Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet – Reading Recommendation

This tells the story of a Chinese family coming to grips with each other, and their place in American society during the Second World War and the impact it has still on their lives decades later.

Narrated by Henry Lee, based around an old Seattle hotel which has been boarded up for decades, the narration slips between 1986 and 1942 and draws parallels between his relationship with his father, and his slowly slipping away relationship with his son. It also tells the power of forgiveness in a family.

It really is told tenderly and sweetly – the struggle not only of being a foreigner, the young boy having to wear an “I am Chinese” button, but also a family adapting to new customs and ways of life. It also shows the Japanese in a very stoic light when they are interred in concentration camps, which I never knew had happened. The author tried to tell what happened to them in an un-judgemental way which I feel helped paint a picture whilst still highlighting what went on.

There were a few factual inaccuracies that even I spotted, but they didn’t spoil the book for me. It did feel a little bit awkward in places with the changes in time period, which meant I didn’t really find it a compulsive read, but an enjoyable one nonetheless, and I normally steer away from reads with time changes.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet Jamie Ford

A nice easy read, which was also quite informative. Great commuter/holiday read; one that I will no doubt pick up again in the future.

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