Monday, September 26, 2016
Review: No-No Boy by John Okada
Summary from Goodreads:
John Okada was born in Seattle, Washington in 1923. He attended the University of Washington and Columbia University. He served in the US Army in World War II, wrote one novel and died of a heart attack at the age of 47. John Okada died in obscurity believing that Asian America had rejected his work.
In this work, Okada gives the perspective of a no-no boy, a Japanese-American man who would neither denounce his Japanese heritage nor fight for the U.S. Army during WWII. This novel takes place after the main character spent two years in a Japanese internment camp, and two years in prison after saying no when asked to join the U.S. Army. Okada's novel No-No Boy shows the internal and external struggles fought by Japanese-Americans in that time period, be they no-no boys or not.
All the books I have to read for my ethnicity in literature class are ones I've never heard of before, and No-No Boy is a pretty unknown book about WW2 and Japanese-Americans.
The writing style is very much like Virginia Woolf, it has a lot of stream consciousness paragraphs that were deep and striking (a lot of people did not care for the style).
The POV was the hardest element to get used to you, it switches from first person to third person on the same page and it was pretty confusing.
The authors views about the American Dream and racism in the country during WW2 was eye opening. I would recommend reading this if you want to read from the POV of someone struggling with the divide of American and another culture.
The characters were relatable, I was invested in Ichiro's journey as he struggles to come to terms with his choices and what culture he truly belongs.
I had a hard time with the ending, I can understand the metaphor but wanted more from it.
I recommend checking this out if you can find a copy, I got mine from Amazon for around $6 and it is a pretty old copy.
4 Stars Out of 5