Elephant à la Mode is written in a conversational style, with the author, T. Roy Nakai, describing the important aspects and events of his life to his children. He begins the story with his immigrant parents who left Japan to come to the U.S. as contract laborers and continues on to his first home on Terminal Island, Califronia. Dr. Nakai believes that many of life’s best lessons are learned throuhg trial and error, and has a way of describing life’s ups and downs in a way that leaves room for laughing at himself when necessary.
Dr. Nakai goes on to describe the relocation of his family during the war, the childhood in Elsinore after the war, and later on his career highlights. His grandparents worked and owned a hot spring spa and bath house, and he describes what it was like growing up Japanese in an area that lacked real diversity at the time. He speaks of a childhood accident that got him interested in dentistry, and an accident that changed the course of his career and life forever.
Dr. Nakai includes handy lessons at the end of each chapter, both for reference and as a guide to help the reader get the most out of the reading. Elephant à la Mode was perhaps meant to show his children what it was like in the old days of his youth, but is an interesting and poignant read for audiences beyond just his children.
Dr. Nakai is an expert at reinventing himself. He certainly found a way to make the best of every situation and writes with an idea of hope and promise, instead of being depressed about things that didn’t go according to plan. His faith and “gaman” kept him afloat in both good and bad times, and he shows the reader how to develop an inner strength when it is needed the most.
Elephant à la Mode is recommended to anyone who is going through tough times and wants some inspiration. It is a testament to the fact that it is possible to come out a winner, no matter what life throws at you.