Monday, February 28, 2011

The Typist by Michael Knight- Review

Set in Japan 1945-1946 during the American occupation post WW II. A young soldier, Francis Vancleave, narrates the story about getting assigned to General Douglas McArthur's staff when it's discovered that he has typing skills. We get some scenes inside McArthur's family, especially with the general's eight year old son, whom Francis befriends beyond the request to babysit when he realizes how lonely it must be for a young boy so far from the familiar things of home and confined to a military compound. We also see his perspective of Tokyo and its nightlife with fellow soldiers, especially his bunk mate with whom he shares letters from home and the constant worries about what those letters may, and eventually do bring them. Francis has a new war bride waiting for him Stateside. 
While his bunk mate gets deeper into some shady dealings and entertains pan-pan girls Frances tries hard to stay faithful and out of trouble even while he worries about him. There are other aspects of the story I have not mentioned but I don't like to say too much in a review, I like to be surprised when I read a story myself. The writing is very smooth and the story moves at a good pace. At 208 pages it's an easy one day read and it's a smaller hardcover that fits the hand just right. The story is very true to life I thought. I'm familiar with the time period and military service and I believed every word of it. Highly recommended

This review was requested by Kathy at Bermudaonion's Weblog who asked...

"I'd like to know what you thought of The Typist - I met the author in September and he was charming."

Aspects of the story I think you'll enjoy:

-Francis is an Alabama boy whose Southern standards are very important to him.

-I know your father was military, mine was too, so many of the things mentioned will be more familiar to us.

-There's a army/navy football game arranged by McArthur in the story. This is based on a true incident that occurred in Japan at the time. I know how much you like watching men fight over a pigskin.

I think this story is made for you, Kathy. Thank you for asking.

My policy is to write brief reviews only by request of my readers. Any book I've read or am currently reading, please just ask.



  1. I have to wonder how the half cut-off image of a woman that tries to look vaguely Japanese on the cover has anything to do with a 20th century story that seems so utterly about American men. Is it just a marketing ploy or does the image actually tie into the story?

  2. Thank you for reviewing this book for me! It sounds like you know me well! I chuckled when you mentioned the men fighting over a pigskin. I can't wait to read The Typist now!

  3. thanks for sharing, would love to read this

  4. thanks for sharing this. so next time I see this book I know you talked about it and would be eager to read it myself.

  5. What a nice review...I will have to check the book out.

  6. Oh...I want to read this book. And I am a typing teacher so I love the title. :)

    First-time the header and your blog name.

    ..Stopping by from Cym Lowell's Book Party.

    Stop by my blog for a book giveaway:


    Chelsey Emmelhainz of HARPER COLLINS is graciously providing FIVE copies for five lucky winners.

  7. I have seen this in the book stores...and will check into it further due to your excellent review.

  8. It sounds like a wonderful book and it's going right on my wishlist! :-)

  9. That it takes place in Japan is more than enough to grab my attention. Thank you for the review. :)

  10. This book sounds amazing! I have faintly heard about it, but I didn't remember much about it. I can't wait to check it out.



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