About This Blog

This blog was started as a place to post book reviews. The books reviewed here will be mixed. Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, General Fiction, NonFiction and more. Both positve and negative reviews will be posted, as well as reviews for books written for all ages and all reading levels.

Many of the books reviewed here are ones that I have purchased for my own reading pleasure. Some, I receive free in exchange for reviews. Beginning in December, 2009 you will know which are the free ones if you read the final paragraph of my reviews.

Also of note: I choose what I will read, attempting to avoid the books on which I would end up writing a negative review... but I have been known to make mistakes. Thus you see some one and two star reviews here. Since I don't enjoy writing negative reviews, I only write them if the review was promised, or if the book was so exceedingly bad, I just had to say so. Regardless of the percentage of positive to negative reviews on this blog, I give my honest opinion each and every time, and have never received financial compensation for posting my reviews.

Note that, except for fair use portions quoted from some of the books reviewed, all copyright in the content of the reviews belongs to Lady Dragoness.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bitter Sweet Disappointment

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
by Jamie Ford
Hardcover: 290 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (January 27, 2009)
Rated 3 stars of 5 possible

This novel is a bitter-sweet story of love, coming-of-age, and personal relationships. It examines the racial discrimination practiced against Japanese-Americans during World War II. While the war-time story of the 1940's is rich and complex, the part of the story taking place four decades later falls flat.

The war-time portion of the story, when Chinese-American Henry Lee, befriends a Japanese-American girl Keiko Okabe, and deals with his father's anti-Japanese sentiments holds the reader's interest well. The conflict Henry experiences with his father seems to dominate this portion of the story, yet there are the sweeter moments too; the time Henry spends with his friends; his budding relationship with Keiko.

The post-war segments are woven throughout the novel and deal with Henry's relationship with his son as well as Henry's memories of an earlier time. Henry's search for another copy of the rare Jazz recording he and Keiko had bought together, dealing with the loss of first his wife, and then his sax playing friend add some dimension to this part of the story but are handled in a less satisfactory manner than the wartime portions.

While I found Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet to be worth reading, and the parts of the story based on historical incidents accurately depicted, the inter-woven style of the narrative proved to be more than a little distracting, the transitions between decades a bit hard to assimilate.  Clearly, this novel isn't for everyone.

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