Songs Of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford - 304 pages
Twelve-year-old William Eng, a Chinese-American boy, has lived at Seattle’s Sacred Heart Orphanage ever since his mother’s listless body was carried away from their small apartment five years ago. On his birthday—or rather, the day the nuns designate as his birthday—William and the other orphans are taken to the historical Moore Theatre, where William glimpses an actress on the silver screen who goes by the name of Willow Frost. Struck by her features, William is convinced that the movie star is his mother, Liu Song.
Determined to find Willow, and prove his mother is still alive, William escapes from Sacred Heart with his friend Charlotte. The pair navigates the streets of Seattle, where they must not only survive, but confront the mysteries of William’s past and his connection to the exotic film star. The story of Willow Frost, however, is far more complicated than the Hollywood fantasy William sees onscreen.
Shifting between the Great Depression and the 1920s, Songs of Willow Frost takes readers on an emotional journey of discovery. Jamie Ford’s sweeping book will resonate with anyone who has ever longed for the comforts of family and a place to call home.
My Review: 3.5 stars
I love Jamie Ford. I love his first book Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet. I love his sense of humor which I was introduced to at a book signing as well as being his friend on Facebook. This book however, was not a love, but a very much liked book. Unfortunately, I found the story of William and his mom somewhat predictable yet I was intrigued with the story of William and Charlotte as well as his relationships with the other boys at the orphanage based on his race. Actually, much of went on at the orphanage I found fascinating although sometimes disgustingly so. So not to spoil anything, I’ll just point out generally, that I believe there is a huge parallel between Willow and Charlotte. There was an obvious amount of research done about actors, film-making, talkies and orphanages during the 1920s which was interesting to read about it. The story grabbed me from the start and I was thirsty for more, but for some reason, which I can’t quite put my finger on, the story of William and Willow seemed redundant and repetitive as the same story was told in two voices. William seemed so much more of a fixer, while Willow succumbed to her fate more easily. Good, solid ending.
Quotes I liked:
- “The library is like a candy store where everything is free.”
- “Somehow life had become a story problem and William was terrible at math.”
- “--the much-adored center of attention while on-stage, but a soloist in life.”
- “Because the uncomfortable truth is that no one is all bad, or all good. Not mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, or husbands and wives.
- “In the darkness his ah-ma seemed more ghost than human, more shade than subsance, more of a memory than a mother.”
- “The things that we do, that make us so black, and leave us feeling so blue.”
Tags: 2013, Historical Fiction, Asian,
Labels: 2013, Asian, Historical Fiction