Reading, for me, is entertainment and an escape from the real world. But it can also inform and stretch the boundaries of the life I live.
I gobbled this book up in two days while on my Galveston vacation. There were so many things to love about it. Henry’s dawning realization of how his inability to talk to his own father has tainted his relationship with his own son, even his ability to see his own son with clear eyes. The deliciously slow reveal of his backstory with Keiko that kept me asking, “what happened? WHAT HAPPENED??” The unsentimental recounting of events during WWII that led to the internment of Japanese Americans and the theft of their property, with all the attendant racism. This part is made more powerful because it’s recorded through the perceptions of a 12 year old Chinese American boy. A boy who is essentially estranged from his own immigrant parents in their zeal to force him to assimilate so he can be a successful American. It’s a book full of irrational hate, full of love of every kind, full of dignity and courage and adaptation in adversity. And it’s a story of old wrongs forgiven, of wounds healed.
It has its flaws, too. The character of Sheldon flirts with the Magical Negro trope. The Japanese American characters all seem remarkably flawless, although I could almost excuse that as being filtered through the lens of the main character’s perceptions.
But still, this was a two hankie tearjerker that I thoroughly enjoyed. Highly recommend.