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beach read: moloka'i

growing up, my understanding of kalaupapa was limited to the occasional classroom mention and wandering past father damien's statue at the state capitol. then i borrowed moloka'i from my mom which turned out to be a beautifully written tale of how the dreaded epidemic upended the life of a seven-year-old girl.

the fictional story transports you to old honolulu and its inquisition-like investigations of the whispered about ma'i pake before journeying across the kaiwi channel where the inflicted were expected to embrace life on a forsaken slice of 'aina. and while tear-stained pages are inevitable, little rachel kalama stubbornly proves that happiness, even if fleeting, is possible in small moments of freedom be it secret surf sessions, teenage escapades, and unexpected friendships that blossom during an almost lifelong colony existence.

if you adore a good story, this is a must for your summer beach reads list!

p.s. there are plenty of copies waiting to be discovered on the shelves of your local library.

Reader Comments (7)

Have you read Honolulu, also by Brennert? I really liked it, although I think Michener's Hawaii is still my favorite Hawaii historical novel. I have a new one on my shelf, Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell...really looking forward to picking that one up this summer!

Friday, May 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristen at Hillside Hideaway

ooh thanks for reviewing this, will check it out at the library next time I'm home!

Friday, May 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkat

aloha kristen! i just spied honolulu while working on the post *and* was delighted when i discovered sarah vowell's take on hawaii history in my little neighborhood library's catalog.

& kat . . . it really is a tragic yet compelling story and filled in so many forgotten details from that long ago era. hopefully, local teachers are assigning moloka'i to their english & history students.

Friday, May 27, 2011 | Registered Commenterleigh

Yes! I read that book a couple years ago, thinking that it would probably be a cheesy beach read, but MAN was I so impressed. SUCH an awesome book. I saw Honolulu recently and have been meaning to read that too.

Saturday, May 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermegan

I read it after reading Mitchner's Hawaii and The Betrayal of Queen Liliuokalani. I needed something a little lighter! Yet, even though it is fiction (as is Mitchner's), it touched upon so many of the same historical events. I loved the book! I added Unfamiliar Fishes to my list a few months ago and gobbled it up. I will have to seek out Honolulu now.

Friday, June 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristin L

Such a great read! I read this while on vacay on Molokai and thought it was a very good beach read and gave great account to the history of Kalaupapa. Everyone should know the story and if you don't want to read a history book, this is the way. I read it in two days because I couldn't put it down.

Monday, June 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWisa

tardy hellos to megan, kristin & wisa!

delighted that so many of us adore this book! i do hope our collective love for this beautifully crafted story prompts more readers to pick up a copy.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 | Registered Commenterleigh

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