Friday, March 20, 2009

Book Review: Moloka'i by Alan Brennert


My book club, Chapter Chat, got together last night to discuss Alan Brennert's book Moloka'i. It was unanimous that we all really liked this book - a lot! That doesn't happen often. Most of the time, the books we read get mixed reviews. But, not Moloka'i. The thing that surprises me most about this book is that none of us had even heard of it before we chose it for book club. And, being that I work in a library, it's not as though I don't have my finger on the pulse of the book world. But, this book... nothing. Not a single review, no patrons asking for it, heck it hadn't even crossed my desk or shown up on a book cart. What the heck! I have a feeling the popularity of this book may grow in time. I think maybe we were just ahead of the pack. Oh yeah, that's me...living on the cutting edge.

Moloka'i tells the story of Rachel Kalama, a seven year old girl living in Honolulu in the early 1890's who is diagnosed with leprosy. She is taken away from her family and sent to live, in isolation, with other lepers on the island of Moloka'i. Once there, Rachel and the other residents are well treated and well-cared for. They are able to create full and happy lives for themselves, complete with excursions to the beach, dances, movie nights and a deep sense of family and home. Rachel even finds love and marries. Eventually, a cure for leprosy is found and the residents are given the option to leave Moloka'i and return to their former homes. For many this is a difficult decision to make, but Rachel decides to return to Honolulu to find the family that was stolen from her so long ago.

In spite of the depressing topic and the heartbreaking nature of Rachel's story, Moloka'i is filled with joy, love and courage. And the strength of the human spirit. Moloka'i is well worth reading.

12 comments:

Miss Eve said...

Thanks for stopping on my blog Pam! I hope you enjoy your weekend...love: Evi

My Big Fat Super Super Obese Blog said...

Ooooh, I'm going to like your blog :) Thanks for visiting from SITC. This sounds like the sort of book I'd enjoy. Have you read "Water for Elephants?" That's a great read too. I'm definitely adding Moloka'i to my list

Pam said...

Yes! Water for Elephants is one of my favorite books. It was actually the Reading Across RI book for 2008, so I was able to attend a May Breakfast at which the author came and spoke. It was wonderful. I hope you like Moloka'i. Let me know what you think after you get to it. (I LOVE the fact that you have a book list! I'm not alone in my book insanity!)

Debbie said...

I haven't even heard of this book! It sounds wonderful.

Nan said...

Moloka'i sounds great. I will put it on my fun read list for when my semester ends. For now, I am just digging into qualitative research for a course. Can't wait until May! I too loved Water for Elephants.

Pam said...

Debbie - I know. It's amazing that more people haven't heard of this book. And it is wonderful.

Nan - Wow! Qualitative research sounds like a light and fluffy course. LOL! Well, hopefully when you finish with that you'll have time to read something just for fun! Water for Elephants was fabulous. Have you read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan? Another great read!

Ruby said...

I hadn't heard of this book either, but from your review it definately seems to be a book that I'd enjoy reading. I will have to add it to the list :o)

Pam said...

Ruby, you have a book list, too! I'm feeling less and less crazy all the time!

Julie said...

Sounds great...I'm always looking for new books to read. I'll put this on my list!

Oz Girl said...

Sounds inspiring, I'll have to make a note of it and read it!

Pam said...

Julie and Oz Girl - come back and let me know what you thought (whenever Moloka'i makes it to the top of your list!)

Lucky Wife/Bookaholic said...

Oh I can't wait to read this...

 

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