Hello everyone! I finally have a book review for you! And it’s from my summer reading list! Unfortunately, this will not be a recommendation. Read on to find out why…
The Last Cherry Blossom
by Kathleen Burkinshaw
About the Book||
Yuriko was happy growing up in Hiroshima when it was just her and Papa. But her aunt Kimiko and her cousin Genji are living with them now, and the family is only getting bigger with talk of a double marriage! And while things are changing at home, the world beyond their doors is even more unpredictable. World War II is coming to an end, and since the Japanese newspapers don’t report lost battles, the Japanese people are not entirely certain of where Japan stands. Yuriko is used to the sirens and the air-raid drills, but things start to feel more real when the neighbors who have left to fight stop coming home. When the bombs hit Hiroshima, it’s through Yuriko’s twelve-year-old eyes that we witness the devastation and horror.
This is a story that offers young readers insight into how children lived during the war, while also introducing them to Japanese culture. Based loosely on author Kathleen Burkinshaw’s mother’s firsthand experience surviving the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, The Last Cherry Blossom hopes to warn readers of the immense damage nuclear war can bring, while reminding them that the “enemy” in any war is often not so different from ourselves.
My Review ||
We all know bad things happen in life. It’s a sad reality. Not everyone grows up in a good family or lives under the same circumstances. It’s important that we understand that and give sympathy and help when we can.
But we also shouldn’t discuss such situations with middle-grade readers. Do most middle graders out in the world know about such things or experience them? Yes, many do. But should they have to read about it too? Absolutely not. This book is based on the true story of the author’s mother. Her birth situation was immoral, and that’s not her fault. But she didn’t have to share those details with 8-14-year-olds. I was shocked and appalled! Call me what you like, but I believe children should be given as much morally innocent reading material as we can provide them! Yes, many know about such things, but that doesn’t mean they have to read about it! I know about a lot of sin that the world has to offer, but I don’t want to read about it!
If this book had been written as a biography or for an older audience in a more “This is wrong, don’t make this mistake” way, I would have finished the book. But it wasn’t. It was an entertaining read for children.
The main character’s attitude was annoying through the majority of the book so that rather than feeling sorry for her, I wanted her to suck it up and get on with her life. I don’t think that’s what the author was going for. And it condoned keeping secrets from parents, disobeying them and having crushes way too young.
And while I loved learning more about Japanese culture, she littered the story with a plethora of facts about pagan religion and didn’t even attempt to say it was wrong. In short, she was saying devil worship was okay. Maybe a little scary at times, but okay and right to do. Disgusting!
The only thing that I liked about this book was the fact that even though it was WWII Japan, there was no question that the allies were right. Doubt in the emperor was discussed, and while they follow the rules, it vividly showed the plight of the Japanese people and the cruelty of their government. That is what garnered it 1 star.
In short, don’t waste your time. This book isn’t worth it.
Hope to have a more positive review for you next time!
Have a Blessed Week!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.
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