Glittering

Glittering

Glittering. As a child, Katie Takeshima was taught that everything was glittering or kira-kira. Lynn Takeshima was her older sister, best friend, and guardian angel. Katie described her sister as someone who “could take a simple everyday objects like a box of Kleenex and use it to prove how amazing the world is. She could prove this in many ways, with Kleenex or soap bubbles or maybe even a blade of grass.” Cynthia Kadohata takes lessons like these and brings them to life in her novel, kira-kira.
When Katie was much younger she could always count on her sister. To love her more than anyone, to care for her when no one else could. But not to long after their family moved from the wide open spaces of Iowa to Georgia, embedded in the deep south, things changed…for the both of them. When a popular Caucasian girl “breaks ranks” and becomes Lynn’s new best friend, Katie can’t seem to count on her sister like she used to. And as Lynn’s sickness becomes worse it seems like Lynn is the one having to depend on Katie. Lynn is diagnosed with anemia, causing fatigue and pallor and fatigue, and also with lymphoma, a malignant tumor that arises in the lymph nodes or in other lymphoid tissue. Katie’s parents both work extensive hours, sometimes even staying overnight. The only time they are home or away from work is when they spend time sleeping, resting, or dealing with Lynn’s medical problems. So Katie was left to take care of her ailing sister and young brother.
When the family realizes how serious Lynn’s problems are their parents decide to finally buy a new house. Already the house seems to be making her better. But to Katie this doesn’t seem to be their house but Lynn’s house. But alas this doesn’t last for long. When Lynn is feeling better the three children go on a picnic, but when trouble strikes, their little brother needs to be rushed to a hospital. This seems to bring everyone back to reality and cause Lynn to spiral downward back into serious sickness. Throughout the book, Lynn’s struggle continues, and Katie must learn to deal with her many responsibilities.
Cynthia Kadohata was born in Chicago, 1956. Her family moved to Georgia, where her father became a chicken sexer. Much of the small tidbits in her story were mirrored from her own life and personal experiences. Another anecdote, taken from her own life was the scene where Katie and her dad go to Pepe’s for tacos. Katie, like Cynthia ate five tacos. Ms. Kadohata’s record was six tacos. Her family was amazed and somewhat horrified. Nowadays however, Cynthia, says, she only eats three tacos at one sitting. The first piece of writing Cynthia ever attempted to publish, was a short story she called, “The One-Legged Ducks.” The story was about a planet inhabited by ducks with only one leg each. However, when she sent this to a well-known magazine that published the best short stories in the country, she was denied.
Kira-Kira is a historical fiction novel, because of its relation to the era in which it was written. In the beginning it states this time, and you expect a plethora of things to happen. This is gives you the idea that the significance of the book will be prejudice and segregation. But the wonderful part of this book is that the binding of the times doesn’t keep it from spinning a story about so many other things. Along with these issues, but without letting it becomes the main idea of the story. But the main significance of the novel was, how even though there is so much sadness and hardships in life, and times when you feel like you can never move on, you can always make it through. You just have to pick yourself up and try again. You can’t let yourself be afraid to live. One of the worst things that can happen is to lose someone, but the worst thing of all is to lose yourself. This novel was wrapped with so much sadness, and all of the issues in today’s society, but also, hope, and happiness, and comfort, and helping each other.
Kira-Kira is a somewhat hard book to judge. The sadness, emptiness and incomplete feeling made you dislike it. But something about it in general caused you to love it, and maybe even make it your favorite book. This fact made the reader think they disliked it for quite a while, but while you sleep on it, the gist of the whole story comes back to you. It subconsciously grows on you. And when it does this it causes you to rethink the story. Especially good for a book project or review, because that in turn causes you to analyze it more deeply, making it a great choice to read for projects like this. And don’t worry, it’s not the kind of thinking, and analyzing that might give you a headache, its just a natural process that occurs when you read it or when your mind just drifts into that spot.
Kira-Kira was just a sweet and subtle and romantic “parody.” Cynthia Kadohata’s airy, deep reasoning’s portrayed by her characters were perfect. Her imagery was so vivid, but so quiet you hardly noticed it. Her description of the times, helped along the creation of the scenes as well. Overall the book was not what I expected, which was nice. It kept me turning the pages the whole time. At first, when it tells you the specific era, around 1950-1960, and how a Japanese family moves to Georgia deep down South, there are a lot of things coming to your mind; the segregation, riots, violence. But surprisingly so, not much of this occurred. So lots of the key points/landmarks in the book were interesting. Kira-Kira is, witty, smart, touching, and a genuine find. I loved this book.

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