Archive for the ‘Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet’ Category


On Monday, May 6th, the Booked for the Day book group met to discuss Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford.

Most of the group enjoyed the book but a few members thought it was just okay.

Everyone thought that there might be a good chance that Ethel knew what was happening to Henry’s letters to Keiko.  It’s hard to believe that she worked in the post office but was not aware of what was happening.

We all wondered what would have happened if Henry found Keiko after his father told him the truth. Would he have forgotten his promise to Ethel or would he keep his word?

Everyone’s favorite character was Mrs. Beatty. We loved how she quietly helped Henry without making it obvious.

Of course we were disappointed in Henry’s mother. We don’t think she did enough to help Henry in his struggles against his father.  It was also hard to understand how a father could not talk to his son for two years.

We also thought Henry’s father was sending his son a mixed message. He would not let him speak Cantonese at home because he wanted him Americanized, yet he wanted to send Henry to China to finish his education. We all thought Henry lived a lonely life. He had no one to talk to at home or school, and his father wanted to send him to China where he also knew no one and would be considered an outsider.

We talked about the Panama Hotel and how it really existed. The hotel has been restored to its original beauty. They also have a glass floor where you can see the belongings that 33 families of Japanese descent left when they were taken to the Internment Camps.

Everyone knew about the Japanese Internment Camps but no one remembered learning about this part of our history in school.  We talked about how Ronald Reagan signed legislation apologizing for the Internment and authorized $1.6 billion in reparations.

Everyone decided that they would have liked one more chapter to see what became of Henry and Keiko’s relationship. We were also curious what happened to Keiko after she was released from the Internment Camp.

These are just of few things mentioned during the discussion. Please feel free to add any of your thoughts in the comment section.


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hotel on the corner of bitter and sweetMonday, May 6th
11:00 am
Meeting Room B

Join us to discuss…

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
by Jamie Ford

This debut novel tells a heartwarming story of fathers and sons, first loves, fate, and the resilient human heart. Set in the ethnic neighborhoods of Seattle during World War II and Japanese American internment camps of the era, the times and places are brought to life by the marvelous, evocative details.

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A video tour narrated by Jamie Ford through the Panama Hotel and other locations from the book,  Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. In addition there is some footage and images from the time period of the book, the start of World World II,  comparing what it looked like then and now.

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jamie ford

I was looking for information on author Jamie Ford for our next book group discussion and I ran across an interview on his website that talks about where the idea for the “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” came from. I thought it was interesting and thought some of you might enjoy reading it too.

Here is the link to “A conversation with Jamie Ford.”    http://www.jamieford.com/interview/

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