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Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

Moloka'i (2003)

by Alan Brennert

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Recently added byprivate library, Lokweesha, kalar, PamY, keflynn254, tayitude, Julie4534
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    The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Both books have exotic, isolated settings and characters who experience great love as well as great loss.
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    Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier (cacky)

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This is a beautifully written novel about a young girl taken away from her family at 7 years old and shipped off to Moloka'i - the leprosy quarantine island in Hawaii. Despite the sadness of the situation, this story is a hopeful representation of the way community and family was created among Moloka'i's inhabitants. It did, however, try a little too hard in representing every potential community and cultural challenge: familial isolation and resulting divorce, sexual abuse, transsexual best friend, racial discrimination, question of faith, suicide, domestic violence, forced adoption, Japanese internment, ... it could have been a shorter book with less of this and been just as effective. However, it was so beautifully written, all of this just means more to enjoy. The first half reminded me of The Pearl Diver. ( )
  asawyer | Jan 27, 2015 |
One of those sweeping dramas that are fun to read—and the historical aspects of the tale were fascinating. ( )
  AntT | Jan 24, 2015 |
One of those sweeping dramas that are fun to read—and the historical aspects of the tale were fascinating. ( )
  AntT | Jan 24, 2015 |
In the 1890’s, at the tender age of seven, native Hawaiian Rachel is diagnosed with leprosy. She is separated from her family and eventually takes up residence at the Kalaupapa colony on the island of Moloka'i. She lives in this isolated location from childhood to old age, until sulfa drugs make leper colonies obsolete. She experiences happiness and sadness, love and loss, all while battling a disfiguring and little-understood disease.

The beginning of this book, with its exotic setting and child’s perspective, reminded me of the beginning of The Thorn Birds. There’s a potential made-for-TV miniseries within its pages (author Brennert is an Emmy-winning television writer). Rachel’s circumscribed world is populated by stock characters such as the mother-substitute who represents the traditional ways of pre-colonial Hawaii, the gender-bending best friend who dispenses fashion and dating tips, and the loving man who dies too soon (actually, there is more than one of those).

I liked Moloka'i, but I didn’t love it. I found the book easy to put down, because no matter how many sorrows she faced, I was sure that Rachel would make it through all right. Heroines in novels like this one always do. ( )
  akblanchard | Sep 16, 2014 |
I'm not sure why, but after a bit this book seemed to just drag on for me--whether writing style, lack of real events or movement, both, or neither, I can't say; but I was honestly considering a 2-star rating except that the ending worked out all right for me, since something actually happened then. Pretty good as a historical novel; but nothing extraordinary, to me, as a novel in itself, if that statement even makes sense. ( )
  -sunny- | Jul 15, 2014 |
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For the people of Kalaupapa
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:53:45 -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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