Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bitter Sweet Coming Of Age Story

Thank you to Bloomsbury and Maureen Lindley.  A Girl Like You is a bittersweet coming of age story of a young girl caught between two worlds.
It gives voice to the difficulties faced by Japanese Americans that is too seldom heard. We hear many accounts of how World War II changed life in America.  However, the stories do not usually include how the war impacted the lives of minorities in America. Very little is mentioned of the internment camps that existed in America that "housed" thousands of Japanese and Japanese Americans ages ranging from infants to the elderly, healthy and ailing.
Angelina is the small town in California that Satori Baker calls home during the the late 1930's. The Bakers' are living on a farm that barely brings in enough money to make ends meet.  To add to the difficulties of growing up in the last years of the depression, and the angst associated with becoming a young woman, Satori is dealing with the fact that she is half Japanese and half American.  As a half caste, Satori is too American for the Japanese and too Japanese for the Whites in Angelina.  With all the challenges Satori is currently dealing with, she is about to find her world turned upside down and inside out when America declares war on the Japan in 1941.  The attack on Pearl Harbor leaves Satori without her father, her home, and her friends.
My Thoughts
Satori Baker is strong willed, an independent thinker, determined, and will not allow herself to be ruled just to get along with other people.  When the internment camps are shut down, Satori's determination and her survival instinct will be put to the test as Satori tries build a life for herself in a new America that still does not completely accept her kind.  How/where will Satori make a new life for herself after the war?   Will Satori be able to reclaim the home of her youth?  Will the horrors of living in the internment camp forever haunt Satori? 
"A Girl Like You" is poignant, filled with angst, and moments of joy and beauty that fill the mind of the reader.  There are also episodes of despair that are heartrending.  The pain of the characters is palpable.  It is a thought provoking story that leaves this reader wanting to know more of the untold stories of this time period.
by Celeste Thomas


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