Cynthia Kadohata | Critical Essay by Lisa See

This literature criticism consists of approximately 3 pages of analysis & critique of Cynthia Kadohata.
This section contains 301 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Review by Wendy Smith

Critical Review by Barbara Flottmeier

SOURCE: A review of The Floating World, in VOYA, April, 1990, p. 30.

In the following review, Flottmeier provides a very brief synopsis of The Floating World and discusses its suitability for young adults.

Olivia and her family are Japanese Americans living in the 1950s, moving from home to home, job to job, struggling for part of the American dream and trying to maintain some part of their own heritage. From the vantage point of an adult, Olivia remembers those itinerant days in "a floating world," usually in the family car: various motels, roadside fruitstands, and different jobs for her stepfather. This is a world in which the family is the stabilizing force and the world outside is flexible and changing. With the clarity, simplicity, and directness of a child of about 12, she records everyday events of the family's life without rancor, self-pity, or prejudicial commentary. She brings to life her family members' individuality, especially her hot-tempered, irascible grandmother who passes on heritage and superstition alike. Her stepfather's struggle to find normalcy for his family dovetails tellingly with his love for Olivia when he temporarily leaves his only permanent job to help her run a vending machine route across the Southwest when she grows older.

This is a wonderful book about culture identity, outlining simple events that Olivia finds memorable in the life of her family. Children of the River by Linda Crew (VOYA, June 1989) is another book about culture identity and assimilation, which will work well with The Floating World as part of units about the emigrant and refugee experience. Because the cover art is rather unattractive and the story line more suitable to adults, this book, while beautifully written, will have to be booktalked with intensity before young adults will pick it up on their own.

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This section contains 301 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Review by Wendy Smith
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