Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

I recently read the book, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. Published 2009 This is an Historical Fiction inspired by the events of the American Japanese relocation after Pearl Harbor.

I tell everyone I know who loves to read, to read this book! As someone who is a history enthusiast I found this book particularly interesting. While there are many Historical novels about the Holocaust, the Japanese relocation is not a popular writing subject which makes this book particularly unique and an important read. The story takes place in and around the Seattle Washington area where I live. If you are from the Seattle area chances are you know many of these places and know them well. This also makes this book particularly interesting as living on the west coast we don’t have an abundance of history.

The story is gripping not only in it’s fictional story telling but also in the facts in History. I looked up many of these things and found them to be true. This is very important as far as I am concerned in an Historical fiction. I always find it disappointing when I find a book has many incorrect “historical facts”. This story does a fabulous job of pulling the reader into the story and giving you a real feel for what it would be like to have been these people. Born an American, to live in America, but because of your ethnicity and a situation beyond your control, which you have no part of, you are feared and hated. You understand what it felt like for them to lose everything, their homes, their livelihoods, all of their positions and what life was like in their relocation camps.

I have never been to the real Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (The Panama Hotel). This is one of the last remaining remnants of old Japantown. The next time I make a trip into downtown Seattle I want have lunch in the tea room at the Panama Hotel and see the pictures of the real people who lived there and some of their treasures they left behind in the now lost and forgotten “Japantown”.

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