Customer Reviews for

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

80 out of 87 people found this review helpful.

I completely and unashamedly fell in love with this book from the very beginning!

Hotel on the Corner of Butter and Sweet is Jamie Ford's beautifully written debut about Henry, a Chinese American growing up in Seattle during World War II. Henry struggles with his identity, his stubborn father, and when his best friend, a Japanese American girl, is se...
Hotel on the Corner of Butter and Sweet is Jamie Ford's beautifully written debut about Henry, a Chinese American growing up in Seattle during World War II. Henry struggles with his identity, his stubborn father, and when his best friend, a Japanese American girl, is sent to an internment camp he has to decide between love and loyalty.

This book is like a little slice of history complete with the sights, sounds and smells of Seattle during World War II, jazz music, salty sea air, and the sweet taste of duck sausage. There are so many themes touched in this story that it should feel overly crowded: first love, father-son relationships, immigrants, racism, and looming over everything World War II. Yet the story flows around and through Henry seamlessly and it is easy to find yourself deep in his world.

I completely and unashamedly fell in love with this book from the very beginning. At first I raced through it eager to see what would become of Henry, later I slowed my progress wanting to prolong my time with him and anxious about his ending. When the end came it was perfect, bitter and sweet, but so satisfying too.

posted by Frisbeesage on February 3, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Bitter and sweet indeed

This book was just good. At times long and slow but still keeping me interested in the story. Henry's character is very well developed and I really liked how, as his character was developing also was the story. I only gave it three stars because the writing is a little ...
This book was just good. At times long and slow but still keeping me interested in the story. Henry's character is very well developed and I really liked how, as his character was developing also was the story. I only gave it three stars because the writing is a little heavy at times, it was almost as if the story and Henry were too much for the writing abilities of the author but...it didn't keep me from liking the story, the setting and characters.

posted by 4176825 on October 21, 2010

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  • Posted September 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    WOW!

    I loved this story. It's told in a "then and now" voice of a young boy who's coming of age and the old man he becomes. I laughed, loved, and cried my heart out. I could hardly put the book down as I eagerly awaited each next chapter. One of the best stories I've read in a while.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Nice Story

    I enjoyed the story, I wouldn't rate it as one of my all time favorite books, but it was a good read and very enjoyable. I always like reading about the feelings of the Japanese/Americans at the time of the war. Very enjoyable book.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    Sweet escape

    Such a sweet book that describes an era that many of us never learned about in History class. Yet it wove a feeling of love, forgiveness and hope throughout. I hated to have it end!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    New Twist on WWII

    This was a great story about a time in our history that doesn't get much attention. This book touches the little discussed history of putting American citizens of Japanese decent in American camps during the war. It also explores how culture differences affect our life and those around us. Good Book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2009

    A Wonderful Story

    This is a book to read, keep..or give away..and re-read in the future. It is beautifully written with memorable characters...It presents a picture of the World War II era that I was unaware of. A great book that stays with one long after the last page is finished.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2009

    Excellent and utterly charming read

    I actually e-mailed the author to tell him how much I enjoyed this book. I had never done such before. He actually responded within a few hours. I can barely wait for his next book which he is in the process of writing.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 13, 2014

    Hotel in the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford This book

    Hotel in the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
    This book is based on the character named Henry Lee, the story goes back and forth between two times; from 1942, when he was a 13 year-old-boy finding young love to 1986 when he’s in his mid-forty’s searching for something that meant so much to him. He comes from a Chinese family that wants him to only speak “American”. With Henry only being able to speak English, it caused conflict with his relationship with his parents. Henry attended Rainier Elementary, where he had met Keiko, his only friend at the school and Seattle. They started put Japs in intern camps when Keiko had started school. Henry and Keiko went through a lot together, which also brought them closer and apart. After many years Henry marries and has a son named Marty. With the help of Marty’s fiancee, it unfolds Henry's past and even his son learns things about his father and help him find what or who he has been searching for, for many years. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2014

    Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet had such an amazing yet

    Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet had such an amazing yet suspenseful story! I just love the storyline of the main character. Jamie Ford really wrote such an unusual story, but it came out really inspiring to me. The story of the Henry and how he overcomes almost all the obstacles he faces are so amazing. Even though the story went back and forth from him being a young boy to becoming a man, the story overall was still an attention grabber. 
    The two main characters, Henry Lee and Keiko Okabe, define friendship so well despite all their difference between them. I love how Jamie Ford put two lovers in a time of crises and force them to make choices they both cannot regret. I also love how the story is put in an historical event. The story really reminds me of Romeo and Juliet! 
    I would recommend this book to those people who would like to start reading books. Jamie Ford really inspired me while reading this book; I would even consider reading it again! Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet is overall a well-connected novel from two different themes. The book will leave you with awe. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2014

    Stephanie Oropeza-Benitez Larson The Hotel on the Corner Bitte

    Stephanie Oropeza-Benitez Larson

    The Hotel on the Corner Bitter Sweet takes place back in World War 2. It took place right after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. After the Pearl Harbor incident Japanese were seen as the Enemy.it was difficult for a twelve year old Chinese named Henry. Henry is to wear the button saying “I am Chinese” to not be confused for a Japanese. Henry goes to an all-white school that is made fun and bullied by the others. Henry works in the cafertia and is introduced to Keiko who is Japanese. Henry and Keiko got close but Henry was afraid because his father will never approve. 
    Keiko was taken away with her family to an internment camp. Henry was truly sad because he had fallen in love with her. Henry tries everything to see her. Henry promised to marry her and wait for her. Henry’s father will do anything to separate them. By introducing him to Ethel who becomes his wife and the mother of his child they live a whole life. Ethel passes away and Henry is brought back to the past. Henry is not sure if to come back to Keiko. 
    This novel gets to show young love. Catches an attention in the beginning because of the descriptive background story between the characters. Many can be relatable to the characters. The very end of the novel seemed too rushed because of the lack of description. It seemed that the author took his time then he rushed in the end like if he needed to finish.  It took my interest and bothered me in the end because it started all cute then becomes with leaving you to questions

