Review: “Gambatte” By David Tsubouchi


Through NetGalley, I was provided a copy of this book by ECW Press for the purposes of reading and reviewing it. While I received this book at no cost to me, I’m under no obligation to provide a positive review.

This book took longer to read than I would expect for one this size (250 pages). I’m not sure where to go with the review and rating, so I’ll just ramble a bit and see where it takes me.

The central part of the beginning of this book is the history of the author’s family on his mother and father’s respective sides. I was fascinated by the stories of how they handled being sent to internment camps for Japanese Canadians during World War II, especially since I am fascinated by the history of the same part of American history.

This willingness to drive on in the face of conflict and adversity directly leads to the title of the book. “Gambatte” is a Japanese word that translates to “work hard”, “keep fighting”, “never give up”, etc. In that, Tsubouchi’s ancestors certainly excelled. It’s also a trait they passed on to the author. Throughout his political career, ascending from a local councilman to a member of the federal government, he never let being a minority get in the way of his goals. He has definitely been a trendsetter.

That said, I quickly lost interest when the focus of the book shifted to the advancement of Tsubouchi’s political career. It’s definitely a tribute to the author’s tenacity and willingness to take chances, but at the same time, after a while it reads as a “this happened, then this happened, then this other thing happened” type of story.

Not being one who’s been particularly interested in politics and certainly not Canadian, I found it tedious at times. However, it’s not poorly written, so I’m willing to chalk up my difficulties reading it to simply being the wrong market for the book. I am presuming someone interested in Canadian politics will find it much more fascinating than I did.

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

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