies, sad tv shows, sad Burger King commercials...

    Wishing you and your husband (and baby) the very best!


  2. Thanks! How cool is that having a book's authour come check out your blog post!!

    Re: crying-there used to be an A&W commercial where the couple order's a grandpa burger to tell one of their father's that they're expecting-it always made me tear up!!

  3. Wow, Sara, the comment from Jamie Ford is cool! I love your blog and I knew it was destined for great things. :)

  4. Are Dad and I going to A&W when we come to visit, cause we already know.....Ha. Ha.


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