Book review of Kira – Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What a heart-breaking story.
This is a story about an American-Japanese girl growing up in the early days of Japanese immigrants. Her family worked in a chicken factory with bad working conditions. Her mother was not allowed toilet breaks during the entire working day and had to wear a pad. Their family kept to themselves and were wary of white people. They mixed only with other Japanese people, so it was heart-warming when they discover that these are decent and kind people too. While this story gives insight into what their lives were like in that era, the story centres on the two sisters. Our main character is the middle child. She adores her older sister, who gives her the best advice about the world. However we soon discover her sister is ill.
As time went by, she goes from this innocent child to a carer to both her sick sister and younger brother. Her parents work round the clock to pay for their mortgage and her sister’s medical bills. Naturally this pressure takes the toll on her.
This is a story about grief, love and family. The family is united in their pain. After her sister dies, she takes over the cooking in the family to relief her mother from her burdens. She focuses on her studies in memory of her sister. But in the end, she discovers that her parents have also been doing their part to help her with her own grief. Absolutely incredible.
kira-kira (kee ra kee ra): glittering; shining Glittering. That’s how Katie Takeshima’s sister, Lynn, makes everything seem. The sky is kira-kira because its color is deep but see-through at the same time. The sea is kira-kira for the same reason and so are people’s eyes. When Katie and her family move from a Japanese community in Iowa to the Deep South of Georgia, it’s Lynn who explains to her why people stop on the street to stare, and it’s Lynn who, with her special way of viewing the world, teaches Katie to look beyond tomorrow, but when Lynn becomes desperately ill, and the whole family begins to fall apart, it is up to Katie to find a way to remind them all that there is always something glittering — kira-kira — in the future.