Study Guide

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet Love

By Jamie Ford

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There are many different types of love on display in Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: romantic love, familial love, love of music, and even love of country (or the lack thereof). But the biggest story of all, of course, is Henry's love for Keiko. Even after decades spent apart, Henry still feels a pull toward his first love, and in the end, his son Marty tracks her down so Henry can see her again. He senses how much this woman means to his father, and he finds her so Henry can be happy again. It's an act of love on Marty's part, and as the book ends, it looks like Henry and Keiko are ready to let love flow freely between them once more, too.

Questions About Love

  1. When does Henry tell Keiko he loves her for the first time? Why does he choose this moment? Are there ways in which he shows her prior to this time?
  2. Do you think Henry's mother still loves and cares for him after his father disowns him? Why or why not?
  3. How do you think Henry's love for Ethel is like his love for Keiko? How are they different?
  4. Does Henry show his love for Marty in a real, visible way? And does Marty show his love for Henry?

Chew on This

Henry is just a thirteen-year-old kid when he visits Keiko at the camp in Idaho, but they've been through enough trials and tribulations together for him to know he loves her for real—not in just a puppy love kind of way.

Although Henry loves his son Marty, it isn't until they start talking more openly with each other after Ethel's death that father and son truly connect and come to understand one another.

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