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The descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings
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The descendants (2007)

by Kaui Hart Hemmings

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Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
Really enjoyed starting right in the action, with a plot that could have been too fantastic if not written so well. The characters were interesting, and the father very real. Very human. ( )
  ellohull | Feb 10, 2016 |
I wouldn’t have read this book if it wasn’t chosen by one of my Book Club members – we’re going to discuss it after watching the film together. I’ve tried reviewing this book over the last few days, but really I don’t know what to say about it apart from that I feel a bit ambivalent towards it. It is hard to have any sympathy for Joanie, the woman in the coma. I felt little sympathy for her husband, Matt either. I think we’re meant to like Scottie and to find her endearing, but I just found her irritating. I much preferred her sister, Alex.

My favourite character was Sid – Alex’s not-quite-boyfriend who was the one redeeming character in the book. There are enjoyable parts to the book and I didn’t hate it (even though my review might suggest otherwise!), but that’s about all I can find to say about it. I find that even though I finished it less than two weeks ago, the storyline is already fading.

I wonder if it’ll be a rare case where I like the film more than the book*?!

*It was! ( )
  Bagpuss | Jan 17, 2016 |
Matthew King is the majority interest in a large Hawaiian landholding, land he inherited from his grandfather who was married to a wealthy island princess. His relatives want Matt to sell the land to developers but Matt's world is now centered around a hospital bed where his beautiful wife, Joanie, lies comatose after a speed boat accident. Joanie had been a beautiful model and socialite, the mother of their two daughters Alex and Scottie. Now the doctors have informed Matt that Joanie's brain function is minimal and that her living will requires the hospital to stop medical intervention. He is also forced to face his two daughters, 18-year-old Alex and 10-year-old Scottie, and he has no idea what is going on in their lives. Being a busy lawyer, Matt has brought absentee fatherhood to a whole new level but now everything is his responsibility. After Alex informs Matt of a secret about Joanie that has driven a wedge between mother and daughter, Matt sets out on a quest to bring painful closure to his life with Joanie.

Although the writing is superb, I just don't understand people like Matt. How can you not know what your children's lives are like? Or what your wife is up to? He is a totally clueless human being. The girls are rude, disrespectful and Scottie, especially, is out of control. An absentee father and a social butterfly mother are not the best role models for young children and these girls are trouble with a capital T. Fortunately, Matt does realize he needs to take control of the situation but this is one messy family situation.
( )
  Ellen_R | Jan 15, 2016 |
Audio book performed by Jonathan Davis
3.5***

Most everyone thinks Matthew King is one of the luckiest men in Hawaii. His great-grandfather was a missionary who married a Hawaiian princess, making Matt a royal descendant and owner (with his cousins) of one of the largest pieces of undeveloped real estate in the islands. But that is not his focus these days. His wife Joanie lies in a coma after a boating accident and he is left trying to deal with his two daughters – 10-year-old Scottie and 17-year-old Alexandra. He’s adrift and not certain he’s doing the right thing for his children in this situation. And then he discovers that before the accident, his wife was having an affair and planning to leave him for her new love.

This is a contemplative novel, and Davis does a fine job of narrating it. In the beginning I found his slow, deliberate reading just too ponderous. I wanted to get on with the story. However, I soon came to realize that this cautious performance was perfect for voicing Matt King as he observes and absorbs what his family really is vs what he thought it was, considers his options re his inherited land, and contemplates what to do with the new information he has about Joanie.

I had seen the movie and couldn’t help but see George Clooney and the other actors in my mind. The book is better than the movie, as any character-driven work would be. It’s a fine debut novel. I would read another work by Hemmings.
( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
As his wife lay dying in a hospital bed, Matt King must come to terms with her betrayal and raising their two troubled daughters on his own. This book reads like a memoir, revealing all of his feelings of inadequacy as a husband and father, his anger towards his wife and her lover, and his love and forgiveness in then end.
I saw the film adaptation before reading this book and found them both well done. Matt King comes across as relatable and sympathetic. I still dislike the character of Joanie King. Scottie King is a hoot! Thoroughly enjoyable. ( )
  bouldermimi | Jan 13, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812982959, Paperback)

Now a major motion picture starring George Clooney and directed by Alexander Payne

Fortunes have changed for the King family, descendants of Hawaiian royalty and one of the state’s largest landowners. Matthew King’s daughters—Scottie, a feisty ten-year-old, and Alex, a seventeen-year-old recovering drug addict—are out of control, and their charismatic, thrill-seeking mother, Joanie, lies in a coma after a boat-racing accident. She will soon be taken off life support. As Matt gathers his wife’s friends and family to say their final goodbyes, a difficult situation is made worse by the sudden discovery that there’s one person who hasn’t been told: the man with whom Joanie had been having an affair. Forced to examine what they owe not only to the living but to the dead, Matt, Scottie, and Alex take to the road to find Joanie’s lover, on a memorable journey that leads to unforeseen humor, growth, and profound revelations.

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(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:16 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A descendant of royalty and one of the largest landowners in Hawaii, Matthew King struggles to deal with his out-of-control daughters--ten-year-old Scottie and seventeen-year-old Alex--as well as his comatose wife, whom they are about to remove from life support.… (more)

» see all 7 descriptions

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