Monday, February 1, 2010

Blog Tour - Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

hotelbittersweetHotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
Jamie Ford
Ballantine Books/Random House
285 p. (plus Author Notes and Reader's Guide)

Henry's wife has died and he's trying to put his life back on track. He walks by the Panama Hotel just as they are pulling the belongings of evacuated Japanese families from the basement. Henry's thrust back into the war years and memories of Keiko, a jazz club, bullies and an I Am Chinese button.

My Thoughts
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet alternates between Henry of 1986 and the Henry of 1942. Henry 1986 is jolted back to the age of 12 in Seattle.

Henry 1942 has been transferred to the White school and his dad makes him wear an I Am Chinese button. Henry's parents also wanted him to speak only in English, even though they didn't understand it.

Henry 1942 struggles to find his place at home and at school. Each place leaves him feeling isolated, no matter how hard he tries. One of the places he feels accepted is on the corner with Sheldon the sax player. Sheldon introduces Henry 1942 to jazz and a friendship blossoms.

One day Henry 1942 finds he's not the only outsider at the White school, a Japanese girl arrives. And although Keiko is second generation American, she's still considered a threat to peace in the US. Keiko and Henry's blossoming friendship prove difficult for both of them.

Henry 1986 tries to shake these memories from his head because it's too soon after his wife's death. He also wants to focus more on his son Marty. The more Henry 1986 delves into his past the more he finds he needs closure.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet has just enough historical accuracy with the right amount of beautiful storytelling. You are pulled into the story, following Henry and Keiko as they get to know each other and then are pulled apart by the Japanese "evacuation". Henry's and Keiko's relationships with their parents play a big part in how they interact with each other. The Lees hands-off conservative style battling with the Okabe's open, supportive style. Keiko and Henry try to make things work, despite their upbringing and the political problems they are in the middle of, through no fault of their own. I loved how the story flowed back and forth between the ages yet never felt discordant or disorienting. I found myself afraid as we got closer to the end. For once, I wanted things to wrap up neat and tidy. These characters deserved it. But life doesn't always give you what you deserve or want. Jamie Ford finds a way to get darn close though.

This is one I won't hesitate to purchase for school. Students interested in this particular time period or historical fiction would be well served by reading it!

The publisher is offering a copy of
The Hotel on The Corner of Bitter and Sweet
to one lucky commenter! Open to US and Canada. 1 entry per person.
Just leave a comment with your email address!
Contest closes February 8, 2010 at 11:59 pm

About the Author
jamiefordJamie Ford is the great-grandson of Nevada mining pioneer Min Chung, who emigrated from Kaiping, China, to San Francisco in 1865, where he adopted the Western name “Ford,” thus confusing countless generations. Ford is an award-winning short-story writer, an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and a survivor of Orson Scott Card’s Literary Boot Camp. Having grown up near Seattle’s Chinatown, he now lives in Montana with his wife and children.

Jamie on the Internets
Twitter - JamieFord
Facebook - Jamie Ford
Other TLC Book Tour Dates
Wednesday, February 3rd: Lit and Life

Thursday, February 4th: Nerd’s Eye View

Friday, February 5th: Feminist Review

Monday, February 8th: Suko’s Notebook

Tuesday, February 9th: Books and Movies

Wednesday, February 10th: Suko’s Notebook – author interview

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and Random House for the review and giveaway book!


  1. Kathy, I'm so happy you enjoyed the book and I'm also glad you'll be getting a copy for the school!

    Thanks so much for the time spent reading and reviewing the book. It is much appreciated.

    OH! And please enter me in the giveaway as well> but if I win I'm having it sent to your school!

  2. I have really wanted to read this for a while. Enter me please!

  3. I'd really love to read this!! Thanks for the giveaway.

    s.mickelson at gmail dot com

  4. I'd love to read this! Thanks!

    jpetroroy at gmail dot com

  5. i would enjoy reading this book....thanks for the opportunity.


  6. This has been on my to-read list - I would love a chance to win a copy! Thanks!

    librarianapril at gmail dot com

  7. Terrific review! I also enjoyed this book and will review it soon. Please don't enter me in the giveaway because I already have a copy. :)

  8. Jen,
    The random gods have spoken! The pub will send out your copy as soon as I get your snail mail addy! Congratulations.


Thanks for chatting! I love comments and look forward to reading yours! I may not reply right away, but I am listening! Keep reading and don't forget to be awesome!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blog Design by Imagination Designs all images from the Saturday Stories kit by Lien