Garden of Stones

Garden of Stones - Sophie Littlefield What Lucy had was a tiny seed inside her, a hard thing like a popcorn kernel. But Lucy's Kernel - she didn't know where it was located exactly, in her heart perhaps, or more likely in her spirit, wherever that might be found - would explode large as well. She didn't want much - a place of her own someday, a job of her choosing. But she meant to have it. And when she finally exploded, no one would ever be able to take her future from her again.Garden of Stones is the story of Miyako and Lucy Takeda... what happens to them when the world shifts and Japanese Americans are put into concentration camps not long after Pearl Harbor is bombed. The day to day struggle when your life shifts from being an upper middle class citizen to having most of your belongings taken away and you freedom evoked. At the same time there is this murder mystery taking place in the more present time, 1978. The past shapes the future but what happened to Lucy that has changed her life forever? This is not my first novel by Sophia Littlefield in fact I would call myself a fan of her work. Which is so diverse that when I saw she was writing a novel about he Japanese American experience during WWII I had to read it. I know what took place in that black mark of American History because of a family friend who was born in an internment camp. So the horrors that Miyako and Lucy would endure were not far from my mind. I was prepared to have my heart broken and believe me it did but what I was not prepared for was at the end of this book... the last page the last word to feel for Lucy in such a way that I almost felt her pain. Not even her pain, but her choices, those decisions that lead to where she ended up. Her little life carved out of pain, hurt, violence and injustice. Such a little thing, what Lucy wanted. No more than any other girl in this county or the world. But for her, it seemed like she was reaching for the stars. Sophia Littlefield wrote Garden of Stones from the view of Lucy, 14 years old and taken for everything she knows. Her view on the world is muted by her age and her fears are those of a 14 year old girl. How will she make friends? What will she occupy her time doing? She's beautiful, pale, and smooth like her mother, Miyoko who has seen the horrors this world can give a beautiful women before. Those horrors come back to haunt Miyoko and she does everything in her power to protect her developing daughter. There is nothing a mother wont do to protect her children a theme that Ms. Littlefield has explored in her other books and that is revealed in this one. Those choices made, layed the groundwork for Lucy's whole life... She wonders the world with this quiet fire. Never letting anyone even Lucy's daughter, Patty know her truths. I found myself glued to the pages of Garden of Stones with tears in my eyes and a prayer in my heart for Lucy. In the end, I believe Lucy got what she wanted, something small for herself and I was glad for that. It was a more real life ending than anything, true to the character in this book. I cannot help but want more for Lucy but also see how this was all she ever wanted.Garden of Stones felt like two books in one package, yes the stories are very much related but I couldn't help but feel there seporation. There was this unnatural mix of internment and taxidermy (I don't mean for this to be funny, it's true). Ms. Littlefield writes Lucy's journey from the concentration camp to her job as a maid as a sort of transition between her life of a child and the life she will make for herself. Garden of Stones is beautifully written, well researched and full of twists and turns. In the end I was left with this overwhelming feeling of sadness. For those who endured and forever where changed. And so it was Lucy who walked with Patty today, Holding tightly to her daughter's arm, unsteady in her satin shoes, trying to ignore the people starting at her. The alter seemed a mile away. I can, I can, I can, Lucy repeated in her mind, just like a hundred other times, and before long they arrived.Thanks - for this book :)Children of the Camps and From a Silk Cocoon: