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Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

Moloka'i (2003)

by Alan Brennert

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1,7271304,100 (4.13)130
  1. 00
    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.
  2. 00
    Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier (cacky)

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Loved this book! It kept me awake at night learning as I read. At one time it was thought that leprosy was a form of venereal disease, the health inspector was paid extra for each potential leper he rounded up, when a member of a Japanese family contracted leprosy he disgraced his family and entire lineage for all time, and that even after they were cured the former residents of Moloka'i were treated very badly if they tried to return to everyday society. Rachel is cured after spending 50 years of her life on Moloka'i. When she returns to Honolulu she's looking for the family she was torn from and familiar places. The one sentence that grabbed me was when she went back to her old home, "And she grieved to realize that the home she had so loved existed now only in memory, as distant and insubstantial as the kingdom in which she'd been born". Sniffle. Beautifully written ( )
  lisa.schureman | Aug 28, 2015 |
reat book. Feels like an epic but reads very quickly. For me, the characters were amazing at the beginning, faded a little in the middle, and then reignited a spark of love from me at the end. Brennert did an amazing job of writing a character that was neither too good to be true or too bad to be liked. Someone who had found good in a life of unfairness but had developed weaknesses that are believable in someone who had lived her life. I love an author who will do that - who will risk undying loyalty to their protagonist to make them real. It worked.

The book spans the late 19th century to the mid/late 20th century and tells the life of one child/woman who was exiled to and imprisoned on Moloka'i from the time she was 5 years old until she was into her 50's. Moloka'i was a leper colony. Rachel didn't even know what leprosy (Hanson's Disease) was but it stole her from her parents and siblings and left her homeless, feeling abandoned, and thinking she was without family. But this community became her family and it was lovely.

The history behind the novel is devastating and tragic. Not easy to deal with on an emotional level. ( )
  tnociti | Apr 21, 2015 |
Not depressing! I don't usually read historical fiction but I'm glad a group here prompted me to read this. I don't know how to evaluate except to say I learned a lot; it was smooth reading, lovely and clear and well-paced; and there were a lot of interesting characters.

I am thankful that, by the time our heroine got to the island, the community was starting to grow, the Sisters were nursing the patients, and the conditions weren't as miserable in the early decades.

I can say the characters weren't *quite* rich & complex enough for my taste - there was a bit of a feeling that they were not real people, but were filling roles. I imagine that's something common to much historical fiction though, as the author needs to try to both tell the recorded truth and tell a story. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
Wow wow wow. Best book I've read, so far, in 2014. I thought it was so well written, very interesting (a subject and place I didn't know a lot about), and it even made me cry a few times. I now want to read one of his other books, Honolulu. I just loved this book! ( )
  sandra.k.heinzman | Apr 2, 2015 |
Wow wow wow. Best book I've read, so far, in 2014. I thought it was so well written, very interesting (a subject and place I didn't know a lot about), and it even made me cry a few times. I now want to read one of his other books, Honolulu. I just loved this book! ( )
  sandra.k.heinzman | Apr 2, 2015 |
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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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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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