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Forgiveness de Mark Sakamoto
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Forgiveness (original: 2014; edição: 2015)

de Mark Sakamoto (Autor)

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
10510200,213 (3.96)35
"When the Second World War broke out, Ralph MacLean traded his quiet yet troubled life on the Magdalen Islands in eastern Canada for the ravages of war overseas. On the other side of the country, Mitsue Sakamoto and her family felt their pleasant life in Vancouver starting to fade away after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Ralph found himself one of the many Canadians captured by the Japanese in December 1941. He would live out his war in a prison camp, enduring beatings, starvation, electric feet and a journey on a hell ship to Japan, watching his friends and countrymen die all around him. Mitsue and her family were ordered out of their home and were packed off to a work farm in rural Alberta, leaving many of their possessions behind. By the end of the war, Ralph was broken but had survived. The Sakamotos lost everything when the community centre housing their possessions was burned to the ground, and the $25 compensation from the government meant they had no choice but to start again"--Publisher's website.… (mais)
Membro:katewade
Título:Forgiveness
Autores:Mark Sakamoto (Autor)
Informação:Harper Perennial (2015), Edition: Reprint, 256 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
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Forgiveness de Mark Sakamoto (2014)

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Add this to the long list of books I want every Canadian to read. ( )
  yulischeidt | Jun 1, 2020 |
It seems every year I need to have one bad Canada Reads experience, and this year it was Forgiveness.

This might be too harsh. It's not a terrible book. It's just that in its current incarnation, it is two badly connected books unhappily inhabiting a single set of covers, or one book missing badly needed connective tissue, written by someone who I really think needs counseling.

The narratives of his grandparents during World War II was the book's standout. The details were impressive, the stories were amazing, the people he paints were incredible. This is one of the books, and it was, on the whole, well done. Mark Sakamoto is not a fantastic writer; his sentences are often clumsy and, as other reviewers have pointed out, there were basic factual errors and typos that really ought to have been caught before publication. But on the whole, I enjoyed--if that's the right word for such tragic material--this section enormously.

The part about his mother was just weird. It didn't belong with the rest of it at all.

1. One of the forgiveness-heroes of the narrative, Ralph MacLean, never forgave his own father for being an abusive drunk. This should have been Sakamoto's clearest clue that the ties he was trying to draw between "forgiving a harmless representative of an ethnic group that did you enormous harm" is 100% completely different than "forgiving a person who themselves did you enormous harm." The result is a book in which Ralph MacLean goes off to war in part to get away from his abusive drunkard father who (at least according to the book) he never forgives nor reconciles with, experiences terrible injustice and deprivation, is able to forgive the Japanese people and/or individual Canadian-Japanese people (is it just the Japanese in Canada that he forgives, or all of them? It's never stated), and this inspires Mark Sakamoto to ... forgive his abusive drunkard mother. What?

2. Sakamoto relays a whole lot of damaging, codependent, problematic ideas in the section about his mother without any apparent awareness that they're damaging, codependent and problematic. *It is not a child's job to save an abusive alcoholic parent.* Ever. Period! Yet right up until the end of the book he wonders how his mother "forgave" him for "abandoning" her--he didn't abandon her! This is such a boilerplate enabling mindset and if he'd come to terms with that story as much as he seems to think he has, he'd have some awareness of it. There is *one* instance in that part of the book where he visits Al-Anon with his father--one! And if he ever went back, it's not described, nor does he show any evidence of participation in that kind of program in the way he reflects on and relates his story of growing up with his mother.

3. His apparent belief that it's required for children of abusive alcoholic parents to forgive those parents in order to be good parents themselves--his idea at the end that it would have been great for his mother to be in his kids' lives if only she hadn't killed herself with excessive drinking--I just. No. What a horrifyingly awful idea. She still would have been an abusive alcoholic, but with much more vulnerable baby humans to scar and hurt. What kind of father would bring his babies around to visit an abusive alcoholic, or speculate that this would have been a good or even moderately ok idea?

I think the author will find, if he ever cares to look into it, that most adult children of alcoholics and/or abusers find that they are more effective parents when they accept, move on, draw and enforce boundaries, protect their kids, and get help. Maybe forgiveness is a part of that, and maybe it isn't.

