The Yellow Door by Amy Uyematsu (Review by Ashley Shaw)

Rating: 4.0

I’m going to start out this review by saying that I don’t think this would be a good book for GBC – however, that is mostly because it is a book of poetry and a short one at that. Despite the fact that Amy Uyematsu’s The Yellow Door wouldn’t make a good book for our book club, though, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read it anyway.

I like books (or poems as the case may be) that allow me to get into the heads of people I have never met. I think that’s how you best learn empathy.

In this case, I got to experience the thoughts and feelings of an Asian-American woman in a racist and close-minded world. It’s not that I thought the world was perfect before. But it’s quite insightful to try and put yourself in the shoes of someone who actually experienced these feelings.

While our experiences are vastly different, they did have some parallels. Take, for example, the poem “Unpronounceable,” which examines how people refuse to take the time to learn to pronounce her last name. I never had that problem – but my sister Ariel (Are-e-l, not Air-e-l) always did. It didn’t matter how many times she would explain it wasn’t pronounced Air, people didn’t care. After all, it wasn’t their name being butchered. I grew up watching my sister struggle with this very issue, and it seems small, but I understood the author’s struggle because of it.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • “This Is More About Hands Than Feet”
  • “From Tatsuya to Little Willie G…”
  • “Women’s Lib, Asian American Style”
  • “The Sign Says “Closed for Business””