Monday, May 14, 2012
Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
Book: Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
Author: Jamie Ford
Like/Don't Like: I wouldn't recommend it
This has been on my radar for a long time now. And I keep thinking that loads of people have recommended it to me. But maybe they were just asking if I had read it and what did I think. Maybe that was it.
Well, here's what I think: meh.
I think it must have been just mentioned rather than recommended because it's about the Japanese Internment and I would never have read a book about that subject unless it had come with high praise. There are few things in American history that make me more incensed than the internment camps. I get all sorts of angry over it. But there's more to the story than just that. There's a Chinese boy and a Japanese girl both living in Seattle during World War II and they fall in love and it keeps jumping back to the Chinese kid as an old man reminiscing about those days. Which isn't a bad story. It was just poorly written. Not even badly written. Just sloppy. And kind of lazy. The author seemed to have used up all of his descriptors by about page 30 and then just kept repeating them. The shift bell at Boeing Field, the "I am Chinese" button the kid wore, his father not speaking to him - all of these things and more just kept coming back. And that made all the other weaknesses in his writing - weaknesses that I probably would have overlooked had it been a stronger story - turn into annoyances.
But my biggest problem was that I didn't really believe the characters. They didn't talk like 12 year olds. They talked like a middle aged guy writing like a 12 year old. They talked like a history teacher. So their relationship seemed phony from the start. But I will say that all of the eye-rolling I did helped with taking my mind off of the injustice that went on in the book.