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Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
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Moloka'i (2003)

by Alan Brennert

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1,8001403,890 (4.13)133
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Wonderful historical fiction about the Kalupapa leper settlement. I had read Tayman's The Colony last year and I could tell that Brennert really did his research for this novel. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 2, 2016 |
This was an incredible book. I love when a story is intriguing and set in an historic time and place I had little knowledge of. The main character, Rachel, was fictional but the events, places, and many people are historically accurate. Rachel's strength and ability to love and be loved are inspiring. A mix of tragedy, horror, redemption, and healing - I loved every page. ( )
  nljacobs | Jan 19, 2016 |
When I started Moloka’i, the only thing I knew about it was that it was consistently popular when I worked at a book store. I picked it up a few months ago at a thrift store for 99 cents thinking ‘can’t go wrong with this price’.

I rarely read books like this. By ‘this’ I mean regular, popular fiction with no genre theme attached. I have always drifted towards the alternatives - science fiction, horror, sometimes fantasy. I’ve also loved classic literature since I picked up my first Dickens. But modern fiction has never really been my jam. And it’s interesting to note that on the few times I do pick up one, like in the case of Moloka’i, I am utterly blown away and find myself falling deeply in love.

I am usually always skeptical of a man writing a girl’s or woman’s journey, and so when I realized this was going to be Rachel Kalama’s life journey written by a white, American man, my skepticism was working overtime. Brennert writes Rachel with such a clarity and such an understanding of love and loss that it’s hard to believe he didn’t know the (fictional) woman personally. I guess he did, though, I mean she was born inside of his head.

Rachel’s character development is so strong and so tight that you don’t even miss the chunks of years of her life that Brennert skips over. It is clear from her voice and attitude exactly what those years held for her and you never feel like you’ve missed out. With each chapter and cluster of years of her experience, you feel more and more like you know Rachel almost as intimately as you know yourself and, in turn, you feel her hopes and her losses almost as deeply as she.

Rachel Aouli Kalama Utagawa has earned her way into my favorite all-time characters of literature. ( )
  sixteendays | Jan 17, 2016 |
Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

★ ★ ★ ★

This is the amazing story of Rachel Kalama, a girl who is put into a leper colony on the island of Moloka'i and her years there. This book will take you on a emotional roller coaster, leaving you laughing and crying (this books seriously made me shed some tears). But this isn't just her story, this is the story of those around her and the changes through the years (to both people and the world). In 1891, Hawaii was not yet considered US territory, cars were non-existant, and indoor plumbing and electricity were only for the rich. While Rachel may not be an actual person, the events that occurred and leper colony certainly did exist. The experience is heart-wrenching just reading. The characters were very likable and the setting well done. Just like many other parts of history, this is one that shouldn't be forgotten. ( )
  UberButter | Jan 16, 2016 |
This is the amazing story of Rachel Kalama, a girl who is put into a leper colony on the island of Moloka'i and her years there. This book will take you on a emotional roller coaster, leaving you laughing and crying (this books seriously made me shed some tears). But this isn't just her story, this is the story of those around her and the changes through the years (to both people and the world). In 1891, Hawaii was not yet considered US territory, cars were non-existant, and indoor plumbing and electricity were only for the rich. While Rachel may not be an actual person, the events that occurred and leper colony certainly did exist. The experience is heart-wrenching just reading. The characters were very likable and the setting well done. Just like many other parts of history, this is one that shouldn't be forgotten. ( )
  UberButter | Jan 16, 2016 |
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For the people of Kalaupapa
and
For Edgar and Charlotte Wittmer
my 'ohana
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Later, when memory was all she had to sustain her, she would come to cherish it: Old Honolulu as it was then, as it would never be again.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312304358, Paperback)

This richly imagined novel, set in Hawai'i more than a century ago, is an extraordinary epic of a little-known time and place---and a deeply moving testament to the resiliency of the human spirit.

Rachel Kalama, a spirited seven-year-old Hawaiian girl, dreams of visiting far-off lands like her father, a merchant seaman. Then one day a rose-colored mark appears on her skin, and those dreams are stolen from her. Taken from her home and family, Rachel is sent to Kalaupapa, the quarantined leprosy settlement on the island of Moloka'i. Here her life is supposed to end---but instead she discovers it is only just beginning.

With a vibrant cast of vividly realized characters, Moloka'i is the true-to-life chronicle of a people who embraced life in the face of death. Such is the warmth, humor, and compassion of this novel that "few readers will remain unchanged by Rachel's story" (mostlyfiction.com).

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:43 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Seven-year-old Rachel is forcibly removed from her family's 1890s Honolulu home when she contracts leprosy and is placed in a settlement, where she loses a series of new friends before new medical discoveries enable her to reenter the world.

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