Review and Giveaway: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford (Ballantine, 2009), 320 pages

Summary
When Henry Lee sees the crowd outside the Panama Hotel, the long-boarded-up former gateway to Seattle’s Nihonmachi, he fights his way to the front to see what’s happening. The new owner, in front of reporters’ cameras, hauls out chests of treasures that Japanese families stored there when they were interned after the attack on Pearl Harbor. And one of the first things displayed? A parasol with a koi on it, just like the one his friend, Keiko, had when he was 12 …

Thoughts
The story is told in two parts, moving with ease back and forth between 1942 and 1986. I’ve been thinking for days, and I haven’t really come up with anything I dislike about this book. I loved the story, the setting, the characters, the jazz and the flowers. The story immediately drew me in.

I had heard good things about this book, and it lived up to my expectations; I’d been wanting to read it for nearly a year before I actually did! This book made me happy.

As much as I really love this book, though, I’m afraid it won’t stick with me forever. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but other things have started overshadowing it already. This makes me sad. The writing was serviceable — actually, that’s probably a bit unfair. It was certainly far from bad, but it didn’t blow me away, either.

I loved delving more deeply into the Japanese internment, something I haven’t read enough about.

About the author
Jamie Ford’s website and his BitterSweet blog. He’s on Twitter @JamieFord. He grew up near Seattle’s Chinatown and now lives with his family in Montana.

Hopefully I’ll have a brief interview with Ford here tomorrow (Monday).

Check out the rest of the TLC Book Tour stops for Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford.

Other reviews
The Book Lady’s Blog
Booking Mama
Literate Housewife
The Bluestocking Society
Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Hey Lady!
Rhapsody in Books
Amy at The Friendly Book Nook
B&b ex Libris

Still want more reviews? Check out the Book Blogs Search Engine.

Have you reviewed this book? Leave me a link and I’ll add it here.


The publisher has offered 1 extra copy of the book (trade paperback) as a giveaway (U.S./Canada only) to one of my readers! Comment here about the book (or my review) or on the interview for a chance to win.

The giveaway will end next Monday, January 25, when I’ll randomly select a winner.

I received this book from the publisher, as part of the TLC book tour. I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.

Edited to add: This giveaway is now closed, a winner has been chosen.

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20 responses to “Review and Giveaway: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

  1. I would love to have a chance to read this book. I was a bit on the fence for a long time before reading your review! Thanks.

  2. You’re right that it’s not the kind of story that sticks with you forever, but it’s lovely to read. 🙂

  3. I think I’m the last one to read this book. I’m sad to see it’s not a story that sticks with you. No need to enter me.

  4. This is one I’ve been meaning to read, too, in the hopes of using it in my high school English curriculum. I’d be really interested, Lily, to hear whether you think it would work with high school students, and under what themes you’d put it in a unit….

  5. This book has been on my library list for a while now. I knew some kids in high school whose parents had been in an internment camp and I’ve never forgotten that. Add my name to the random giveaway list please. And thanks for sponsoring the giveaway.

  6. Hannah, thanks so much for your review. I’m glad you said, “This book made me happy” but I’m sorry you didn’t like it more!

    I’d really loved to be entered into the contest. My stepdad’s parents both went to the internment camps as teenagers and I love reading fiction about that time.

    Thanks so much for the time and effort you put into this (and ALL) your reviews.

  7. Sounds like a great book! As you know, I love all things Japanese. I’ve love to read it!

  8. I adored this book!

    Please don’t enter me in the giveaway, as I already have a copy. 🙂

  9. I didn’t like the book as much as you, though I find it interesting that you thought it was good but not memorable. Interesting what makes some books stand out and others not, huh?

  10. Pingback: Interview with Jamie Ford, author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet « Word Lily

  11. Your interview was excellent and I was surprised at your review as I read the interview first. It sound like an interesting premise and I think it would be a great book to read.

  12. Pingback: TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for the week of January 18th-22nd | TLC Book Tours

  13. Pingback: Jamie Ford, author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, on tour January/February 2010 | TLC Book Tours

  14. This book has been on my radar for quite awhile. I would love a chance to win this book.

    Thanks for the chance.

  15. This has been generating lots of buzz and it does sound interesting.

  16. I want to read this book eventually. It looks really good!

  17. I read a library copy of this book a while ago and loved it! I would really like to have my own copy to read again, then pass on to my daughter. Thanks for the giveaway!

  18. Great review, and I loved the author interview. I’ve had this book on my list for quite a while, so please do enter me in the giveaway!

    Thanks 🙂

  19. I appreciate your review of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. I hope to get a copy to read and share. The issue of incarceration with out due process is still very present in the political system; as well as cultural prejudice within our communities is a constant reminder that racism and ignorance is evidence in our community and government. Our solution needs to move in the direction of education awareness, which leads to better cultural harmony within our world community.

  20. Pingback: Winner of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford « Word Lily

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