Yes. This book, and the people who populate it, are complex and not just characatures - from the nun who struggles with her faith and resists her calling, to the people who populate Moloka'i itself, to the government officials who say one thing and do another.
As other reviewers have said, the narration was ok (accents were great, but narrative pacing too slow). There were portions, particularly in the middle of the book, that could have been shortened. But for a debut novelist, Brennert did a remarkable job here!
Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps a shorter one. A book the length of Moloka'i seemed to exhaust her... I got about 3/4 of the way through it and just had to read it in print.
A Family of Exiles
I am an English teacher in China and can now read and write some Chinese.I have been to 13 countries on 4 continents.I am an avid audiophile
One of my all time favorite listens and the story turns out to be fictional.The heroine is shipped off to Molokai at a young age.Stripped from her family because of a misunderstood disease.She lives were here uncle and is taken by the Catholic church for a time.She meets a young Japanese leper and they get married.He dies tragically before they are given a clearance to go back to Oahu to reconnect with family for a time.She has a baby that is taken from her with this young man.Much later in life she leaves the island in search of family and child and takes a job on Oahu,where she is again single out by an ignorant public at her convenience store job.She flies to California to meet her grown daughter and her grandchildren after having endured a lifetime of losses.Lepers usually have shorter life spans.A life that seemed like it should have been empty was actually quite full with relationships and the lull of surfing.I discovered as well that Hawaii didn't really want to be a part of the U.S.I had visited there in 2003 and felt it had a unique flavor.All island people are welcoming,but the western man comes along and wants to colonize them for military purposes.We foisted our religion on them and destroyed many parts of their unique culture.Furthermore,they weren't as resistant to diseases as we were,so maybe we created this mess with our conquest.
I purchased this book because I love all things Hawaiian and to be honest, did not have any real expectations except for a history lesson. Once I started listening, I couldn't put it down. While clearly written as fictional, there was a considerable amount of research into the leper colony of Moloka'i. The story wonderfully weaves the story of fictional characters into what it must have been like for the lepers in reality. The story is heartbreaking yet uplifting.To hear of the trauma the residents endured and in turn how they over came the hardship and made a life for themselves. This book is definitely worth the credit.
The history of Hawaii is interesting and I enjoyed the reader's pronunciation of Hawaiian words, but the author makes anything bad that could happen to this girl happen. The unabridged version (17 hours!!) just drags out the depressing story even longer. I listened to it through the end, but my fellow Metro riders probably wondered why I had tears in my eyes most mornings.
I thought she did a good job and I enjoyed her Hawaiian accent.
I have always wanted to go to Moloka'i because it is still relatively untouched (primarily because it was a leper colony) and that's still a goal.
I don't see what all the fuss is about....neither did the members of my book club. While the story was interesting, I thought the writing was terrible. As the only person in book club listening to the book I was able to share that the narrator of this book made the male characters, especially the father, sound just like Yogi Bear. Everytime he said "Hello baby girl" I had to giggle.
I would not recommend this book. I know it shows up on many lists as a suggestion for book clubs but the prevailing opinion in my group was negative.
Love the book and story. The listener gets a great education on the historical leper colony and the treatment and condidions of its residents. However, the narrator reads the book too slowly, which makes the book seem more appropriate for children and leaves me often focusing on the speed of narration.
This book had such promise to explore the ideas of disease, image, fear and beauty, not to mention the richness of living on a tropical island, but the characters and writing felt one dimensional for me. So much so, that I read three quarters and did not finish the book. The narrator was excellent, but could not save the writing for me.
I loved this book in the audio form. The hard copy version would have been hard for me with all the Hawaiian names. Anne Noelani Miyamoto had no trouble, and made it easy for me as the listener. I loved the Hawaiian inflection in her voice.
The story was epic and, although the story could have ended at many points along the way, I was happy that it continued.
Wonderful historic tale of love, life, heart wrenching losses, and love again.
The narrator did such a great job. She was great voicing both guys and girls, and gave Hawaiian and Japanese names an authentic sound. Her accent when she spoke as Hawaiian/Asian characters was fantastic. It reminded me of my aunt.
I felt at times that the book was a bit long. I enjoyed the beginning and parts of the middle, but then started wondering what else could happen. But then the last part of the novel came. I was crying so often -- so moving.