Garden of Stones - Sophie Littlefield

Release Date - February 2013

Sophie Littlefield

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

I admit to not being much of a history student. I hated the class, mostly because one of my teachers went by the opinion that if you disagreed with his viewpoint, you were wrong. He touted how Nixon was a demon from hell, and JFK was a god in disguise. Disagree and you failed. It was really that simple.

Years ago, I read a book, I can't remember who wrote it, but it was about the camps set up following Pearl Harbor. American-born men, women, and children of Japanese descent were rounded up and locked away. I was horrified. We never learned about that in our school textbooks. As an adult, I was floored that the history books called German's horrible people because of what they did to the Jews, yet the U.S. also rounded up people, Americans no less, because of their heritage.

Garden of Stones takes that piece of history and tells a stunning story from the viewpoint of a young American girl who is yanked from her somewhat lavish lifestyle and throw into a detention camp, Manzanar. There Lucy and her mother, Miyako, learn to adapt to the crowds, lack of privacy, horrible living conditions, and cruel guards who simply seem unwilling to treat their prisoners with any shred of decency.

The story begins with a murder. Lucy, now an older woman, is accused of murdering a local man. Her daughter cannot believe her mother would commit such a heinous crime, but witnesses put her at the scene of the crime. Lucy's daughter soon learns more about her mother and grandmother's life, and the events that led to the murder.

It's not an easy murder to solve, and nothing is as it appears. I won't say who did it, no spoilers here, but I didn't see it coming!

Manzanar is a real place. More than 100,000 Japanese-Americans and Japanese legally living in the United States were forced to live at the camp starting in 1942. Most were allowed to leave by 1943, but some were stuck in the camp until 1945. The site is now a national park.


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