Yesterday, I reviewed Jamie Ford’s newest novel, Love and Other Consolation Prizes. Today, because I adore his writing, I’m re-posting my reviews of his earlier books from my old blog. If you are new to his work I beg you to go back and read the other two! Sadly I had to miss his appearance in Cincinnati recently. I might just pop for the ticket to the Kentucky Literary Lunch though to get to hear him and meet him.
Possibly the sweetest coming-of-age book ever
Jamie Ford’s first novel is the one you want if you have longed for a SWEET story, unspoiled by the mandatory under-age se_ual antics, this is your book. In true Romeo & Juliet fashion, Chinese-American Henry and Japanese-American Keiko find each other doing kitchen duty at their all-white private elementary school at the start of World War II in Seattle. The friendship that grows up into romance is sweet, so innocent, so heart-breakingly real. True to Romeo & Juliet, Henry’s father does all in his power to keep the couple apart. Stunned by forced relocation to an internment camp, and viewing themselves as “Americans” first, Keiko’s parents are welcoming. A promise is made….will it be kept? I refuse to print spoilers on this one! Just read it. It’s such a welcome edition to teen coming-of-age literature. Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.
The Child Who Wonders “What if…. and Why Wasn’t I Enough…”
I fell hopelessly in love with Jamie Ford’s writing when my son and I listened to an audio of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet a few years ago. His second book, The Songs of Willow Frost, has that same poignancy, that same “believe-ablity,” This time, though, I was glad I listened alone. My children are adopted and this book gave me tremendous insight into the desperate place they are in–they love me and our family, but there is always that “what if.…” Jamie Ford captures that “what if” so beautifully. He also makes sure the reader feels the innate sadness of an orphan’s life without it being a maudlin or depressing story. My heart clinched so many places in this story; my tears came freely at other places. Sweet William Eng and his journey to find his birth mother will stay with me forever.
“You can’t expect children to sew their own gaping wounds without leaving a terrible scar.” (p 183).
This one is going head-to-head with Year of the Comet for best book this year  on MY blog! The Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford.