I first became enamored with author Jamie Ford after reading The Songs Of Willow Frost. I loved how he used a young, but mature, protagonist to advance serious themes of love and courage. Those same elements were present in Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet. Henry’s devotion to Keiko, a Japanese American girl in his class, whose family is sent to a relocation camp during the 1940’s was heartwarming. The events of the years surrounding their friendship unexpectedly came back to haunt him when dozens of steamer trunks were found in the basement of a hotel, including the possessions of Keiko’s family. The book flashed between the present and the past to give a complete perspective of Henry’s life.
As a young boy, Henry struggled to understand the need to wear the ‘I am Chinese’ button his father pinned on his shirt each day, and why the Japanese neighborhood was suddenly barren. As an adult, Henry’s relationship with his son forced him to remember his own determination as a young man. The book was engaging, and became more interesting as the events progressed. By the last few chapters, I was stunned by Henry’s selfless and heroic acts that demonstrated true love. The novel provided a unique view of the Japanese internment and I appreciated reading about it from Henry’s perspective.
Jamie Ford is an outstanding writer, and I can’t wait for his next book!