Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Book Review -- The Fences Between Us

It's Friday and time for Book Reviews. Today's book is one I loved reading. Kirby Larson is a marvelous writer, and I'm always on the lookout for her books.

This review can also be seen at Sacramento Book Review and San Francisco Book Review, along with a wealth of other reviews in every genre by other reviewers. Please do visit these sites, read the reviews and leave a comment. Please leave a comment here too! I love to hear from you.

Okay; here's the review:

The Fences Between Us

By Kirby Larson
Scholastic Press, $12.99, 313 pages

Thirteen-year-old Piper Davis’s brother, Hank, leaves for boot camp, to see the world via the Navy. Their older sister is in college. Their father is a pastor in the part of Seattle called Japantown. Piper’s biggest worries are whether her father will let her wear Tangee lipstick, and whether her crush on Bud will be returned. Despite Reverend Davis’s church activities, Piper is semi-oblivious to her neighborhood’s biases toward the Japanese.

Then Pearl Harbor is bombed. America enters the war. Japanese communities are evacuated. Families are sent to camps. When the families in Seattle’s Japantown are sent to the Minidoka War Relocation Center in Eden, Idaho, Piper’s father gets government permission to follow his congregation and remain their pastor at the new center.

Piper’s diary entries from 1941 to 1943 reflect her growing maturity. Worries for Hank’s safety in the Pacific mingle with her moral outrage at the treatment of Japanese families. With her camera, Piper becomes a witnesses to their steady dignity in the face of injustice. Tragedies and triumphs interweave throughout this book. Like Piper’s camera, Larson captures a shameful episode in our nation’s history.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Varadan

See more at: San Francisco Book Review and Sacramento Book Review


Faith said...

Interesting! Did they repackage this book / the series? I seem to remember the Dear America / Dear Canada / Royal Diaries being small hardcovers with full-body shots of the girls... the image here looks like a paperback with a very different style of cover formatting.

Rosi said...

Nice review. This isn't the type of book I'd normally choose, but with the backdrop of Japanese internment, I just might pick it up.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Nice Rosi said it would not be the type of book I would pick up, but then you never know. I am interseted in Asian themes. :)

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Faith, yes, they have repackaged the series. I did another review (for SBR) on Voyage on the Great Titanic, and I had the earlier version I picked up in a used book store (for reasons related to my WIP); same author, different picture.

Rosi and Rachna, the book is well worth the read. Larson really captures the whole era of the forties as well as telling a poignant, wonderful tale that sticks with you.

Lydia Kang said...

Sounds like a great book, and I am glad the author doesn't skimp on that important and shameful time in American history.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Lydia, I agree. And Kirby Larson did a beautiful job of presenting it in a way that a young person can really connect with.