Thursday, November 17, 2011

TLC Book Tour Stop: Camp Nine by Vivienne Schiffer

Title: Camp Nine
Author: Vivienne Schiffer
Publisher: The University of Arkansas Press
Publish Date: October 10th 2011
Source: TLC Book Tours

What's the Story?:

From TLC: "The time of fear and prejudice following the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the Arkansas Delta are the setting for Camp Nine. The novel’s narrator, Chess Morton, lives with her widowed mother in Rook, a town too tiny to have a bank, a library, a restaurant, or even a church. Chess’s days are quiet and secluded until the appearance of a concentration camp built to imprison thousands of Japanese Americans forced by military exclusion order to leave their homes on the West Coast.

Chess’s life becomes intertwined with those of two young internees, Henry and David Matsui, and that of an American soldier mysteriously connected to her mother’s past. As Chess watches the struggles and triumphs of these strangers and sees her mother seek justice for these people who came briefly and involuntarily to call the Arkansas Delta their home, she discovers surprising and disturbing truths about her family’s painful past."

My Two Cents:

This is a book about a little talked part of American history. During World War II, after the United States went to war with Japan, the American government decided to create internment camps for anyone of Japanese descent, and yes, some of these sort of prisoners were indeed American citizens. It's a really shameful part of American history that no one really likes to discuss, which is totally understandable. However, I believe as with all parts of our history, good and bad, it is important to remember! As I recall, this is only the second fictional book that I've read about the internment camps (the other being Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson).

Schiffer does a wonderful job of bringing the town of Rook to life in Camp Nine. I actually didn't realize that there were internment camps all over the country; for some reason I thought that they were only in the West. Rook is a small town that is rocked when the prisoners are moved into Camp Nine. Some residents are welcoming like Chess and her mother, Carrie, who teaches at Camp Nine and becomes good friends with the Matsui family. There are other residents who are upset by the presence of these newcomers. Chess is still haunted by the experience as she grows up. This novel is under 200 pages but it really packs a punch. The things that the Matsui family and many of the other families in the internment camp go through are truly heart-wrenching!

It's still really hard to believe that something like that happened in the United States. Schiffer illuminates why it happened and how everyone, not just those that were imprisoned were affected. While this is a fictional book, it's still a good read about a really important event in American history.

Don't Forget to Follow the Rest of the Tour:

Monday, October 31st: Broken Teepee
Wednesday, November 2nd: Literature and a Lens
Thursday, November 3rd: Wordsmithonia
Friday, November 4th: Melody & Words
Monday, November 7th: Booksie’s Blog
Tuesday, November 8th: Lit and Life
Wednesday, November 9th: Write Meg
Thursday, November 10th: Juggling Life
Friday, November 11th: Picky Girl
Monday, November 14th: BookNAround
Tuesday, November 15th: Savvy Verse and Wit
Wednesday, November 16th: Books Like Breathing
Thursday, November 17th: A Bookish Affair
Monday, November 21st: For the love of books
Tuesday, November 22nd: Buried in Print
Wednesday, November 23rd: The Lost Entwife
Monday, November 28th: In the Next Room
Tuesday, November 29th: Diary of an Eccentric
Thursday, December 1st: The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader


  1. i think in my mind, i thought the internment camps were only in the west as well.

    i think this is such an interesting cover. it took me several times looking at it to see the wire of the fence, which is brilliant. the landscape is lovely, and the coloring of the trees, but that wire cutting across there is pretty hard to ignore once you see it, making you realize that you're reading about an internment camp and being HELD there. i love it.

  2. Meg, thank you so much for reading Camp Nine and for recommending it to your readers. I am so glad you liked it! I welcome questions from your readers. Vivienne Schiffer

  3. Hi, Asheley - didn't the publisher do a great job with the cover? As soon as I saw it, I fell in love with it and I still love it every time I see it (which is a lot lately!). I hope you get a chance to read Camp Nine and see how the legend of the cherry tree ties in with the cover art. Vivienne Schiffer

  4. I absolutely have to read this book. I remember when I first learned of the Japanese internment camps, I was speechless! In America??? I've heard them mentioned occasionally, but don't know a lot about them. Thanks for pointing this one out.

  5. Sounds like a great book that looks at a part of history that I do not know a lot about. Thanks for the wonderful review!

  6. I share your opinion that it's important to remember the shameful parts of our history and with the emphasis so strong on the storytelling in this one, it's easy to recommend, even to readers who might otherwise shy away from the subject. Chess is such an inviting narrator: I'd like to know more about her "now".

  7. @Asheley (@BookwormAsheley) The symbolism of the cover is definitely striking, especially when you read the book!

  8. @Vivienne Schiffer Thank you so much for stopping by! I loved your book so much and can't wait to see what else you write!

  9. @lsl_scrapper It definitely blows you away that our country could have done something like this. It also took the government quite awhile to issue an apology (I think that happened in the 70s!).

  10. @Buried In Print Even though it covers a really hard part of history, I do think that it's still really accessible for all readers! I'd love to know about how Chess is doing now too!

  11. Wow, this book looks amazing. Like one of your earlier commenters, I too had it in my head that these camps were only in the West. It will be interesting to learn more. Adding it to my list.

  12. This is such an overlooked portion of American history in my opinion. It seems to me like something most people want to forget ever happened.

    I'm glad you enjoyed this one! Thanks for being on the tour.


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