Customer Reviews for

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

79 out of 86 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 July 18, 2010

    Wonderful book

    This is a must book - I was sorry to see it end. The characters are wonderful and grow as the book progresses. Henry's mother is portrait with a great sense of love for Henry, his father and her nationality. Every character in the book is someone you have known in your lifetime.
    Unfortunately, 60+years later - we continue to show prejudice to those who are different from us.
    Hoping that Jamie Ford writes another delightful book. Congratulations on your first one.

    14 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    What An Appropriate TItle

    Some experiences are universal, like the imprint left by first love. Some are not like the tension often felt between immigrant parents and American born children. Ford creates a beautiful and emotional tale on these experiences weaved through the historical events of Japanese internment during World War II.

    Henry, American born to Chinese parents, meets Keiko, the daughter of Japanese parents, at an all-white school in Seattle where both are sent to receive the education many immigrants of the time sought. Henry's family has suffered travesties by Japanese forces in their homeland. Therefore, they bring a prejudice against the Japanese that, combined with the fear they will be mistaken for Japnese, fosters a bitterness for all things Japanese. Henry, having been raised American, is free of these biases. So, when Henry and Keiko are thrust together to face the taunts of their school peers a deep and sincere friendship develops. As conditions for the Japanese-Americans disintegrates Henry and Keiko are faced with the prospect of separation. Years later when the Panama Hotel is bought and rennovation begins personal effects are uncovered and Henry has the opportunity to resolve the past.

    While on the surface this book is a coming of age story set in a historical time period. Dig a little deeper and you will find themes of loyalty, friendships, family tension, and forgiveness.

    3 out of 4 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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  • 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 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 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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  • Posted October 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Soft spoken...

    A quiet peek into WWII life of a 12 y.o. American boy of Chinese descent. Henry is pulled between two cultures--both which have their own prejudices and fights to find his place in both of them. This is a unique, yet sometimes sad, coming of age story. I would have liked a little bit more in the ending though.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2014

    Excellent read

    Incredible story. I fell in love with the characters almost immediately. Though the credibility of the ages is slightly off, it still does a great job at linking culture with fiction.

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  • Posted July 4, 2014

    Highly recommended

    Enjoyed the author's method of interweaving the past with the present. Good historical fiction of the times. A great read!!

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  • Posted June 18, 2014

    An accurate glimpse into history

    A touching look at the war years following the attack on Pearl Harbor and the people affected by it. The characters of Henry and Keiko represent the loss and hardships their people suffered simply for being Asian. I enjoyed the author's character development and the toggling back and forth between modern day (1980s) and the war years. A quick read but heartwarming at the end.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2014

    Good book

    I liked the book except I didn't find it realistic for a twelve year old to be out and about exhibiting teenage behavior, that was probably the only thing that bothered me about the book. Otherwise, worth the read, wish the ending was more detailed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2014

    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an amazing book to re

    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an amazing book to read! You will not be displeased when you purchase this book. It has romance, action, drama, and a bit of comedy. Jaime Ford has captured the emotions of how it must have felt for many during the time of Pearl Harbor and after Executive Order 9066 went into motion. Truly a must read! A story of hope in which was almost lost, but once again found. It does not only focus on the main characters of the book, but also how the order played out for Japanese/Americans during this time. I recommend this book to those with an eye for a tear-jerking but heart warming love story. So many sacrifices in which were made, adrenalin rush giving, fist clenching and heart racing moments within this book will surely keep you entertained through out your reading. You will want to read more or linger within the last pages to see what happens to the main characters in the end. Personally, I found this book very, very entertaining. It offers so much excitement that I could not put the book down. It is an interesting read that just sucks you into a world that is filled with many feels. Each chapter was a twist and a turn as many adventures awaited me within the chapters ahead that could either be real tear jerker’s but also be very happy moments that I wish lasted for a while. This book gave me one ride that I will never forget and a better understand of how many were feeling during Executive Order 9066. I could read this book over and over again because it a must read that I will never get tired of. You will truly get your money’s worth with Jaime Ford’s Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.

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  • Posted January 31, 2014

    Great Read!

    It was an easy book to follow. I enjoyed reading about the 40's and then back to the 80's.
    I enjoyed reading and learning about how the Japanese and Chinese did not mix in the 40's/

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2014

    A must read

    My wife read this book and couldn't put it down. That rarely happens. I had the same reaction. It is well worth the read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2013

    A fantastic novel! This is story that takes place between WW2 an

    A fantastic novel! This is story that takes place between WW2 and the 1980's. It follows and young Chinese American boy (Henry) and his relationship that is doomed from the start with a Japanese American girl (Keiko). It really highlights a subject that I feel is much forgotten for this time period (Japanese internment camps) and tells the story of what families were going through during this period. Very interesting on how many themes it delves into (personal ones such as family relationships, love, honor and respect, and then into broad worldly themes such as world war, and racism abroad and at home) . It's a must read for anyone who is interested in accurate historical fiction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2013

    Great story, simple lessons for humankind and politics

    Great story, simple lessons for humankind and politics

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2013

    Great Story!

    Great story!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2013

    Great read!

    I really enjoyed this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2013

    Good book

    Very cute book! Really enjoyed reading this book although it wasn't necessarily a "can't put it down" type of read it definitely was well written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2013

    Quite a read!!!

    Even though I am only half way through this book, I am ready to recommend it. The war-time setting gives the reader a lot to consider about our country's actions toward some of our citizens. The two main characters are a Chinese-American male and his Japanese-American female friend, both of whom were born in the United States. They were separated as children attending the same school when the Japanese population of Washington (state) were evacuated from their homes and taken to "camps" for the duration of the war. The chapters fluctuate between the late twetntieth century and the early forties, much like "Sarah's Key". Read it.

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