Liked It2 of 2 members found this review helpful
“My rating might be influenced by having a Japanese mother who is approximately the same age as Shoko. While Shoko's story is obviously different in the details, I remember that my mother went through many of the same experiences.”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It
“Gave up half way through”see full review » see other reviews »
“Only read half!”Kuntso wrote this review Saturday, October 5, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Very good... Rated Pg except for 1 use of profanity (F-bomb as I recall...!) I'm a sucker for foreign culture novels. ”Julia W wrote this review Tuesday, September 10, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“good read... I enjoyed it.
how far we have come, I hope////”
“How to Be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway is a wonderful look into what it is like to be a Japanese war bride and her daughter's view of her mother and herself. The first half of the book is told through the eyes of Shoko the mother and most of the second half is through her daughter, Sue. Their experiences and personalities are vastly different.
Initially, I became interested in this book because of the different cultures. I married a person from Taiwan and had a few of the same experiences that Shoko, the mother had. I was called in Mandarin a "Waigou ren" or outsider even our group was in United States. But Shoko's experiences are much more profound and involved secrets that she hid from her family.
At the beginning of each chapter are short excerpts from a book that the author’s mother had. It had the same title. Some suggestions were helpful and some were not. Here is an example:
“It is difficult to keep one’s figure with all the rich foods being eaten in the States. Americans like fried foods and rich sweets. The Japanese woman, who stays naturally thin with regular Japanese diet, may be constantly challenged. But she must keep her figure to keep her dignity. “
There are many cultural differences explained in this book and I found that very helpful. The author incorporated some of her mother’s experiences as a war bride into this book. There characters were richly developed and I was very sorry to see this book end. The ending could not have been better. I found nothing negative about this book. This is quite an emotional book and it covers everything from the Japanese caste system to the differences between forgiveness in the U.S. to shame in Japanese culture.
I think this is a treasure of a book. I hope that Margaret Dilloway writes much more. I highly recommend this book to all who are interested in different cultures and historical fiction.
“Gave up half way through”Rachel L wrote this review Sunday, April 14, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Really enjoyed this book. I liked to learn about the Japanese and their culture as well as the story of a young woman who comes to America as a war bride. Cried at the end. Touching story.”Marie H wrote this review Friday, March 8, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Read on the heals of The Buddha in the Attic and a re-read of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, I seem to be on an Asian-theme in my reading. This was a great character study and exploration of familial relationships and culture clash. I liked the difference voices of the characters and their moving from Japan to America, through generations. It was a very easy and quick book to read and is recommended.”Carmen M wrote this review Thursday, November 29, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Funny, sad and hopeful. ”Miranda G wrote this review Tuesday, November 20, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Beautiful book- reminds me to be nice to my mother”Lasesana wrote this review Saturday, August 25, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No