Oy.

So this book is one pretty good story of World War II heroics and overcoming, and one hot-mess of an abuse memoir, with some pretty thin and rotten strings connecting them. If you're going to read it, my advice is to put the book down when he starts talking about his mother. ( )
1 vote andrea_mcd | Mar 10, 2020 |
The only forgiveness in this book happens in the very last chapter when the author buries his mother’s ashes in a park in Medicine Hat. She died very young from her addiction to alcohol and his forgiveness for her abandonment of her children, her husband and a good life is a brief and not very well described moment of emotion.
The book is about Sakamoto’s grandfather Ralph MacLean and his grandmother Mitsue Sakamoto.
Ralph grew up on a farm on the Magdalen Islands and lived an almost idyllic life until he enlisted in WWII at the age of 18. He ended up in Hong Kong in a Japanese POW camp for 4.5 years and returned to Canada badly damaged mentally and physically from his ordeal. He ends up near Calgary and marries Phyllis and has a family including a daughter Diane.
Mitsue Sakamoto grew up in a small Japanese family in Vancouver. They ran a successful fishing operation, were well respected within the small Japanese community and endured subtle white racism.
Once Pearl Harbour is bombed, all Japanese citizens and immigrants are sent to farms in Alberta or elsewhere for the duration of the war. Their possessions are confiscated and their lives are very difficult. Mitsue has three children, one of whom is Sakamoto’s father, Stan.
Stan Sakamoto marries Diane MacLean and they have two sons.
The book, although mildly interesting, could have used some very good editing. This is the Canadian immigrant story and it has been told in better ways by other authors. What is missing is a description of the emotional trauma that Mitsue and Ralph endured, the prejudice in an interracial marriage and the bullying the Daniel and Mark May have endured. Even when they first meet, how did Ralph feel about his daughter marrying a Japanese Canadian.
Another Canada Reads miss. ( )
  MaggieFlo | Aug 29, 2019 |
2018 winner canada reads cbc finalist ola evergreen award
a sad book ( )
  mahallett | Aug 26, 2018 |
I read this book because it was the winner of the 2018 Canada Reads competition. I saw American War by Omar El Akkad as the book that best fit the theme of “One Book to Open Your Eyes” so when Forgiveness was chosen the winner, I thought it must be something very special. It isn’t.

This is a family memoir focusing on the lives of the author’s paternal grandmother, Mitsue Sakamoto, and his maternal grandfather, Ralph MacLean, during World War II. Mitsue and her family, because of the Canadian government’s decision to force all those of Japanese descent to move away from B.C.’s coast, worked as virtual slaves on farms in Alberta. Ralph MacLean enlisted in the army but spent almost the entire war in a Japanese POW camp. In the last part of the book, the author discusses growing up with his alcoholic mother.

Mitsue and Ralph’s stories are certainly worth telling, though I didn’t really learn anything new. People who have read Obasan by Joy Kogawa (about the internment of Japanese Canadians), and The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan (inspired by the experiences of his father in a Japanese POW camp) will be aware of much of what Mark Sakamoto’s grandparents endured. It is the story of the coming together of the families of these two people who suffered so much that most interested me.

Unfortunately, this story is largely missing, though the title suggests that Mitsue and Ralph’s ability to forgive is going to be the focus. All we are given is mention of the dinner where the two families first met; we are told “Mitsue and Ralph became instant friends. There was an unspoken understanding between them. . . . Deep down, they knew each other. They had both discarded the past, keeping only what they needed, leaving the rest behind. They did not compare hardships or measure injustices. They knew there was no merit to that.” That’s it! There is no discussion of how they achieved this discarding of the past and moving on.

