Saturday, January 9, 2021

Book Review - Fifty Words for Rain; Asha Lemmie

 

TITLE/AUTHOR: Fifty Words for Rain Asha Lemmie

PUBLISHER: Dutton

YEAR PUBLISHED: 2020

GENRE: Fiction Historical

FORMAT:  Print/LENGTH: 463 pp.

SOURCE: Library

SETTING(s): Japan


ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: A touching coming of age story about a biracial girl growing up in post WWII Japan.


BRIEF REVIEW:  Noriko (Nori) Kamiza is a biracial child born to a woman from a prominent Japanese aristocratic family; her father a black, American G.I.  An embarrassment to the prominent family, the story begins in 1948 with eight year old Nori being dropped off with a suitcase at the iron gates of her grandparents estate.  Upon her arrival she is hidden up in an attic and is forced to endure painful bleaching scrub baths in an effort to lighten her skin color. She's a bright girl who learns to read, write and do math as well; she does what she is told. When Akira, the older half-brother that Nori never knew about arrives to live at the estate after his father's death, it is a lucky break for Nori. Akira, the likely heir to the grandparents fortunes, turns out to be an advocate for her. He shows her kindness, teaches her about music and helps her gain some freedom like being able to spend time outdoors.  However, grandmother is not happy about the closeness of the half-siblings and will do whatever is necessary to keep the them apart.

The story spans a few decades and although it starts out rather sad, the book is not all doom and gloom and there are some moments of joy as well.  This was an impressive debut novel even though at times I felt the Nori character felt inconsistent. I think this would make a very good book club discussion choice. I forgot just how much I really enjoy historical fiction whenever I read it.  I also liked the setting of post-WWII Japan.


RATING: 4/5 stars

28 comments:

  1. That poor girl! This sounds like a really interesting book, Diane. The setting, both place and time period really appeal to me. I am adding this to my wish list.

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  2. This sounds like a good story and interesting premise. I like the cover, too.

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  3. Sad but an interesting story.

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  4. This so7nds like a touching read, thanks for sharing your thoughts

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  5. That sounds good. That time period had to be a tough one.

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    1. Yes, it was good and not too sad. The sad stuff happens quick and isn't belabored.

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  6. I am so glad you liked it. I read this for a reading group and our discussion was excellent!

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  7. I like the sound of this one. Thanks for the review!

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  8. This is on my list to read but I wasn't sure I could read about all the sadness in the book, so I'm glad you mention that it's not just all doom and gloom. I'll bump it up my list.

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  9. I really enjoy historical fiction and this sounds very good. Will add to my list!

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  10. This one is on my library hold list, and reading your review has just amped up my anticipation a notch or two.

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    1. I'll be curious what you think from the perspective of a male.

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  11. Sounds good but I am so burned out on WWII.

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    1. I felt that way too but, funny the last 2 WWII books I read, I really loved them.

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  12. This sounds like it could be a tough read but you’ve piqued my interest!

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  13. Yes, you have me interested now -- since you say it's not all doom & gloom! I like novels set in Japan too ... so I'm a "go" for this one!

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    1. I loved the Japan setting, as it's been a while since I read a book that took place there.

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  14. This does like a good one for book club. Making a note now :)

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  15. I'm planning to read more Japanese literature and books about Japan, so it fits the bill. I've never read anything post-WWII. Thanks for sharing, the theme is interesting.

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