Fall Down Seven

Young Adult - General
232 Pages
Reviewed on 07/21/2013
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

C. E. Edmonson is the author of the award-winning novels, Golden’s Rule and Finding Faith. For more information, see www.ceedmonson.com.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers' Favorite

In the novel Fall Down Seven, written by C.E. Edmonson, thirteen-year-old Emiko Arrington witnesses the most shocking events of December 7, 1941, through the window: the Japanese attack on the United States base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. While the unexpected attack prompts the US entry into World War II, it also quickly changes the life of Emiko and her Japanese-American family. Emiko recalls: “Within a very few days, less than a week, we’d cease to be Japanese-Americans. Somehow, without any discussion at all, we would become Japanese. We would become the enemy.”

C.E. Edmonson vividly recreates the events of Pearl Harbor through a robust and dramatic historical fiction. The narrative is truly moving and the author tells his story superbly, like a true master of his craft. The book held my interest throughout. In fact, I couldn’t stop reading it. Fall Down Seven is now part of my Can’t-Put-Down List. Emiko tells the story and I was all ears to what she was going to share about her life after the event. It appears that being Japanese is a curse during this time, and Emiko and her family have to face difficulties if they want to go on living. Like her Dad’s favorite Japanese proverb, “Nana korobi, ya oki,” which means “fall down seven times, get up eight”, I also want to tell the poor child to always rise after every fall because life must go on. Edmonson provides us with a war story that does not drag. This is a book that will definitely grip the heart and stir the spirit.

Jack Magnus

Fall Down Seven by C. E. Edmonson is the story of Emiko Arrington, a young teen-aged girl of Japanese and American ancestry. The Arringtons live on the island of Oahu, above Pearl Harbor, where Emiko's father, Lieutenant Commander Charles Arrington is a pilot and flight instructor. The title of the book refers to a something Charles has always said to Emiko: that if you fall down seven times you should get up eight times. He and his wife, Akira, have planned for Emiko to be able to go to college and fulfill her dreams, something many young women at that time were not able to do. Everything changes in a moment when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, which the horrified family watches from their home. Emiko's father rushes off to the base and is soon involved in fighting the war. He arranges for Akira, Emiko and her brother, Charlie, to travel to Connecticut, his home state, and stay with his sister, Aunt Ellen. Emiko and her family are stunned by the anger and hatred directed at them on the trip, in the town, and at their school. Each day brings more challenges, and that motto of her father's is beginning to represent a hopeless task.

C.E. Edmonson's young adult, historical novel, Fall Down Seven, captures an aspect of World War II history that many Americans are not familiar with, unless they are living on the West Coast, or are of Japanese descent. Edmonson treats this episode in history in a compelling manner that never preaches or lectures. Emiko and her brother are strong main characters, whose mom, Aunt Ellen, and Uncle Ralph help them learn how to cope with the stresses at school. There's also baseball which Charlie loves, and track at which Emiko is a whiz. There's a lot to like about this book. It has a sober side to be sure, but it's also a very enjoyable read.

Lorena Sanqui

In 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor; this incident changed the lives of many Americans. But the Arrington family experienced more change than any other Americans because they were Japanese-Americans. To avoid being thrown into Japanese internment camps, Emiko, along with her brother and mother, traveled to Gardner, Connecticut to their Aunt Ellen’s house. While Lieutenant Commander Charles Arrington was off to the war to fight for his country’s freedom, his family was also fighting a war of their own. Emiko and the Whizz were taunted and shunned because of their ancestry. The church, where they thought they would get refuge, was one of the institutions that made their lives a little harder. But this family kept their heads high and asserted their rights as Americans. Fall Down Seven by C.E. Edmonson is a testament that if you fall down seven times, you get up eight.

I think I have a new favorite book. This book is wonderful. I know that wars are inevitable, especially when standing up for something that you really believe in, like freedom and independence. I haven’t lived first hand in a place where there is war going on, but Fall Down Seven gave me a clear picture of what war really brings, not only to the soldiers but also to their families and their community. This book is fictional but I can’t feel but be proud of Emiko, the Whizz and the rest of their family, as if they were real and I was a part of their lives. They were helpless but they showed the world that they were not weak. I loved C.E. Edmonson’s writing and I love this book.

Kathryn Bennett

Fall Down Seven by C. E. Edmonson starts on a perfect Sunday morning in Hawaii December 7th 1941 a day that everyone remembers. On that day Emiko Arrington who is 13 years old is looking through a window at the cloud of smoke that is coming up from Pearl Harbor the dark cloud that is black then gray and black again before going out to sea. The planes that pour down the valley before turning into the harbor, bombs falling and causing the hell on earth that became that day. It only took hours for Emiko and her family to no longer be Japanese-Americans, suddenly they were only see as "the enemy."

C. E. Edmonson has created a rich and fulfilling book with the story of Emiko and her family. Pearl Harbor will always evoke a strong reaction and Edmonson has done a beautiful job of honoring those feelings in the context of a compelling story. I enjoyed this rare viewpoint and consequently the story touched me in many ways. I genuinely felt for Emilo and her family, and it also made me think back to the stories my Great Grandmother told me about World War II, that it brought out the best and worst in people. Reading stories like this which are so elegantly done will help us remember the entirety of Pearl Harbor.