At first, I had trouble getting into this book because it deals with violence against women and girls. I am the father of two daughters, and stories of physical abuse at homeâ€”in any time periodâ€”really set me off. Fortunately, Nora & Kettle is a beautiful novel and demonstrates in intense, sometimes lyrical prose, the sheer power and majesty of the human spirit. I felt Lauren Nicolle Taylorâ€™s characters were well drawn and personable, and the setting believable. Her decision to contrast the life of a â€œrich girlâ€ and her little sister with two homeless Japanese-American boys was the right one and proves to be very effective.
The terror behind the walls of Noraâ€™s home echoes what was happening in a major city in post-war America in the early 1950s. Kettle and his â€œbrotherâ€ Kin are just as much victims as she is. Like Nora, they must find a way to survive in a world that doesnâ€™t want them. They must, at all costs, remain invisible and avoid confrontation. In Kinâ€™s case, though, his anger gets the better of him, bringing more bad luck.
As a young adult novel, this story is pretty dark. But the lessons it teaches to a new generation are well worth repeating and make Nora & Kettle a book worth reading.
You can find this review at Goodreads.
After World War II, orphaned Kettle faces prejudice as a Japanese American but manages to scrape by and care for his makeshift family of homeless children. When he crosses paths with the privileged but traumatized Nora, both of their lives are forever changed…
Lauren Nicolle Taylorâ€™s Nora & Kettle is a heart-wrenching historical fiction novel that will appeal to fans of books by John Green and Ned Vizzini, novels such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Beginning of Everything, Eleanor & Park, The Book Thief, and classics like The Great Gatsby and The Catcher in the Rye.
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