Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Diamond in the Desert (MG)

A Diamond in the Desert. Kathryn Fitzmaurice. 2012. February 2012. Penguin. 256 pages.

Gila River was the place where my eight-year-old sister, Kimi, learned to go to the bathroom with a white cotton pillowcase pulled over her head. It was Mama who came up with the idea after a week of Kimi refusing to go.
The pillowcase, Mama said, took the place of the walls and doors that weren't in the latrine, and gave some privacy from others sitting close by trying to use the bathroom, too.
"No one will see you through it," Mama promised. "Yes, you'll be able to breathe. The air can get in."
Then she stood for three long minutes with the pillowcase over her own head to prove this.
"But what if it takes me more than three minutes in the latrine?" said Kimi.
Mama didn't answer. Instead, she pulled the pillowcase back over her head, sat down on the concrete floor, knees bent, shoulders curled in. Stayed there until the desert bats came out and the sky turned dark orange.
Kimi walked a circle around her, and you could see her deciding that this idea might work.
"Can you still breathe?"
And each time Kimi asked, Mama nodded. But I don't think Mama was taking all that time to show Kimi she could breathe. I think Mama was hiding the sadness she didn't want Kimi to see. (1-2)

I loved, loved, loved this book. It was such a GREAT book. I absolutely LOVED the writing--it was so beautiful, so practically perfect in every way.

I LOVED the characters. I did. As much as I enjoyed the main character--the narrator--a young boy named Tetsu, I just LOVED a minor character called Horse. Oh, how I loved him--I really felt for him. I felt for so many of the characters.

And the story itself was just wonderfully compelling. A Diamond in the Desert is set in a Japanese internment camp in Arizona during World War II. Tetsu's family is just one of many, many Japanese families forced to live in an internment camp after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941.

At this particular camp, Gila River, Tetsu is one of many who joins a baseball team. Playing baseball is one of the ways they can still feel normal. Many, many things have changed since America entered the war, and they may not have many freedoms, many joys, in this camp. But baseball. Well, it encourages them, gives them hope.
Kyo's Papa brought a bat to the field one night. He picked up small rocks from the pile of cleared-away stones, then threw them one by one into the air like they were baseballs, hitting them as far as he could.
Kyo, Ben, and I, we started running after them.
We fielded those rocks like we were playing a World Series game, and we didn't care how many times we crashed into each other, or how dirty we got, or even about skinned elbows.
We didn't care about the mess hall closing for dinner or torn pants, or the hole in my shoe getting bigger.
We just wanted to make the greatest catches ever in the whole history of baseball. And that night, each of us did. (84)
But. This book is not just about boys playing baseball. It is SO MUCH MORE than that. This book has heart and soul. This book has depth. It is just so rich. It's beautiful, capturing your heart almost from the start. This is a book that completely wowed me.

Read A Diamond in the Desert
  • If you are looking for a great children's book; the quality of this one is amazing!
  • If you enjoy historical fiction
  • If you enjoy stories set during World War II
  • If you are looking to read more about the Japanese Internment camps in the U.S.
  • If you're a baseball fan
  • If you're NOT a baseball fan



© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

2 comments:

L.H. Thomson 3:10 PM  

I think you'd already hooked me with the review, but her promo vid is killer! That stuff is really getting high-end touching.

cessie 4:30 AM  

Same here! I loved your review and so want to read this book! Great story I think. Will put it on my TBR list, thanks! It's sounds wonderful!

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

Pageloads Counter

Search Book Blogs Search Engine

The background is based on a background I found here...with some small adjustments on my part so it would work with the template.
Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP