A Girl Like You
written by Maureen Lindley
published by Bloomsbury
Why did I pick this book: I was asked by the publisher to review this book. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)
Did I enjoy this book: I loved it. It was sad, and serious, and lovely. I read it slowly so I could enjoy the language, the history, the detail. I laughed a few times; I cried more than a few. I got mad at racism, at the Americans who thought they were doing the right thing. I felt ashamed to be a part of a country that created a place like Manzanar, and I was oddly comforted that Sati’s story doesn’t end with a Hollywood Happy Ending: it ends like real life does – like real life did.
I’d say the novel is historical fiction about the treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II, but it isn’t just that. A Girl Like You is a story about life: about growing up, about loss, about love. It’s about a young woman who, like all of us, tries to find her place in the world while struggling with the terrible and wonderful things that happen to her. In the end, it’s a love story between a girl and her family, and it’s beautiful.
Would I recommend it: Absolutely. You should definitely read this book.
Will I read it again: Well, let’s just say I’m putting it on my “Favorites” shelf.
About the book – from the publisher: In the early 1940s in rural California, Satomi Baker is neither a member of the white community nor the Japanese one; she is “other” to both. Her parents are happy together and proud to be American, but Satomi has never fit in.
A Girl Like You: A Novel (Bloomsbury; June 4, 2013) by Maureen Lindley tells the story of Satomi, a headstrong fifteen-year-old girl with a white father and a Japanese mother. After her father dies in the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Satomi’s stoic mother Tamura is flung into a private realm of grief while the outside world changes irrevocably.
The two women are taken to Manzanar, one of the brutal American internment camps hastily set up under President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, which stated that one drop of Japanese blood justified profiling and imprisonment.
At Manzanar, where sewage bubbles up beneath the barracks, rats and cockroaches outnumber the inmates, and disease stalks the camp, Satomi learns what it takes to survive, who she can trust, and what it means to be American.
A Girl Like You is the riveting story of a time we chose to forget for far too long.
About the author: Maureen Lindley was born in Berkshire and grew up in Scotland. Having worked as a photographer, antique dealer, and dress designer, she eventually trained as a psychotherapist. Her first novel, The Private Papers of an Eastern Jewel, was published in 2009. She lives in the Wye valley on the Welsh borders with her husband and daughter.