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Book Review of Dear Canada: Torn Apart


English: British Columbia Security Commission ...

English: British Columbia Security Commission posting of evacuation of ethnic Japanese from designated areas. Category:British Columbia public domain photographs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Canada: Torn Apart by Susan Aihoshi
Rating: ★★★☆☆
My Recommendation: Ages 8-12

“They actually believed he has something to do with the Japanese who attacked Pearl Harbor. That is so crazy! Papa was born in Japan but he’s Canadian. We all consider ourselves one hundred percent Canadian, except perhaps Geechan, and even he’s lived in Canada over twenty-five years!”

Review

Part of the “Dear Canada” series this book gives the viewpoint of one Japanese Canadian girl during a tragic time in Canadian history via her diary entries. Written for children it does present a singular window into how Japanese Canadians were treated by the government of BC and Canada before and after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. For children aged 8-12 it is definitely worth reading with the proviso that it is not a book of exploration into the treatment, legalities, cause, misconceptions, prejudices of the time. It is written as one child’s fictional experiences during a turbulent time. It is well researched and provides insight into life before and during internment of this Japanese Canadian child, her family, friends and other Japanese Canadians.

The one area of the book I am disappointed in is the epilogue. Instead of using the opportunity to at least ponder why and how this abuse of Japanese Canadians came about, the epilogue rightly presents facts damning the treatment of the Japanese Canadians, but leaves the reader none the wiser as to how it was permitted to happen in the first place. The author muddies the water somewhat by raising the suggestion that Canada broke the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war in it’s policy towards the Japanese Canadians when she must have been aware that the Geneva Convention was not applicable.

That being said I would encourage young people to read this book to see the destruction that fear and ignorance can bring and to know that yes, this kind of abuse can and did occur in Canada, and must not be allowed to ever happen again.

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Posted by on June 17, 2013 in book, review

 

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Book Review: “Route 66”, a trip worth reading?


Billy Connolly. Taken by Jemma Lambert on Apri...

Billy Connolly. Taken by Jemma Lambert on April 13, 2005. Used with permission. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Author: Billy Connolly

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

I wanted to like Billy Connolly’s, Route 66 – The Big Yin on the Ultimate American Road Trip, I really did, but it was if the author was doing everything in his power to stop that from happening. I have never said this before about a book, DO NOT BUY IT! If someone gives it to you as a gift, thank them and then destroy the book unread as soon as it is safe to do so. Please note I do mean destroy, under no circumstances regift or donate this book to a charity. If you are philosophically opposed to the destruction of books, place your copy of “Route 66” in a hermetically sealed box, dig a hole in the nearest wasteland, place the box deep within the hole and refill the hole. Please, and this is very important, make sure to leave no hint something has been buried. It would be tragic if in a thousand years archeologists found and dug up the box and determined “Route 66” was what passed as enjoyable reading for our century.

You’d think with the author being a very successful comedian the book would be funny; it isn’t. There are a few sort of “funnyesque” moments, but they a few and far between. The problem, at least for me is that Connolly doesn’t come across as being very likeable. During the course of his journey on Route 66, Connolly fawns over some of the characters he meets for no purpose I can grasp and is massively judgemental about others without apparent thought or explanation. Mr. Connolly certainly seems to have a high opinion of himself and he is generous in sharing it with the reader.

Is the reader entertained or more informed after reading this book? I suppose there might be somebody out there who will be, but they’d have to be true die-hard Billy Connelly fans after a hard nights partying. In the end the author succeeds in coming across as an angry, arrogant and unfunny fellow, but as the creator of a book worth reading? Not so much.

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2013 in book, review

 

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