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 by Jamie Ford X
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
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    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2009, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2009, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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There are currently 13 reader reviews for Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
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Bea

Great read!
Loved this book - read it twice!
Lawrence L. Collier

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

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.
Dorothy

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.
Power Reviewer Elizabeth

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

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.
Margaret

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
This book was excellent.....well written and historically documented. Most of us born in the '40's have not really been given the "inside" information re: that time. I have a friend who lived in a camp (she was about 2/3 at the time) and I never dreamed of asking her questions....after reading this book I now regret that.
The title is perfect....bitter for the times and sweet for the relationships.
iris-w.bloomfield, mi.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
This is truly a gem of a book.

The relationship between a father and son of Chinese descent is only surpassed by the relationship of the young Chinese boy and a young Japanese girl in 1942 Seattle at the time of the Japanese internment camps. Historically it casts an eye on a shameful period of this countries past that is not ofter depicted in our fiction.

The book alternates between 1942 and 1986 where we meet the mature Chinese man and his son as they work to solidify their relationship.

While sounding simplistic, the book is filled with many other well developed characters which round out the book and provides many levels of plotline without being contrived or confusing

This is definitely a page turner that is hard to put down. It has enough meat to stimulate interesting conversation. As an avid reader I highly recommend this book.
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