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When The Emperor was Divine

by Julie Otsuka

When The Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka X
When The Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2002, 160 pages
    Oct 2003, 160 pages

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Power Reviewer
Louise J

When the Emperor Was Divine
Overnight signs appeared on trees, billboards, bus stop benches, and store windows in Berkeley, California, in 1942 ordering Japanese Americans to a dusty internment camp in the Utah desert. They had been “reclassified” as enemy aliens. This novel follows one family’s story; Mom, Dad, and two young children, a girl and a boy.

At 144 pages this was an interesting and quick read and gives a very good picture of a rather embarrassing part of American history.

This book was a very informative read, but at points, its plot seemed to drift (from exciting to dull). There is a lot of symbolism in the story, and parts grab your attention. I found myself eager to turn the pages at points, just to see if the father would come back. In the end, it is a shame- all the trouble the family was put through, but very informative and easy to do reports on. I recommend this book to anyone interested.

aww, this book was absoloutly stunning! it was a great book from the mother's epic journey to kill her pets and help her children learn of what obstacles their family had to face in the near future. with the son, who was young curious and in need for love. there was the daughter who took it pretty hard and began to smoke in the camps. then their was the dad. his confession was to die for. it was so sad! what he did, to see his family again. what he did to see his family once more. and his dreams, he couldn't tell the difference between a dream and real life.

Julia Otsuka does a wonderful job of describing this very difficult time in American history. The book was easily read and held my attention, in fact so much that I had a hard time putting it down. I felt the degradation, discrimination and the lack of understanding that the characters in the tale experienced. One day these people were accepted as respectable and honorable members of the community and the next day cast aside like so much rubbish. Fear is a powerful motivator and when unchecked can have a devastating representation and this time in U.S. history is proof.
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