Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

A Novel

Book - 2009
Average Rating:
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In 1986, Henry Lee joins a crowd outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle's Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has discovered the belongings of Japanese families who were sent to internment camps during World War II. As the owner displays and unfurls a Japanese parasol, Henry, a Chinese American, remembers a young Japanese American girl from his childhood in the 1940s--Keiko Okabe, with whom he forged a bond of friendship and innocent love that transcended the prejudices of their Old World ancestors. After Keiko and her family were evacuated to the internment camps, she and Henry could only hope that their promise to each other would be kept. Now, forty years later, Henry explores the hotel's basement for the Okabe family belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot even begin to measure. His search will take him on a journey to revisit the sacrifices he has made for family, for love, for country.
Publisher: ©2009.
New York :, Ballantine Books,, [2009]
Copyright Date: ©2009.
ISBN: 9780345505347
9780345505330
0345505336
Characteristics: 290 pages ; 25 cm.
Summary: In 1986, Henry Lee joins a crowd outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle's Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has discovered the belongings of Japanese families who were sent to internment camps during World War II. As the owner displays and unfurls a Japanese parasol, Henry, a Chinese American, remembers a young Japanese American girl from his childhood in the 1940s--Keiko Okabe, with whom he forged a bond of friendship and innocent love that transcended the prejudices of their Old World ancestors. After Keiko and her family were evacuated to the internment camps, she and Henry could only hope that their promise to each other would be kept. Now, forty years later, Henry explores the hotel's basement for the Okabe family belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot even begin to measure. His search will take him on a journey to revisit the sacrifices he has made for family, for love, for country.
Reading Program: Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.7 15.0 145257.

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r
rsoccer70
Sep 04, 2017

Honestly, if it wasn't for the fact that this is the "community read" for the high school at which I teach, I don't think I would have picked it up on my own. Although I feel the book starts too slowly, I was glad I pushed through to reach the more engaging aspects of the story. The narrative takes place during two time periods - the early part of WWII (about 1943) and Seattle of the late 1980's. The same character is the focus of both story threads - as a Chinese American pre-teen and then as a senior citizen. In the broadest way the story is about the internment of Japanese Americans and how this impacts the "first love" the main character has for a Japanese school-mate. This relationship strains the way the boy and his Chinese immigrant father interact while later in time this character and his own son struggle with their relationship in not dissimilar ways. This novel helped me to better understand the scope and impact of the dark example of nationalistic fear which led to putting American citizens in to what were essentially prison camps. I hope my students learned this as well and that we never, ever repeat this shameful event.

g
glotet
Jul 31, 2017

A beautifully and sensitively written story

p
pink_cat_738
Jun 07, 2017

Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet is a great novel about World War Two and Japanese internment camps. I loved this book so much

Bazette Apr 24, 2017

I give this a 5 star! I couldn't put it down and had a good cry in the end. One of those books where you forget you are actually reading it and not living it. It gives a lot of insights into why there are ghettos and the discrimination against immigrants.

AL_WENDY Aug 29, 2016

The title says it all: a bittersweet love story that breaks your heart and puts it back together. Beautiful imagery and writing.

AL_TATYANA Aug 19, 2016

A good read! An eye opening story with a bittersweet melancholy touch throughout the book.

l
lyndseybarker10
Aug 03, 2016

The author really took you back to WWII and all the emotions it entailed.

l
lyndseybarker10
Aug 03, 2016

Nicely written historical fiction with great character development.

l
lyndseybarker10
Aug 03, 2016

Absolutely loved this!

b
Birder_1
Aug 01, 2016

Such a sweet and tender story of the bittersweet friendship between a young Chinese boy and the Japanese girl who were friends during World War II when Japanese were rounded up and removed to "prison" camps. It's multi-generational as it the book follows these two through adulthood.

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blue_dog_8329
Oct 23, 2016

blue_dog_8329 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

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bandanana
Sep 05, 2015

bandanana thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

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eurydice_orpheus
Dec 18, 2013

eurydice_orpheus thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

orange_cat_2301 Aug 13, 2012

orange_cat_2301 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

blue_raven_28 Jun 26, 2012

blue_raven_28 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

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hlsadler
Jun 19, 2012

hlsadler thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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r
results
Jul 02, 2013

This is a beautifully written book showing both the pain and beauty of love, music & friendship among the challenges of assimilation, discrimination and war.

h
hlsadler
Jun 19, 2012

A young Chinese-American boy befriends a Japanese-American girl who is displaced into a Japanese-American Interment camp.

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blue_dog_8329
Oct 23, 2016

"Thank you and you have a fine day sir" -Sheldon and Henry

n
nic03red
Jan 23, 2011

The hardest choices in life aren't between what's right and what's wrong but between what's right and what's best.

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