The Yokota Officers Club by Sarah Bird

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Sarah Bird’s gutsy, sharp, and touching new novel opens at full speed.

Bernadette "Bernie" Root, military brat, speaks. She has never really noticed what a peculiar bunch of nomads her eight-member Air Force family is (with the exception of her Post Princess sister, Kit), until the summer after her first year of college when she joins them at their new assignment: Kadena Air Base, Okinawa.

Just as Okinawa turns out to be a sorry version of the Japanese paradise Bernie knew in her childhood at Yokota Air Base, her family, especially her once-beautiful mother, Moe, and her former spy-pilot father, Mace, seems to have been in decline since those glory days of the American Raj. Days when her mother was happy and their best friend, Fumiko, now lost to them, was the family’s maid. The worst part of Okinawa for Bernie, though, is realizing how perfectly she fits with her oddball family and how badly she needs to get out.

So when a dance contest first prize, a trip to Japan,offers a chance to escape, she takes it, playing second banana to a third-rate comedian on a tour of Japan’s military bases. At their grand finale at the Yokota Officers’ Club, Fumiko finally reappears, and Bernie discovers the terrible price that is paid when the secrets nations hide end up buried within families.

A brilliantly appealing novel whose energy, wit, and feeling have won for it (see back of the jacket) extraordinary advance praise.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Sarah Bird

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Sarah Bird is the author of five previous novels: The Yokota Officers Club, Virgin of the Rodeo, The Mommy Club, The Boyfriend School, and Alamo House. She is a columnist for the Texas Monthly and has written for The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, O Magazine, Glamour, and Mademoiselle, among other publications. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, George, and son, Gabriel.From the Hardcover edition.
Published November 24, 2010 by Ballantine Books. 402 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Yokota Officers Club

Kirkus Reviews

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Everything went wrong, Bernie thinks, after the family suddenly was ordered to leave Yokota Air Base in Japan, then forbidden any contact with their much-loved maid Fumiko.

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Publishers Weekly

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Before being sucked into the family's torpor, Bernie escapes by winning a dance contest that lands her in Tokyo as the stage partner of Bobby Moses, a third-rate borscht belt comedian.

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Entertainment Weekly

Brainy Bernie Root has spent most of her 18 years as a living shadow, leaving no impression as she and her unruly Air Force family hop from base to base.

Aug 03 2001 | Read Full Review of The Yokota Officers Club


by Sarah Bird is a book of incisive wit and poignancy that uses an astonishing clarity of detail in painting its picture of military family life.

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The Best Reviews

Better to miss a flight than to miss this book, the latest effort from this extraordinary author.

Sep 26 2001 | Read Full Review of The Yokota Officers Club

News Review.

In this semi-autobiographical novel, author Sarah Bird (Virgin of the Rodeo) gives us shy, bookish Bernie Root, an 18-year-old military brat visiting her family in Okinawa after her first year of college in the States.

Aug 16 2001 | Read Full Review of The Yokota Officers Club

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