~Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford~ “Parents always have a story that their children don’t really know.” “I wonder if the best thing any of us can hope for in life is a soft place to land.”
“Sometimes you need to feel the sadness, you need to feel everything to finally leave it behind, to have peace.”
I chose this book out a recommended list based on the title. In 1962 Seattle, Ernest Young is dealing with his wife’s memory loss and her troubled mental condition. This is historical fiction and love story combines, but is more than that. There is a lot of story packed into this novel that didn’t feel at all like a long read. Never once did it seem to drag.
The story moves back and forth from 1962 and the 1902 World’s Fair. Ernest, half-chinese and half American, came to America when he was five years old after his mother could no longer care for him, sending him away rather than see him starve. After he arrives, life is not easy. He is twelve years old when he gets to attend the 1902 World’s fair only to find that he is being raffled off “to a good home”. His benefactor, who up to this point has paid for his schooling and upkeep, is offering him as a prize. When the owner of a high class brothel comes to claim him, intent on making him a houseboy, Ernest’s guardian balks, but in the end Ernest goes home with the Madame.
There actually was a raffle held for a child at the 1902 World’s Fair, and his name was Ernest, but he was an infant and never claimed.
Full of historical tidbits. This story made me reflect on human nature and love. I will look for more books by Jamie Ford.