1/18/2011: this is my current audiobook. enjoying it so far.
1/31/2011: I'm almost half-way through this and am definitely enjoying it. I've not read a whole lot about how Japanese Americans were treated by white Americans during WWII, and this is definitely an eye-opener. Imagine packing up all of Washington DC and sending the residents to California, allowing each person to just take two suitcases. The book isn't just about the Japanese internment, but I'm glad I'm learning about it.
2/17/2011: Finished this early in February. I really liked it. The story line was sweet and you gain some insight into two cultures you might not normally be exposed to. The author jumps back and forth between World War II and 1986, but it works well. There's a bit about the Seattle jazz scene thrown in too, and Seventh-day Adventists and Walla Walla, WA get an honorable mention! :-). I wondered whether 13-year-olds might actually have had such deep feelings for each other, and Samantha is slightly too perfect, but overall it works. ;-). An enjoyable, quick read/listen.
I've read better and I've read worse, this held my interest but will quickly be forgotten. For this type of genre, I prefer Snow Flower and the Secret Fan or Snow Falling on Cedars. I also had issues with the audio download despite multiple delete and redownload.
There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – Emily Dickinson
I listened to this book to go along with another one I was reading on the same topic, the Japanese internment camps in WWII. That OTHER book was actually a memoir written and self published by my neighbor to document her family's experiences in the camps. This book is a novel based on real experiences of Japanese families. Between the two books, I got a fantastic look at those camps and what life was like for those families involved. Currently, that whole episode seems like one of the WORST things our government has done to its American citizens ever. I hope we have learned from our past!! Anyway, it was interesting that both books took place in Seattle and eventually in the same internment camp, Minidoka. I think this book would be the perfect young adult novel in the best tradition of books like The Book Thief: good for adults AND young adults. I kept trying to think at what grade level I would place it (being an ex jr. high teacher!) It's got all the makings: a protagonist who turns 13 and grows up through conflict with his dad and a romance, lessons about familial responsibility, faithfulness, easy reading, a little bit of symbolism (the broken record and the quest to "fix it"), and a great tie-in to the 8th grade history curriculum!) It is a little schmaltzy, but, of course, I fell for that and was sobbing several times. I'm hopeless. I liked the ending; it just gave a hint of what was to come...in a good way.
I enjoyed the story and historical importance of the events, but found the young characters in love hard to believe. Having a 12 year old and a 14 year old of my own I just could not swallow a lot of the dialouge between the young lovers. This became a major distraction for me and detracted from the story.
The story was a nice one, and I liked the historical aspect of it. The "relationship" I felt went on a bit too long for me--a little drawn out....The narration was very good.
An excellent look at a time in our history that I knew very little about. The book was very well written and kept my attention from start to finish. The narration was excellent.
Jamie Ford's novel is a good read--or in this case, a good listen. The time is WWII and the 1980s; the place is the Pacific Coast. Not too many novels about this time/place. The book holds together nicely. The reader will remember the characters and the situations. A good first novel for Jamie Ford!
I keep going back and forth if I really liked this book or not. The story was weak and makes the main character seem completely pathetic. I guess this is where I don’t like the book. What I liked about the book is that it brought to life the conflict between Chinese and Japanese immigrants. It tells us of what happen to our Japanese citizens during WWll without the Arthur bring political right or wrong into the story. It was 1942 it’s what America felt was right at the time. Would we do different today I would hope so.
Sorry but I purchased this book based on the good reviews. I can't take listening to it anymore. I'm three and a half hours in. The narrator is soooo boring. The subject matter is an interesting one and I'd give it another try, but in print the next time.