Book Review - Forgiveness
Read Mrs. Walkers' review of Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto. Forgiveness was the winner of the 2018 Great Canadian Book Debate on CBC as part of Canada Reads. We've just added a copy in the library so come check it out today.
From Mrs. Walker:
This Canada Reads winner is a treasure of a book. Mark Sakamoto tells the story of his grandparents; on his father's side, we meet Mitsue in Vancouver before World War II. She and her family are a hardworking immigrant family, earning their living from fishing. Sakamoto chronicles their devastating treatment at the hands of fellow Canadians who demand that the government do something about the "Japanese problem." Herded into Hastings Park, they are then sent to Alberta, working as slave labourers for farmer, Mr. Rutt. We then meet Ralph, Sakamoto's maternal grandfather, whose story about surviving the POW camps in Hong Kong and then Japan is hard to read at times due to the violent, graphic detail. The latter part of the book is about Sakamoto's own life, growing up in Medicine Hat in the 80s, 90s and later, watching his parents split up, his mother falling into alcoholism as he pursues his own ambition of becoming a lawyer. The guilt as she degenerates in the basement of the Cecil hotel is very moving.
The book tells the story of people who endured a great deal of pain, discrimination, and poverty, but who retain their dignity and core values. It is Sakamoto's tribute to his grandparents, thanking them for being models of strength and perseverance. While chronicling this shameful part of Canadian history, Sakamoto also celebrates what this country means to him. This should be a must-read in schools.
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