Tuesday 21 September 2010

Japanese Internment

Finished September 20
Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas
This book is told from the point of view of Rennie Stroud, a 13-year-old Colorado girl and begins in 1942 after Pearl Harbor. Rennie's older sister has gone to live and work in a factory in Denver, and her older brother Buddy left college to enlist. An internment camp for Japanese has been build near their small town, only a mile or so from the Stroud farm. Rennie struggles to form her own opinion of the situation looking at both her family and the townspeople. Rennie's father Loyal, is a deeply ethical man, and he knows that this internment is wrong and that Americans have been denied their rights. Rennie's mother Mary is worried about the opinions of the other ladies in her sewing group, even as she agrees with her husband. Rennie's grandmother is fading into dementia and goes between moments of lucidity and wandering.
Feeling in the town against the Japanese grows when a young girl is raped and murdered and the sheriff cannot find the culprit.
Loyal stands by his principles and hires some of the young Japanese men to assist with his farming. As the Japanese begin working on farms in the neighbourhood, more see them for the individuals they are. Rennie gets to know the young workers on their farm and grows close to Daisy a Japanese girl they hire to help in the house. Rennie also begins to see the various townspeople with new eyes, and works to support her best friend and her family. Rennie also sees that fighting back isn't always the right way to go about defending your actions, and that some people won't see what they don't want to.
A great book for older teens.

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