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2014

    Jamie Ford┬┐s, Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet, is such a

    Jamie Ford’s, Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet, is such an amazing and well-constructed novel! I love how the story line goes back and forth from the past to the present. It shows us a brief history of the Japanese-American war and how it affected the Japanese people living in America. The story of Henry’s life just catches a lot of my attention, what he goes through is just so inspiring, especially knowing how young he is. 
    Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet is not just a historical fiction novel; it is also a romantic theme in it. The story between the two main characters, Henry Lee and Keiko Okabe, can relate to William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. They both show the same concept of being different and having to be prideful. Despite their difference, their friendship brings them closer to each other no matter how far they are apart from one another. 
    The novel also brings a lot of suspense! I love being surprised! Jamie Ford did a really great job writing this novel. His inspiration captures all of our attention, the way he writes the novel in a historical event really brings me back to the past. Over all this novel was a great and well-constructed book. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 13, 2014

    This book has made a person who already love and the same hate h

    This book has made a person who already love and the same hate history love and hate history. The reason for that, is the fact that American citizens like to feel that other races are lower than their own. For example, During World War II many people would judge NOT just Japanese but yet all the other Asian country decedents that lived in the USA. However, even Mexicans, Latinos, Native Americans and other races were judged. Therefore, this particular book shows the reader in much more detail how families -not just Japanese but yet even Chinese- were affected by the imprisonment of the Japanese decedents even though there was no report of ACTUAL Japanese SPIES. However, the romance between Henry and Keiko is something that is more than just a regular friendship but yet a relationship that was in their minds for the last 40-ish years.  

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 13, 2014

    The Book "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" was

    The Book "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" was a romance between the main character Henry Lee and Keiko Okabe it is told as a flashback from their childhood and how they became to know each other, Henry in present time is married to a Ethel who is his wife who dies at the age of about fifty cancer. the story is based in a time during World War II and in the Eighties. The book tells how he became to love Keiko and how he is older and trying to find love for a second first time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2014

    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is one of Jamie Fords be

    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is one of Jamie Fords best novels. It is about a young Chinese boy named Henry who grew up in Seattle during WWII. Henry is constantly having to deal with his stubborn father and his best friend Keiko, who is sent to a internment camp because she is Japanese. This novel does an excellent job on portraying the history and attitudes of this time period. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is filled with themes, from the smell of the salty sea to the sound of jazz music. Henry, who is in love with his best friend Keiko, goes to through so much to try and be with her. His father is the main problem and Henry can never seem to agree with him. His mother on the other, hand helps him behind his father back and shows that she care. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was an amazing love, adventurous book. Jamie Ford really captivates the reader in the book and you will find yourself never wanting to close the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2013

    Gorgeous

    To be brief, it is a wonderful read, one I could hardly stand to put down. The author pulls the reader in and grips them to the end. I loved Henry's story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2013

    Read in one day

    This book is now in my top 5 of all time fav books, what an amaxing story!,,,

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2013

    If you've ever lost track of a love...it's a must read!

    Very nicely written and well-researched. Turns the light on a period in American history that may be swept under the rug and ignored. Reminds us once again that real people were involved in this tragic event. Ignorance,fortitude and love, hope and tolerance...it's all there!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2012

    Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet

    Loved the story; made you feel you were living every event with each character. A love story with lots of turns of events; shocked how Henry's father does the things he does to his son and says 'l did it for you". Yah right!! The book is also about history and the city of Seattle. Snuggle up with a blanket and don't foget to have the tissue close by.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 5, 2010

    Bitter That Ends With Sweet

    This is a beautifully constructed novel set in the midst of a sad and bitter moment in American and world history. Through the eyes of two youngsters, a Chinese boy and a Japanese nisei girl on the brink of their teenage years, we encounter the baseless fears that led to America's internment of the Japanese population on the West Coast and the prejudices toward and within the Asian community of Chinese and Japanese alike. Through the eyes of the man the boy becomes, we see the effects of these events on their lives some forty years later. As the book moves back and forth between the two eras, our insight into the characters grows and develops as they grow and develop. Unlikely catalysts are a wise black jazz musician, no stranger to prejudice himeslf, and a gruff cook who cannot bear for anyone to see her human side. I recommend this book as highly as I have ever recommended a novel. It is superb.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2010

    If you love character development and culture

    The story of Henry and his life was a worthwhile read. It could have been about 20 pages shorter but after I felt bogged down about pg 100, I
    continued reading. Glad I did. I feel like Henry is a friend and with all friendship hate to see him go.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2010

    Kind of Slow

    I thought the story moved along pretty slowly. I had a hard time getting invested in the characters, which didn't help the pace of the book. I liked how it turned out in the end but wasn't overly interested in what was happening overall. I will say, it did open my eyes in regards to how the Japanese-Americans were treating during the war.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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