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Friday, February 15, 2019

FLASHBACK FRIDAY- Moloka'i by Alan Brennert - Feature and Review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

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.


READ AN EXCERPT:





MY REVIEW:




Moloka'i (Moloka'i #1)Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Moloka'i by Alan Brennert is a 2004 St. Martin’s Griffin publication. (I read the 2011 Kindle version.)

I know what you're thinking. ‘You haven’t read this book yet?’

Over the years, this book has been recommended to me on more than one occasion, but I just never felt an urgent pull towards it. So, here we are in 2019 and I am just now getting around to reading it.

Although, to be honest, it was the invitation to read the follow up to this book, that gave me the added incentive to work this one into my reading schedule. Now that I have read it, I understand the incredulity of my friends who couldn’t believe hadn't read it before now.

What an incredible story!

I must confess, I knew next to nothing about this period in history. Naturally, since it has a basis in fact, I had to do a little research on it. It is worth noting, that as far I know, there are still a handful of people living in Moloka'i, and will be free to remain there the rest of their lives if they wish, as they may not feel comfortable leaving for various reasons, including the disfiguring aspects of leprosy. Still the whole scenario boggles my mind.

Since so many people have read this book, I don’t suppose anyone needs me to give them a recap of the plot. However, my personal experience with this book was one of shock, sadness, and sympathy for those incarcerated after contracting leprosy.

At the same time, this is also a story of resilience, faith, and hope. Rachel is a character I will not forget anytime soon. Her strength and approach to her unrelenting series of disappointments and losses, is truly inspirational. She took the life she was handed and made the best of it.

Of course, the book also reminds us of how terrified the general public was of leprosy, something we tend to forget in modern times. Those afflicted were obviously stigmatized, feared, and cast out. The method of quarantine was humane, but still felt as though the victim was being punished, forcing an incarceration on them as though they had broken the law. Many years later, a combination of antibiotics effectively controlled the disease, allowing those diagnosed with it to live normal lives again. In more recent times, AIDS prompted the same sort of hysteria and reactions based on fear and bias. It was hard not to make those comparisons, while reading this book, which does help to put Rachel’s plight in context.

Although I did find the writing languid at times, requiring me to refocus a time or two, this story is beautiful, powerful, and has lingered with me for days now. I do regret waiting this long to read this lovely story, so I won’t make the same mistake with the follow up. I’m looking forward to reading Ruth’s story now more than ever.


GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Molokai-Novel-Alan-Brennert-ebook/dp/B002H8ORMU/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/molokai-alan-brennert/1100338941

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Alan Brennert is the author of the historical novels Palisades ParkHonolulu (chosen one of the best books of 2009 by The Washington Post), and Moloka'i, which won the 2006 Bookies Award, sponsored by the Contra Costa Library, for the Book Club Book of the Year (and has sold over 600,000 copies since publication). It was also a 2012 One Book, One San Diego selection. He has won an Emmy Award and a People's Choice Award for his work as a writer-producer on the television series L.A. Law, and his short story "Ma Qui" was honored with a Nebula Award. His new novel, Daughter of Moloka'i, will be published by St. Martin's Press on February 19, 2019. Follow him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/alan.brennert.

http://us.macmillan.com/palisadespark...
 

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