The Last Paper Crane by Kerry Drewery
Published by: Hot Key Books
Released: 2nd April 2020
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
One thousand paper cranes to achieve your heart’s desire.
1945, Hiroshima: Ichiro is a teenage boy relaxing at home with his friend Hiro. Moments later there is a blinding flash as the horrific nuclear bomb is dropped. With great bravery the two boys find Hiro’s five year-old sister Keiko in the devastated and blasted landscape. With Hiro succumbing to his wounds, Ichiro is now the only one who can take care of Keiko. But in the chaos Ichiro loses her when he sets off to find help.
Seventy years later, the loss of Keiko and his broken promise to his dying friend are haunting the old man’s fading years. Mizuki, his grandaughter, is determined to help him. As the Japanese legend goes, if you have the patience to fold 1,000 paper cranes, you will find your heart’s desire; and it turns out her grandfather has only one more origami crane to fold…
Narrated in a compelling mix of straight straight narrative, free verse and haiku poems, this is a haunting and powerful novel of courage and survival, with full-page illustrations by Natsko Seki.
Ichiro has held onto a secret for seventy years, and it’s been haunting him. Flashback to 1945 in Hiroshima, Japan – Ichiro and his friend Hiro are just relaxing at home, when the terrible nuclear bomb is dropped. Although injured Ichiro and Hiro go on a quest to find Hiro’s younger sister, Keiko. After discovering her, Hiro succumbs to his injuries and Ichirio promises him he will get help for Keiko. However, in the chaos he looses her. Flash forward to 2018 and Ichiro’s granddaughter Mizuki, is determined to help him and will do anything to find out what really happened to Keiko.
Well…this was such a mind blowing read that left me heart-rendered. Having not known anything about the bombing of Hiroshima, this book certainly opened my eyes to what the citizens of the city went through on that fateful day. I spent most of the time reading it with a big lump in my throat, and that was mainly due to the vividly written prose, which conveyed the dreadful events in such a powerful and emotional way that had you feeling empathy for all characters involved.
The story itself is told in three parts and this is told through verse, prose and also haikus, which in my opinion really brought out it’s uniqueness and was really fitting to the location of the plot. We hear the story through Ichiro and Mizuki, and I loved getting under the skin of these two very complex characters. We go back in time with Ichiro and get all the harrowing details of the Hiroshima disaster, and with Mizuki we get to see how she so desperately wants to help her grandfather in the present day. Every single part of the story is written so beautifully and I can honestly say the author has such a poetic style and voice. Because of this, I found the book really hard to put down and I was just in awe of it, if I’m being truly honest.
Every character within The Last Paper Crane made me feel some sort of empathy towards them and I really love when I can feel this for every character within a book. Ichiro, was obviously the character that I felt the most empathy for. You can really feel his pain and his guilt over what happened and how hiding it for seventy years has taken its toll on him both physically and mentally. Mizuki, I found to be a real caring character who just wanted to help her grandfather and bring him a little bit of happiness. The way she went around to support him, was just admirable and did bring a tear to my eye. She, was the envision of hope in this tale.
The Last Paper Crane was an evocative, simply stunning tale about a harrowing event in history, that captivated me. It’s alluring prose and the empathetic feeling it gives you will last forever.