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Reading All the Way Home by Ann Tatlock Raises Questions

A few months ago, my husband and I were hanging out at his sister’s place one evening. As we chatted in her basement, I eyed her bookshelf, and soon the talk turned to books. My sister-in-law has a huge collection of Christian fiction; while we discussed our favourite authors and books, I began grabbing a few to borrow and read. All the Way Home by Ann TatlockOne of those books was All The Way Home by Ann Tatlock — an author I didn’t know.

As I started into All the Way Home during one of my breaks at work, I found myself really enjoying Tatlock’s writing.

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Questions from All the Way Home

Book blurb from Ann’s website:

The friendship of Augie Schuler and Sunny Yamagata spans the years from the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the Japanese-American internment camps to the tumultuous era of Civil Rights in 1960s Mississippi. Together the two girls share their secret longings, pursue their dreams and eventually discover the true meaning of faith and family.

In All the Way Home, Ann Tatlock makes two eras in the States come alive: the internment of the Japanese in the States in World War II and the racism directed at black Americans in Mississippi in the Korean War era. These are tied together through the main characters’ experiences with the prejudice directed at the Japanese, which helped them to understand and sympathize with the struggles of the blacks.

As I read All the Way Home, two questions kept repeating themselves in my head. The first was, “Did Canada inter her Japanese citizens during World War II?” I suspected the answer was yes, and I was right.

Canadian military authorities and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police felt that there was little chance of a Japanese invasion and that Japanese Canadians were not a threat to national security. Yet racist and xenophobic public sentiment felt that Japanese-born Canadians showed too much sympathy for Japan and that there was a chance that some of them might form a fifth column. ~ Histor!ca

However, racism against the Japanese didn’t start with the war. Before then, government policies in BC, where most of the Japanese immigrants had settled, were anti-Japanese. Even those born in Canada and those who had fought for Canada in World War I were denied the rights of citizens. With that attitude, it was probably easy to suspect the Japanese of “helping the enemy” and to further take away their rights by locking them in camps. Some of these camps were located in the Rockies, near present-day popular tourist spots.

My second question was about the racism in the States portrayed in the second half of All The Way Home. Maybe it shouldn’t have surprised me that even in the 1960s and 70s, blacks weren’t allowed to vote and were treated as Tatlock shows. I wondered if that has changed today. Then as I thought about that, I remember a comment I heard during the 2008 American presidential race. One person said he didn’t want either a black or a woman in office, so he wouldn’t be voting for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

Does it ever end? Will there ever come a time, with our increasing globalization, when we cease to fear or hate those who are different from us?

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If you’re looking for great historical books to discuss these topics with your kids, check out my list of 100 Great Canadian Novels for Canadian Tween Girls.

About Ann Tatlock

Ann Tatlock, author of All the Way Home and other Christian novels.Ann Tatlock is the best-selling author of eleven novels and three children’s books. All the Way Home won the Christy Award for Contemporary Fiction in 2003 and was included among Booklist’s Top 10 Christian Novels in 2002.

Ann says, “I don’t write romance stories, though I’m often—to my great puzzlement–categorized as a romance writer. My books have been described as both contemporary and historical, though it seems a good trick that they should be both at once.” To find out more about Ann Tatlock and her books, drop by her website.

Readers who are jaded and skeptical about the quality of Christian novels will find [All the Way Home] a fine example of the progress being made in the category… Tatlock employs flashbacks efficiently, and her rich descriptions and characterizations are unusually fresh and inventive. ~ Publisher’s Weekly

All the Way Home is available on Amazon and in your favourite Christian bookstore as a paperback or as an audiobook. If you’re reading All the Way Home for a book club, check out the discussion questions.

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2 Comments

  1. Koala Bear Writer October 19, 2009
  2. Sande October 15, 2009

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