Saturday, January 4, 2014

Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

Book summary(via Goodreads):
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. 
This insomniac's opinion:
This was January's pick of the month for my book club. Before it was chosen to be a book club pick, I had never even heard of it. I'm so glad it was chosen as I am not sure that I would've found it on my own.
Rachel, the protagonist in this novel, is an incredibly strong girl who becomes ill and is sent to a leprosy settlement to live amongst fellow lepers and be segregated from her family and friends for the rest of her life. The novel follows Rachel from childhood to her death. If you just read the dry facts of Rachel's life, you may feel badly for her and think of what a sad, loveless life she lead. However, Rachel finds herself and her strength on the island and develops a web of friendships so strong that they become her family. The author also does a wonderful job of weaving in Hawaiian and US history regarding the time period. Truly evocative and wonderful novel full of well-fleshed out and inspiring characters.
Worth staying up all night to read?
Yes! Wonderful read!
I vaccilated between 4 and 5 stars, but did decide on 4 stars, due to a couple of slow parts. However, this is a solidly wonderful novel and well worth the read!

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