Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Buddha in the Attic

When I read that today was the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, I was reminded of the novel, The Buddha in the Attic, by Julie Otsuka.  This Pen Faulkner award winner follows the lives of Japanese women from their journey to San Francisco to become "picture brides" for strangers, to the internment of Japanese-Americans at the onset of World War II.
A friend and I read this book for a book club that we accidentally joined, and although we found the writing to be beautiful, and the description of this shameful event in American history to be thought provoking, neither of us loved the book.  For me, the biggest problem was the use of the plural first-person narration.  I felt that the collective "we" took me out of the story.  I understood why the author made this deliberate choice, but I still felt like I was reading an essay... a beautiful essay, but an essay nonetheless.  If anyone out there has read this book, I'd love to know your thoughts on it.  I'm especially interested to see if any educators have used excerpts of this novel to launch text-based discussion of the internment of Japanese-Americans.

Happy reading.
Literacy Connections Blog

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