I just finished Margaret Dilloway's How to Be an American Housewife: a novel. The basic story line is that Shoko decides to marry a U.S. Army man and leave Japan after World War II. We get an insight into her life and her adjustments to American life. But, the story line that I really found interesting was the one between Shoko's daughter Suiko, or Sue, and her own daughter, Helena.
Sue's relationship with her daughter Helena offered more depth and realism to me. It's the story of a single parent in modern times trying to do the best for her daughter. I found their story easier to connect with and follow as it evolved. As you delve further into the book, you discover that Sue's and Helena's relationship provides a foil to Shoko's and Sue's mother-daughter relationship. Shoko wasn't that great of a mom to Sue (in my opinion), and you can see the ramifications of that in how Sue raises Helena--both the good and the bad.
The only complaint I have about the book is that I wanted to know more about Shoko as a mother. We see pieces of that time, but most of those instances show her failing to be compassionate and not having the patience to teach Sue how to cook. I wanted to see deeper into Shoko instead of measuring her based on the others around her. I wanted to know more about why she made the choices she did with her daughter.
Overall, this was a very interesting and touching multi-generational story, centering around mothers and daughters discovering more about their past, each other and their heritage.
I suggest reading it, and let me know what you think!