Poet At Larege Reviews, Book, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet   Leave a comment

Jamie Ford tells a story from our past through the eyes of two children in the middle of a fight that is not their own.  It is kind of like Romeo and Juliet with out the suicide at the end.  The novel ‘Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet’ is exactly that Bitter, Sweet and Beautiful.

When Henry Lee was twelve years old it was 1942 and he lived in Seattle’s China Town with his Chinese born parents.  He earned a scholarship to an all white school where he had to work in the kitchen at lunch time to pay for his education.  It was at this school that he met his first love Keiko Okabe.  A twelve year old girl who was of Japanese ancestry that worked in the kitchen with him.  Only a few months after they met the U.S. government moved all the Japanese-Americans on the West cost to interment camps to prevent them from aiding the Japanese who had bombed Pearl Harbor.  Henry and Keiko were separated and did not see each other again.

In 1986 the new owners of the Panama Hotel in Seattle opened the building which had been closed since 1942.  In the basement of the building they found the personal affects of more than 30 Japanese families that were never claimed after the war.  Henry who is still living in Seattle sets out to search through these lost treasures to find the one treasure that might sooth his broken heart.  A gift that he had given to Keiko only a week or so before she and her family had been taken away by the army.

This book was a very powerful story which though it is historical fiction is very accurate on it’s facts.  If you care to visit Seattle now the Panama Hotel’s tea room is decorated with some of the objects found in 1986.  The Interment camps our government built in 1942 are all but gone now.  Some only traceable by the slabs of cement that once supported huts.  The stories of these camps live on and must never be forgotten.  The rights of American Citizens must never be trampled on in that manor again.

From The Poet’s Mouth,

Lyda Mae Dameron

You may contact The Poet and her friends by e-mailing (ravendove922@yahoo.com)

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