Though I was enjoying the collective voice that represented the Japanese picture brides, their husbands, and their children, my early impression of this book was that it was tedious to read. Each sentence was a repetition of the previous sentence and I was often distracted by the author's need to point out things that were typical of the time period. Naturally, the reader should not expect that men helped their wives wash dishes and change diapers in the first decades of the 20th century.
But near the end of the narrative, when the women and their husbands, friends and children, neighbors, coworkers and students were taken from their homes and sent to camps after living in America for twenty years and more, I felt like I had grown up with these people and their history was a part of my memories. And when their neighborhoods were left empty with their disappearances I felt like it was my neighborhood they had left behind. In some ways it felt similar to Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" in its nostalgic portrayal of birth, hardship, love, and death. I've certainly come away from this book with a new found respect for Otsuka's straightforward, matter-of-fact voice.