Weedflower was my first audiobook ever, and I suspect that has affected my opinion of it. Simply put, it did not blow me away, but I really liked it. It got off to a slow start, but the pace quickly picked up, and I found myself caring very much what happened to Sumiko and her family. I think Kadohata’s greatest achievement with this book is presenting a huge historic event from a girl’s perspective. What this means is that we get a limited awareness of what’s going on in the outside world; Sumiko only knows what’s going on to the extent that it affects her life directly. A lot of historical fiction falls prey to its larger context, losing the personal in the grand saga of history, and educating readers in such a way that the narrator/protagonist seems to know a lot of things she really shouldn’t. Kadohata deftly avoids this trap, but still presents a picture of life in the middle of World War II that makes us aware of what was going on.
I would recommend Weedflower to readers who enjoy historical fiction, especially about World War II, or anyone looking for a good story about how a girl grows up. I will warn you, though, that it is not a cheerful tale.
Book: Weedflower (Affiliate Link)
Author: Cynthia Kadohata
Original Publication Date: 2006
Age Range: Young Adult
Source of Book: Library [Audiobook]
Other Blog Reviews: Fairrosa’s Reading Journal, propernoun.net, A Fuse #8 Production, MotherReader, Jen Robinson’s Book Page