By Mark Sakamoto
Review by Brenda
There are different reasons a powerful book stays with you. It can be the premise of the story, or a particularly vivid character, or occasionally, the insights gained into human nature that the story elegantly teases to the surface. Forgiveness has all three. This vivid memoir is written by first time author Mark Sakamoto and juxtaposes the life of a Japanese Canadian family in World War 2 during internment against a Canadian soldier captured as a prisoner of war in Japan. The author is the grandson of both main characters in each storyline, so the reader anticipates that these two lives will eventually come together, creating a new family narrative. It’s this tense anticipation that takes the misery of both stories to a level that won't leave you when you've closed the book.
Even now, months after finishing the story and passing the book along to my family in Medicine Hat (coincidentally the setting for half of the book since it is near the POW camp), I find myself thinking of the courage of the characters. In a world that, if you believe the news every day, is full of hatred and intolerance, the seeming ease with which these characters were able to forgive and carry on will renew your hope in basic human goodness. We all have our demons, some more destructive than others, but Forgiveness gives us a worst case scenario to gauge the tragedy our own lives. If these real people can overcome, so can we.
Forgiveness was published by HarperCollins in 2014