Reader reviews and comments on Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, plus links to write your own review.

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Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

A Novel

By Jamie Ford

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Jan 2009,
    304 pages.
    Paperback: Oct 2009,
    320 pages.

    Publication Information

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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There are currently 12 reader reviews for Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
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Anon (08/18/12)

Dreadfully Boring
I had to read this book for class and I got so tired. This story moves terribly slow. I could barely finish it because I would lose interest. The book was dull and lifeless. I would NEVER EVER recommend this story to ANYONE, even if i despised that person I would not want to wish that kind of torture onto anyone. This was the worst book I have ever had the misfortune to read. I hated every word. This story should be burned!!!!!!!!
Lawrence L. Collier (01/20/12)

I Am an American...No Matter What!
Most young people today would not understand the prejudice that happened as a result of W.W. II after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. But despite the evils of war, there are always heroes, there are always people falling in love and helping others despite the abyss of racism and separate cultures, religions, politics. There are always friendships and bonding that exist despite skin color or social barriers. Here two children fall in love and care for each other because of who they are. They are genuine in their feelings for each other. Here is a beautifully crafted love story eminating with humaness, determination, concern and eventually mutual understanding. Here also a friendship develops between a black man and a Chinese boy that continues throughout the years. Like Huckleberry Finn and Jim, there is no color barrier, only true friendship. Here also we see 40 years later intermarriage between a white woman and a Chinese man. What would have been prohibited at one time becomes acceptable years later. This is an heroic book with heroic people, and with a most touching yet believable ending. Read the book! It's OUTSTANDING!!!!!!!
CarolK (06/04/11)

Clash of Cultures
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford creates a clash in my mind. What is an easy story to read, due to the author's flowing narrative style, contrasts with its underlying serious subject of a world in conflict. On the one hand, it could be a simple love story, on the other, it's a gut-wrenching view of America in the early 40's. At first I thought, "oh no, not another World War II story!". I'm glad to say that Ford's take on this is fresh, if not entirely new.

"I Am Chinese" proclaims the button Henry's father insists he wear to his predominantly white school which he attends on scholarship, meaning he works in the kitchen for the honor of his education. Here he meets Keiko, an American girl of Japanese heritage, also attending on scholarship. A strong friendship is formed between the two. Simple. If only! Keiko and her family are among the more than 120,000 ethnic Japanese rounded up and interred in war camps. Just as well, Henry's father thinks as he does not approve of Henry's relationship with Keiko. After all, the Japanese are his enemy and America's as well.

Ford's characters paint a thoughtful picture of a father and son at odds, one where cultures, obedience and loyalty collide. Truth, friendship, love, what it means to be American; these themes are drawn with Seattle's jazz scene and the hotel of the title as its backdrop. Bitter...Sweet. You decide.
Valerie F. (02/22/11)

Disappointing
I wanted to like this book, since the premise of it sounded interesting to me. Unfortunately, it was mostly fluff, with lots of unbelievable plot points, ridiculous coincidences, and characters who didn't feel real. Disappointing.
Dorothy (11/11/10)

Through the eyes outside the walls
Having been in the internment camp myself, Tule Lake and Heart Mountain, it was intriguing to read about how someone from the outside viewed the entire episode of injustice from the perspective of a non-Japanese. The love story and cultural differences between Henry and Keiko were skillfully written in alternating times, which made me flash back and forth anticipating the outcome of these two lives. I was especially interested in how the music element was intertwined as a vital part of the story. I, as a child 2-5 years old, remember my first sound of music being played by a trumpeter in Heart Mountain, who I lovingly called my Poo-pa-poo Man. Music performance and education became my lifelong love and profession as a result of this memory. Enjoyed the book immensely. Keep writing and will look forward to the movie, too.
R Sible (07/16/10)

Hotel Smarmy
Obviously written for early teens. Simple minded and unengaging. Clumsy and amateurish.
Elizabeth (06/27/10)

Loved It...Incredible
Oai deki te ureshii desu ....How are you today, beautiful?

That quote from the book says it all....what an incredible, heartfelt, interesting story...this book is set during World War II and is about the childhood love of a Japanese girl and a Chinese boy during World War II and takes place specifically during the encampment of the Japanese people who lived in Seattle, Washington...it will keep your interest and teach you some history...I learned about The Panama Hotel in Seattle, Washington.

It also is about the conflict between Henry and his Chinese father and the beauty of friendships...it also has some music facts in it for all you jazz fans.

I don't want to give too much away, but it is a nostalgic book and one you will want to tell others about....it is similar to Snow Falling on Cedars.

You will absolutely enjoy it and love it. I loved the story and the lessons learned.
Shirley (06/01/10)

Enlightening
I was a teenager in high school on the coast of Southern California during this period of history. I knew what was happening but did not at that age even begin to realize how devastating this was for the Japanese families nor the magnitude of the event. Of course looking back, I am so sorry it took place and cannot even imagine the pain it caused for these fellow Americans. What a sad day in history.
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