As everyone know by now I love books that give a peek into a different culture than my own and since this book had a way of merging the Japanese and American culture together, it was right up my alley. The first half of the book is told through Shoko's eyes as she grows up in Japan and eventually becomes a war bride and lives her adult life in the United States Shoko is elderly and has a heart problems she wants to go back to Japan to make amends with her brother. Due to an her illness she can no longer travel, so in her place she sends her daughter, Sue and granddaughter, Helena.
The second part of the book is told through Sue's point of view as she travels to Japan with her daughter, Helena in search of Shoko's estranged brother, Taro. When Sue gets to Japan and meets her Japanese family members for the first time, she finds herself gaining not only a deeper appreciation for her birthright, but also for the life that her mother has led and the choices her mother has made. Although this trip was an act of kindness made for her mother to mend her family relationships and have closure in her life, Sue stumbles upon a brand new course for her life.
I actually enjoyed this book as it essentially threw me into a mother/daughter relationship that did not contain common women. It also contained historical essentials, such as the bombing of Nakasaki, which is one of the final acts of WWII in Japan. In the beginning of each chapter is a little quote from an imaginary book called How To Be An American Housewife which was based on a book she found that her father had gifted to her mother entitled The American Way of Housekeeping. I found these imaginary quotes humorous and a great way to introduce each chapter.