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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

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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  • Story

I love it so so much

narrator is amazing story is amazing I've read it 3 times. correction I have listened to it 3 times. I recommend it to every single person ever.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Rhonda
  • BLOOMFIELD, CT, United States
  • 02-10-17

Great book

This was heartfelt and amusing. Funny where it needed to be and profound and thought provoking as well. Great book. I often times, go back and listen to it over again. It never loses its charm.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Hawaii and it's history

Would you consider the audio edition of The Descendants to be better than the print version?

Do not know, haven't read the print version.

What about Jonathan Davis’s performance did you like?

His tone and his exuberance.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

All books I want to listen to in one sitting, so, I guess that yes would be my answer.

Any additional comments?

Good book with every emotion known to us throughout its pages. To learn about this family with its trials and tribulations, its loves and losses, brought you into their world and made you smile, laugh, cry, and care. The way he dealt with his personal issues was truly awe inspiring and how he tried and succeeded in his understanding of the people who came into their lives for whatever reason was what each of us should strive for in our own dealings with others.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Blake
  • Colorado Springs, CO
  • 05-04-15

Beautifully written!

Any additional comments?

This book is incredibly well written! It is the deep, real, and hearfelt account of a man's journey through all of the changes, thoughts, and feelings surrounding his wife's coma. It definitely has a sad/melancholy tone, however, and you should listen to it in pieces if you are at all susceptible to depression. I listened to it for several hours straight one day and loved it, but found I was in a bit of a funk for a bit afterwards. Lol. That said, the story remains full of hope and promise for the future of the main character and his daughters as they move forward as a family.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Narrator sounds like George Clooney!

I really enjoyed this book. All of the characters helped drive the story. It has many layers, losing a parent, realizing they aren't perfect, mixed feelings with the grief process. It is much better than the movie. In the book the reader understands and sympathizes with each characters behavior

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Off beat story about family

What did you love best about The Descendants?

It was essentially a story about the bond of family, but told in an unconventional way to show how a family can evolve and grow stronger even in the face of conflict and tragedy. The story is told well, the themes are subtly revealed through truly endearing characters.

Who was your favorite character and why?

It wasn't so much one character but the combination of the father and his two daughters.

Any additional comments?

The plot was certainly interesting but it was the characters that brought this story to life. The author really takes you through the mind of a father as he juggles many complex emotions, and most are not easy. Yet somehow through everything that happens, his story is not tragic at all--listening to the story is a heart warming experience, not a sad one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Even better than the movie!

If you could sum up The Descendants in three words, what would they be?

Touching, Powerful, Humorous

What did you like best about this story?

The emotions it evokes in the reader as you go along on this journey.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great Treatment of a Difficult Subject

This story provides a touching glimpse into love, loss and responsibility. Matt King is the scion of old Hawaii money, it it appears that he has it all: a lovely wife, two daughters, a career, and the decision making power over a prime piece of Kauai'i real estate. But then he doesn't have it all: The wife has a disastrous accident, the daughters are troubled, and the responsibility of the decision seems to be coming at a difficult time for him personally. The narrator's tone is perfect, and captures the sense of the main character's emotional muddle. I had seen the movie, and started to skip the book, but while the movie is very faithful to the book, the book itself seems to suspend time while the family is living through its trauma.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Depressing and sad.

Overall this is a sad story and keeps getting more and more depressing. The lack of parenting skills attributed to the father made me cringe. Once again a father tries to be a friend instead of a parent. In real life this is a recipe for failure. What we come to learn about the mother is very disappointing as well. The only reason I didn't give it a lower rating is that oddly enough, a lot of this book was well written. Too bad the author didn't pick another subject.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Easy listening

I'm finding it hard to write a review without divulging the story. I can say that I think the narrator does a really good job. He appropriately voices with sensitivity and humor, and even the female voices sound natural.

That being said, this might be a case where the movie is more enjoyable than the audiobook. George Clooney - just saying!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful