Stubborn Twig

by Lauren Kessler

Stubborn Twig book cover

A factual account of three generations of a Japanese-American family living in the Pacific Northwest. It begins in 1903, when Masuo Yasui arrived in Hood River, Oregon, to seek his fortune. This part of the story is similar to other immigrants' tales-years of hard work, loneliness, and struggles with a new language and customs. The striking distinction appears around 1919, with the rise of anti-Japanese sentiment. Yasui, his brother, their wives, and children had sacrificed much to establish a thriving general store and owned several orchards. Yasui, who spoke fluent English, was the acknowledged leader of the Japanese community in the area and an active member of the orchardists' cooperatives, the Methodist Church, and the Rotary Club. His family continued to have great success despite discrimination. Their lives were painfully disrupted, however, on December 7, 1941. Yasui was arrested as a spy and imprisoned for the rest of the war; his relatives were scattered and some were interned. This book puts human faces and emotions to the events of that period. Readers learn how racism and internment continued to affect the choices and decisions of second-generation family members. Part sociological study, part American history, part family saga, this title will make a significant addition to any library.
- Penny Stevens, Fairfax County Public Library, VA

About the Author:

Lauren Kessler is the author of five works of narrative nonfiction, including Dancing with Rose, Washington Post bestseller Clever Girl, Los Angeles Times bestseller The Happy Bottom Riding Club, Full Court Press and Oregon Book Award winner Stubborn Twig. Stubborn Twig was chosen as the book for all Oregon to read in honor of the state's 2009 sesquicentennial.

Her journalism has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Los Angeles Times Magazine, O Magazine, Salon and The Nation. She is founder and editor of Etude, the online magazine of narrative nonfiction, and directs the graduate program in literary nonfiction at the University of Oregon. She lives in Eugene, Oregon, with her writer husband, Tom Hager, her three brilliant and faultless children and a cat that thinks it's a dog.

  • Miller Foundation
  • Starseed Foundation
  • Oregon Public Broadcasting