Stubborn twig : three generations in the life of a Japanese American family

by Lauren Kessler

Hardcover, 1993




New York : Random House, c1993.


Stubborn Twig is the true story of immigrants making their way in a new land, a moving saga about the promise and perils of becoming an American. Masuo Yasui arrived in America in 1903 with big dreams and empty pockets. He worked on the railroads, in a cannery, and as a houseboy before settling in Oregon to open a store, raise a large family, and become one of the area's most successful orchardists. As Masuo broke the color barrier in the local business community, his American-born children broke it in school, scouts, and sports. But their lives changed forever on December 7, 1941, when they were forced from their homes into vast inland camps. Although shamed and broken, the Yasui family would yet endure to claim their place as Americans.

User reviews

LibraryThing member blisssu
This well-written book kept me fascinated throughout the story of Masuo Yasui, who came from Japan in the early 20th century to settle in the fertile Hood River Valley of Oregon, the woman he sent for from Japan to become his wife, and the large family they raised in Hood River. As one of the few English speakers in the growing Japanese community, Yasui became an indispensible facilitator and contributor to the life of Hood River, where his general store was a center of community activity and the only nearby source for necessities imported from the homeland. Yasui was also a successful orchardist and real estate broker--he contributed his time and talents abundantly to the Japanese people of Hood River while earning the admiration of many in the white community. All this changed with World War II and the book recounts the tragedy of Yasui, his wife, and many of his offspring being detained in federal camps for the war's duration. It is ugly to see how whites, once friendly, became hateful to their Japanese neighbors, and how the effects of this bad treatment changed the course of the Yasuis' lives. By following the generations of Yasuis up to today, Lauren Kessler presents a thorough and compelling portrait of a family that has survived with dignity even in the face of terrible injustice.… (more)
LibraryThing member sonjastarfish
Very worthy and informative, this was the Oregon Reads book in 2009 in conjunction with the state's 150th anniversary. The difficult subject matter of racism and the Japanese American internment generated interesting discussion throughout the state.


Local notes

inscribed by the author



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