Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Jamie Ford

My good friend Amy invited me to join her book club up in Boise, and while at the moment my baby's preferences for nursing (instead of being fed any other way) and her bedtime prevent me from being able to go, I have started reading the books that they are reading, which is really cool for me. If I can't be there to discuss with others, I can at least discuss with Amy and I feel a part of something, even if I'm not......if that makes any sense! Anyhow, I just got it from the library today and I will update more on it later!

Update: I have now finished the book and really enjoyed it. The chapters are brief, so if your life gets interrupted frequently (aka you're a mom) it really helps! It's written in split narrative, Henry (the main character) as a child/teen and his relationship with his family, particularly his father, and his decisions based on his experiences at the time, and Henry as a grown man who has a grown son of his own and their relationship. That sub-plot, the one of father-son relationships was really interesting to me and evoked a lot of thoughts. As a child, do I REALLY know my parents? Or do I just think I really know who they are and who they were? As a parent, how can I let my children know who I was? Who I am? As a person separate from being the authoritative figure in their life? I kept a journal through my middle/high school years, and even though I probably wrote every day creating an absurd amount of redundancy, at least they will be able to read it and have insight to what and who I was at the time. (I intend to let my daughters read parts of my journals that relates to their same age as when I wrote it).

Historically, even though I lived near Seattle (where the story takes place) until I was 6 and in SW Washington state after that, I was surprised by how little I really knew about the Japanese evacuations during the second world war. I now am more enlightened with the situation-which was represented in a very good way; from the perspective of a child-which the author did very well and in such a matter of fact, this is what happened way, that he does not condemn neither condone the acts of the US Government of that day, although with the mind of Henry, you DO get the big sense of injustice and the confusion of how it would make sense. BUT we also have to realize that only hindsight is 20/20 and for us to judge what happened in history is sometimes more complicated than it seems. We who did not live through that era may not fully realize the implications and feelings of the populace at the time. What we see as a simple, much BETTER solution may have been completely out of the grasp of reality then. Does that mean I agree with the Japanese internments? Definitely not. It just means that I realize that I don't believe I have all sides to the story including the context of the time in order to truly form what I believe to be an education opinion. It did, however, help me to realize how complicated things must be when we have fears of terrorists today. We can't just round up everyone of a certain race, religion, creed, etc and contain them because we are afraid of a few-who probably would evade such efforts anyhow. And the government would be gun-shy to do anything similar to that because of what happened. But does that impeded their ability to do what they feel is necessary for fear of public outcry? Who knows. It's just a lot to think about. And THAT is what makes this book good. I'm STILL thinking about it and I put it down several days ago.

1 comment:

  1. this is awesome! i just finished "the help," and was excited to be excited about reading again. used to be that i had some text on the nightstand to peruse or devour as occasion dictated. when i graduated, i was so burned out on reading i gave myself permission not to until i was inspired and hungry again. unfortunately, i never was! i just got out of the habit. i won't tell you when i graduated. it's BAD how long it's been since i've read anything! til now. "the help" recovered my craving for language and story. i'll bet we like like a lot of the same stuff, so i'll be following along!