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The Descendants | [Kaui Hart Hemmings]

The Descendants

Matthew King was once considered one of the most fortunate men in Hawaii. His missionary ancestors who came to the islands were financially and culturally progressive - one even married a Hawaiian princess, making Matt a royal descendant and one of the state’s largest landowners. But now his luck has changed. His two daughters are out of control - 10-year-old Scottie has a smart-ass attitude and a desperate need for attention and 17-year-old Alex is a recovering drug addict.
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Publisher's Summary

Now a major motion picture starring George Clooney!

Matthew King was once considered one of the most fortunate men in Hawaii. His missionary ancestors who came to the islands were financially and culturally progressive - one even married a Hawaiian princess, making Matt a royal descendant and one of the state’s largest landowners. But now his luck has changed. His two daughters are out of control - 10-year-old Scottie has a smart-ass attitude and a desperate need for attention and 17-year-old Alex, a former model, is a recovering drug addict. His thrill-seeking and high-maintenance wife, Joanie, lies in a coma after a boat racing accident, and will soon be taken off life support.

The King family can hardly picture life without their charismatic mother, but as they come to terms with this tragedy, their sadness is mixed with a sense of freedom that shames them - and spurs them into surprising actions.

©2007 Kaui Hart Hemmings. All rights reserved. (P)2010 BBC America Audiobooks

What the Critics Say

"Matt's journey with his girls forms the emotional core of this sharply observed, frequently hilarious and intermittently heartbreaking look at a well-meaning but confused father trying to hold together his unconventional family." (Publishers Weekly)

"[An] audaciously comic début novel.... Hemmings channels the voice of her befuddled middle-aged hero with virtuosity, as he teeters between acerbic and sentimental, scoffing at himself even as he grasps for redemption." (The New Yorker)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (935 )
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4.1 (818 )
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4.2 (815 )
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Performance
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  •  
    tastas 01-22-14
    tastas 01-22-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Satisfying"
    What did you love best about The Descendants?

    Everything. The characters are flawed and interesting. I don't know that I would be friends with any of them but I enjoyed their story.


    What other book might you compare The Descendants to and why?

    None that I can think of.


    Have you listened to any of Jonathan Davis’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but I look forward to hearing more from him.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Descendants and why?

    Probably Matt King.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michele Idledale, CO, United States 04-01-13
    Michele Idledale, CO, United States 04-01-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "MOVIE WAS WAY BETTER"
    What did you like best about The Descendants? What did you like least?

    I am a born and raise haole "Hawaiian" with family that has similar land situations...so I loved the story and have a distant connection to the author...The movie was wonderful... especially.. George!!! However the narrator turned me off with his poor pronunciation of the Hawaiian language...even the simplest words.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Jonathan Davis?

    Some one who knows the islands and the language...with a connection.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia A. Cross Cortland, NY, US 03-01-13
    Patricia A. Cross Cortland, NY, US 03-01-13
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    "Did not know what to expect"

    I mentally pictured George Cloonie during this entire book. That raised the enjoyment level quite high.
    The story was limited, but the book was enjoyable and simple. Characters were predictable but charming. If you need a pleasant read....Hawaii setting did not hurt.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C COCKEYSVILLE, MD, United States 10-01-12
    C COCKEYSVILLE, MD, United States 10-01-12
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    "Great Story!"
    If you could sum up The Descendants in three words, what would they be?

    Family is first.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Descendants?

    The older daughter's boyfriend sneaking behind the father's back to help give him justice for his wife's lover's infidelity.


    Have you listened to any of Jonathan Davis’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    If you could rename The Descendants, what would you call it?

    Goodbye Mom.


    Any additional comments?

    Enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barb 09-27-12
    Barb 09-27-12

    Greater Seattle area real estate broker that loves to read...or listen.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Performance
    Story
    "Depressing"
    Would you try another book from Kaui Hart Hemmings and/or Jonathan Davis?

    I would try another book, as it is written and performed well.


    What could Kaui Hart Hemmings have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Not written it! It's a downer!


    What about Jonathan Davis’s performance did you like?

    Did the best he could!


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Not really. The movie's saving grace was George Clooney, or it would have been as bad.


    Any additional comments?

    If you're trying to be depressed...read it.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Keisha 03-12-12
    Keisha 03-12-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "self reflection"

    Really great book. It's like looking up one day at your current state in life. Really taking stock of who you are, what you've become, what you've allowed to become and then trying to slowly begin to right the wrongs so that you ultimately end up in a place that's better than you even knew existed. However you had to loose something significant in the process.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Monica 06-11-12
    Monica 06-11-12 Member Since 2005
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    "Narrator didn't do homework; New story"

    Interesting story and one that I have never heard before. But I had two complaints:
    1) Unfortunately, the narrator did not do his homework. His pronunciation of words commonly used in Hawai'i was poor. He should have done his homework and asked people who say Hawaiian words and local words how to pronounce them. Really, there's no excuse -- I can't believe he mispronounced poke (POH-keh) to name one of many mistakes.
    2) My personal preference would have been for the story to reflect Hawai'i more. This is my bias and not a fault of the book/author. I wanted more Hawai'i and culture of Hawaiians and the local people who live in Hawai'i. There wasn't enough for me.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Oneal California 01-22-14
    C. Oneal California 01-22-14 Member Since 2012

    I'm addicted to Audible. A new grandma I am responsible for my grandsons library, which reignited my interest in books.

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    "Not what I expected"

    Once I saw the cover I realized I'd seen the movie and was nervous about what I remembered about the movie. The book held no resemblance to what I thought I saw in the movie (though my memory may have failed me). I found the book realistic, well written and engaging.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna MENAHGA, MN, United States 04-17-12
    Donna MENAHGA, MN, United States 04-17-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Not what I expected"
    What did you like best about The Descendants? What did you like least?

    The narrator was fine. I just did not enjoy the story. I thought it would have more story of the descendants of Hawaii.


    What was most disappointing about Kaui Hart Hemmings’s story?

    I would have like it more if were a historical fiction-but it is a contemporary story.


    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-14-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "It was alright, nothing special"
    Would you try another book from Kaui Hart Hemmings and/or Jonathan Davis?

    Probably not. I didn't think this was particularly interesting. I didn't like how the story / internal monologue would hop around through time and in and out of the main characters mind, this made it hard to follow at times. The reader probably could have done a better job at differentiating the two, but maybe not. I thought the movie was actually better than the book.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Jonathan Davis?

    He is not my favorite reader, but not the worst either.


    Could you see The Descendants being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Yes, the movie is better than the novel in my opinion.


    Any additional comments?

    Only read it if you already like the author.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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