My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received to review for this blog tour
Genre: Historical Fiction
Book Description: Different eyes and skin Mock me from the mirror’s light Enemy am I. Dec 7, 1941 Today my life changed forever . . . I am no longer considered American, but by shear heritage I am now the hated enemy . . . The lives of Kenji and Aiko Onishi and their American-born children are about to unravel when the United States is thrust into war with Japan. Confronted by insurmountable prejudice and fear, the family is ripped from their California home without just cause by the American government and sent to an assembly center “for their own protection.” Forced to live in deplorable circumstances, every aspect of their lives regulated and controlled, the Onishi’s freedoms are stripped from their grasp as they struggle to survive behind barbed wire. It isn’t long before the mind-numbing confinement and feelings of helplessness begin to pit the family against one another. When sent to a relocation camp in the center of the Utah desert, they’re beset by ever increasing emotional and physical challenges, and Aiko is faced with her greatest yet: to mend the broken spirits of her family, or risk losing them forever. Based on true and tragic events that transpired during World War II, Rising Sun, Falling Star is a heart-rending story of one family’s struggle to survive uncalculated loss and emotional destruction.
My thoughts: Rising Sun, Falling Star deals with a period of American history that isn't talked about much. (At least in the United States.) During World War II, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, people of Japanese descent were rounded up and taken to camps. They were surrounded by a fence, armed guards making sure that they could not come and go as they pleased. They lost homes and livelihoods. The government said it was for their safety.
The Onishi family were the main characters of the story. It deals with how they handled their imprisonment. They portray a myriad of emotions. The amazing thing was that they stayed loyal to their adopted country, the country that no longer trusted them. Through all of their trials, their faith and family held them together.
I enjoyed reading this book. It is well written and I felt compassion for the prisoners of Topaz camp. I am grateful to have had the chance to read about a time that is glossed over in history class. This is a story that needs to be told.
Read and Excerpt:
Aiko reciprocated with a bow and then left the shop. The moist air sent a chill through her body. She clutched her collar around her neck and walked to the butcher shop. Her soul felt as damp as the atmosphere, her heart as bleak as the slate-colored sky overhead. When she neared Mr. Koslowski’s butcher shop, she came to an abrupt stop. In front was a large hand-painted sign in the store window. “NO JAPS ALLOWED.” Aiko stood there blinking at the sign, her sensibilities shocked by the ugly words. She peered above the lettering and saw the familiar face of Mr. Koslowski as he assisted a customer, his affable smile still the same.
Aiko’s shoulders slumped with understanding, then she turned away, raised her chin, straightened her shoulders, and walked down the street to the Busy Bee Market. Her dinner plans had changed.
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