Book: Rain Song by Alice Wisler
What’s it about?
Nicole Michelin avoids airplanes, motorcycles, and most of all, Japan, where her parents once were missionaries. Something happened in Japan. Something that sent Nicole and her father back to America alone. Something of which Nicole knows only bits and pieces. But she is content with life in little Mount Olive, North Carolina, with her quirky relatives, tank of lively fish, and plenty of homemade pineapple chutney.
Through her online column for the Pretty Fishy website, Nicole meets Harrison Michaels, who, much to her dismay, lives in Japan. She attempts to avoid him, but his e-mails tug at her heart.
Then Harrison reveals that he knew her as a child in Japan. In fact, he knows more about her childhood than she does! Will Nicole face her fears in order to discover her past and take a chance on love?
Discussion questions included? Were they helpful?
In the back of the book. Yes, they were helpful – we used several of them.
What we liked about the book:
We loved Nicole’s sense of humor and her quirky relatives. We all liked Wisler’s style of writing and enjoyed the story. And we loved how Nicole’s relationship with her difficult & “different” niece grew from annoyance to appreciation.
Anything we would change?
We found Harrison an appealing hero, so we were disappointed not to read more scenes with him at the end – and we wanted to “see” more of Japan with Nicole and Harrison. But we did find the ending emotionally fulfilling.
Fun connections (did the story inspire food, decorations, setting, service projects?):
Since Nicole’s early years in Japan were crucial to the story, we had yakitori chicken. The hostess decorated with kimonos, fans, and souvenirs from her father’s trips to Japan – and her daughter made colorful origami fish for favors. There was a recipe in the book for pineapple chutney, but none of us were brave enough to make it.
Deep connections (this story made us think about…):
This story led to some good discussions – how we treat children who are “different” like Nicole’s niece, Monet, what we’d do if we found out a friend’s husband was cheating on her, and how we deal with fears. And whether pineapple chutney sounded disgusting or delicious.
Do you recommend this book for other book clubs? Yes.
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