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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Michelle: Why I want to give Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

I spent quite a while trying to decide what book I wanted to distribute on World Book Night next year. Of the three I had read none really worked with the place I wanted to hand out books (I’ll be at Women Outreaching Women, a women's shelter here in Denham). I wasn’t particularly feeling the book I was reading last week so I started flipping through a few of the World Book Night picks…a few pages in I knew I wanted to give out copies of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. Just that reference to the nature of life in the title was enough for me to know that this was the book for the women I will be talking to on April 23rd.

Jamie Ford has created a deceptively simple story of first loves, family obligations, betrayal, and loyalty. You never feel bombarded with the sadness or sentimentality of the novel. It is a perfect balance of feeling, truth, and history. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is the story of Henry Lee at two distinct times in his life; when he first fell in love just prior to the Japanese internment of the 1940s and forty years later upon the death of his wife. Henry’s story is about what we want and need out of life and each other. It is about the power of relationships.

Then there is the history. Ford did a wonderful job telling the story of the camps, and he does so without soapboxing. This is an important part of American history that is for the most part glossed over. Ford shines a light on it revealing the fear of the time for exactly what it is.

I am so excited to have the opportunity to distribute copies of this book on World Book Night. It is a well told story with characters that the reader can grab on to. I can see it converting quite a few readers and definitely fulfilling the goal of World Book Night.

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