After the Bloom by Leslie Shimotakahara

CoverAfter the Bloom by Leslie Shimotakahara
Published by
 Dundurn on April 15th, 2017
Genres: Hisorical Fiction
Pages: 328
Buy on Amazon

Lily Takemitsu goes missing from her home in Toronto one luminous summer morning in the mid-1980s. Her daughter, Rita, knows her mother has a history of dissociation and memory problems, which have led her to wander off before. But never has she stayed away so long. Unconvinced the police are taking the case seriously, Rita begins to carry out her own investigation. In the course of searching for her mom, she is forced to confront a labyrinth of secrets surrounding the family’s internment at a camp in the California desert during the Second World War, their postwar immigration to Toronto, and the father she has never known. 


This story is a beautiful way of making us aware of how we treat others, ourselves, and our families. It was very personal for me, as I’m Jewish and have had family that suffered during the holocaust. The holocaust gets a lot of attention, but the Japanese Internment Camps don’t get nearly enough. I think this book had my chest tight and tears in my eyes at least a couple of times.

This story has two narrators, Lily and Rita. Lily is a woman who had to spend time in a Japanese Internment Camp in California. She’s got a horrible history with men and her side of the story is slow and difficult to get through. Her story takes place in the 1940’s. Rita’s story is told in the 1980’s and is a lot more enjoyable to read. Her point of view is what makes this a 3-star instead of a 2-star.

I realize that this book won’t be for everyone, but if you want to know more about this horrible time in history and be moved; pick it up. Just don’t expect to be blown away, as the first 100 or so pages are extremely difficult to get through.



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