We are told that Ralph, upon being freed from the POW camp, read the Bible: “’And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him.’” Ralph read this passage and immediately forgave the camp commandant: “So, where could he go from there? How on earth could he move on? The truth was, he already had.” Sakamoto implies that Ralph suffered with PTSD, yet forgiveness came so easy for him? As a reader, I would have liked details: How did Ralph react when his daughter Diane first told him that she was dating a man with Japanese heritage? Apparently he never raised the issue of Stanley’s race? The first meeting with Stanley was not strained? Ralph was able to forgive those who held him captive for years, yet he never forgave his father? With Mitsue, even less is known about how she was able to forgive. Was she able to forgive the Canadian government for what it did to her and her family? And why does Sakamoto focus on Mitsue but not her husband Hideo? Was Hideo less able to forgive?

Sakamoto’s definition of forgiveness is part of the problem. Forgiveness is generally defined as a deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward someone who has harmed them. Forgiveness frees the forgiver from corrosive anger so he/she can heal and move on with his/her life. Sakamoto’s definition of forgiveness is simplistic: “Forgiveness is moving on. It is a daily act that looks forward. Forgiveness smiles.” Sakamoto skips over the conscious, intentional letting go of negative feelings that is the real act of forgiveness. And it is this act that he skips in his story.

The quality of the writing is uneven. Some people are introduced as if they are going to be important and then are never mentioned again. There is little attempt to portray people realistically; Mitsue’s family members, for example, were all kindhearted and talented. Granted, it is human nature to gloss over failings of those we love. The melodramatic tone also becomes annoying. Chapters end with sentences like “He must have wondered why I looked like I had just seen the face of God” and
“So, where could he go from there? How on earth could he move on? The truth was, he already had.”

This book is a memoir and so people feel badly if they criticize. I think this was the problem with Canada Reads 2018. The book does indeed give people an opportunity to reflect on racism in Canada, the horrors of war, and the need for forgiveness, but it hardly opens readers’ eyes to something they wouldn’t have known by reading other – better written – books.

Note: Please check out my reader's blog (https://schatjesshelves.blogspot.ca/) and follow me on Twitter (@DCYakabuski). ( )
1 vote Schatje | May 27, 2018 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 10 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
This domestic violence serves as a prologue and epilogue to the great parallel tragedies of Forgiveness — the brutal treatment of Canadian POWs by their Japanese captors in Hong Kong, and the internment of Japanese families in British Columbia....So Forgiveness is not a novel. At the same time it doesn’t feel like a memoir, mainly because there is no dominant point of view — no subject of a memoir. The heart of the book are the prison camp portions and the internment segments and in these portions the memoir writer is totally absent...The result is a readable account of one of Canada’s darkest moments, but an account still begging for adequate imaginative treatment.
 
Pieced together through Sakamoto's interviews with his maternal grandmother, Mitsue Sakamoto, and paternal grandfather, Ralph MacLean, these wartime recollections from contrasting sides of a human tragedy offer a unique perspective on the idea of a Canadian family. It also links two families together through compassion and understanding, which is the stimulus for Sakamoto's own process of recovery...Sakamoto writes of in vivid detail – deferring, generously, to lived memory over history books ...In this war story, Canada isn't an innocent bystander or righteous do-gooder but actively complicit in the death and oppression of its own citizens, both white and Japanese. Sakamoto writes about forgiveness through the lens of Canada's political foibles, a noble sentiment coming from someone with close ties to a partisan agenda. But in doing so he resurrects the troubled past of this country at a time when the government (national, and municipal, in the case of Toronto) is being accused of being more brutal, restrictive and intolerant than any other point in recent memory. Forgiveness is a personal journey but it also reminds us not to forget.
 
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"When the Second World War broke out, Ralph MacLean traded his quiet yet troubled life on the Magdalen Islands in eastern Canada for the ravages of war overseas. On the other side of the country, Mitsue Sakamoto and her family felt their pleasant life in Vancouver starting to fade away after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Ralph found himself one of the many Canadians captured by the Japanese in December 1941. He would live out his war in a prison camp, enduring beatings, starvation, electric feet and a journey on a hell ship to Japan, watching his friends and countrymen die all around him. Mitsue and her family were ordered out of their home and were packed off to a work farm in rural Alberta, leaving many of their possessions behind. By the end of the war, Ralph was broken but had survived. The Sakamotos lost everything when the community centre housing their possessions was burned to the ground, and the $25 compensation from the government meant they had no choice but to start again"--Publisher's website.

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