"This is a well-written book where words flow with visual imagery of human suffering and hope to redeem pride. The historical account is accurate with vivid scenes of evacuation under duress. An excellent read and highly recommended." - Lilian, Goodreads
Told in five parts, this novel unravels the challenges between two unlikely Nisei friends, Jim and Russell, into adulthood during the Second World War. As restrictions are imposed, (even in the safe, rural community of Bainbridge Island,) as harassments escalate, (including the F.B.I. invading their homes and deporting their fathers to Montana for espionage trials,) the fated day arrives: evacuation of all Japanese civilians. Rounded up like cattle, tagged, they are hauled to the fringes of Death Valley: Manzanar. Together they must survive racism, gang violence, and the harsh elements of the environment. Together they must prove their loyalty, especially after a tragic riot on the eve of Pearl Harbor's anniversary. While Russell enlists in a segregated army, becoming part of one the most decorated units in U.S. history, Jim is sent to a different camp for the "No-No" boys: those who are marked disloyal. Removed from their families, they are forced to reevaluate their identities and discover, most importantly, what it means to forgive.
Russell gawked at the barrack, appalled. No walls. No furniture. No kitchen. No radio. What kind of place was this? It looked like some sort of solitary confinement. He walked over to one of the cots and pressed down. It felt firm and rigid. No pillows. No mattresses. Everyone frowned; except the twins who were more interested in the stoves‘ bellies by swinging the doors. Gertrude slapped both their hands, and complained about their unruly behavior.
Meito removed his hat, brooding over their bad luck. He sold his twenty acre farm, not knowing if he could afford the taxes without income, in exchange for this? He left his house, his possessions, and his pride for an empty space in the middle of nowhere? If he had known it was going to be this disgusting he would had loaded his shot gun and fought like hell! But no. He packed his bags instead, feeling obligated to protect his family. He knew his actions would embarrass them by provoking the authorities, and possibly make things worse. A good citizen never defied leadership; even if the men in charge were terribly wrong.
Gertrude shrieked. She began to gag, her face turning red, pointing to George. In between his fingers George held the tail end of a scorpion. Meito flew to his son, dropping his hat. He instantly grabbed the scorpion and catapulted it out the door. Then he sprinted to the door to slam it shut.
“That was a big no-no!” he barked, his voice trembling. “That was a very dangerous creature! When you boys see it again, run away! Do you boys understand?”
Horrified, both nodded their heads, not fully comprehending why their father hollered at them. George started to sniffle. Gertrude went to him, draping her arms around her confused son. She rocked him back and forth, telling him that everything was alright, and that Daddy didn‘t mean to yell at him. That he was only protecting them.
“Let‘s see if we can get some sleep,” Meito wearily sighed. Turning to his mother, he spoke in Japanese, “Mama, do not worry. The sun will rise higher tomorrow.”
About the author
Currently, I have three books published, two historical fiction and one children's book. Although I’ve been writing since childhood, I have a BA in History. I love studying history as much as wanting to evoke stories. I like to believe that after decades worth of introspection we have learned, hopefully more wisely if not conscientiously, what happened yesterday with a critical eye. Aside from a history degree, I also have a graphics art degree. My husband and I once owned a music store, a pizza delivery business, and several internet businesses. I also have dabbled with real estate and am grateful I got the heck out right before the crash! Sadly, history tends to repeat itself in important ways. Currently my family continues to live outside of Kansas City and will always have roots tied to Kansas. I am in the process of working on two more books, another historical fiction and one non-fiction.
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