The Buddah in the Attic

The Buddah in the Attic
I am a member of the BritMums Book Club in association with Penguin Books. This month I received a free copy of The Buddah in the Attic by Julie Otsuka.

The Buddah in the Attic by Julie Otsuka is a heartbreaking rendition of the story of the thousands of Japanese war brides who came to America in the early part of the twentieth century. Set between World Wars One and Two, the narrative is in the collective first person, which makes it feel very personal as well as more inclusive. I was drawn in from the first sentence and felt connected to the women in the story, sold into marriage away from their families, heading away to a new life in a new world.

As the story progresses we watch them endure a terrible journey only to find that many of their husbands are not who they pretended to be at all. We learn of the hardship as they built lives and families in their new country only to find it all taken away when Japan attacks Pearl Harbour in World War 2.

At less than 130 pages, The Buddah in the Attic is one of the shortest novels I have read in a long time, but this haunting tale will remain with me for many years to come. After I finished it I felt compelled to learn more about the internment of Japanese Americans in World War 2.

I prefer the books I read to have happy endings, and The Buddah in the Attic does not. However I am very glad I read this lyrical, nuanced and compelling tribute to the young Japanese war brides who played a very important role in the evolution of American culture and of America itself.

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Article by April Harris

April has written 1291 great articles for us.
April is a writer, recipe developer, frequent traveller and blogger sharing travel, food, and style. Based in the south of England, April is a British Canadian who is passionate about family, hearth and home, healthy living (with treats!) and the transformative power of travel.
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  1. Welcome to BritMums Book Club. Really enjoyed your review this book will stay with me for a long time too.

  2. Thank you, April – I’m going to bump this one higher up my to-read list.
    I took a walking tour of San Francisco several years ago and one of the stops was the (former) home of the Japanase ambassador(?) in 1941. Apparently, the weather that December was mild, but for a couple of days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the residence was making constant use of its fireplaces, presumably to burn evidence/materials. I’ll be really interested to read the story of how civilians were affected.

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