Regular price: $18.17

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

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
  • 5 Stars
    473
  • 4 Stars
    485
  • 3 Stars
    223
  • 2 Stars
    42
  • 1 Stars
    28

Performance

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    509
  • 4 Stars
    409
  • 3 Stars
    137
  • 2 Stars
    27
  • 1 Stars
    17

Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    448
  • 4 Stars
    388
  • 3 Stars
    196
  • 2 Stars
    40
  • 1 Stars
    30
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Take a chance!

When this movie came out, I didn't think it looked very interesting. Then I came across the novel here in Audible. I had it on my wish list for a very long time, before taking the plunge and spending a credit. I am so happy that I did, because this far exceeded my expectations! I still haven't seen the movie, but I'm definitely going to look for it, as I enjoyed the book so much.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Tension in Hawaii

Would you listen to The Descendants again? Why?

I would listen to it again if enough time passed after the first time. It was an interesting story.

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favorite character was the daughter's boyfriend. He started out as a jerk and as you got to know him, it changed your opinion. He really was a help to the entire family without really trying to be.

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

No, I have not

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

Following the roots of family

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed this book and I intend to recommend it to my book club. Thanks for the chance to talk about it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

An enjoyable read

Would you listen to The Descendants again? Why?

No once was enough for this one.

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

The confrontation with the "other man".

What does Jonathan Davis bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Great listen.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

waiting for my wife to die

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Patti
  • Chittenango, NY, United States
  • 08-04-13

Of Course, Better Than The Movie

This was interesting to listen to, even after having seen the movie. (Did I hear George Clooney being on a T-Shirt or something in the book?) Reading this one really gets all the nuances not portrayed in the movie.

I love the fact that this is written from the man's perspective. First, it is usually the man having the affair, not the reverse. It is also not surprising that the father is really clueless about what is really going on with his children, no less his daughters; but the mother is as well in this story. And so we hear what he is thinking about; his dawning recognition of how his wife has mishandled not only their marriage but also raising their children.

The narration was not demanding and therefore, fine. There is nothing spectacular about the performance, but it certainly was done without problems.

Even if you have seen the movie, but especially if you haven't, this is a great tale about families. The good parts, and the bad. Very enjoyable book.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

How did this make such a good movie?

There's something sadly missing here. The movie was sad, clunky and kind of neat because it contrasted so well with the outward lives of these people.You could feel the limits and the lacks in them.

It's really easy to hate the mean girl qualities in the adults as well as the children. And some how, without George Cluny's eyes, much harder to forgive.

I may or may not finish this book. So far, I want to do vile things to these very unredeemed and unredeemable brats in paradise.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Carol
  • Johnstown, PA, United States
  • 06-07-12

Just ok.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I don't think so. The charcters were not very compelling.

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

I really didn't grow to like the mother, around whom the plot revolved.

Which character – as performed by Jonathan Davis – was your favorite?

The father.

Did The Descendants inspire you to do anything?

No.

Any additional comments?

Disappointing.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

This was made into a movie??? REALLY???

I didn't know much about the story line before I read this book, because I wanted to be surprised. I knew it was about a Father's relationship with his children, and that something happened to the wife. I also knew it was made into a movie with George Clooney, so I expected a really good story. NOT!

I came away with a great sense of sadness, wondering why anyone would even write a book about watching somebody die. I've done that, and it's NOT fun!!!

I don't think the story really told anything serious about being a Hawaiian Descendent, other than the desire to preserve the State. Kudos for that.

The growing/bonding experience between the Father and his children could have been stimulated by anything and I think it would have been better. Yes, that part was funny and meaningful.

I could go on... but I won't. I will NOT recommend the book; and I can only hope the writers REWROTE THE STORY for the movie. There are way too many GOOD stories out there, without going here!

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

It was ok

It was ok, I have listened to books that I enjoyed more. The story was easy to follow.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

enjoyed this.

it was funny and moving. as a mother of teenaged girls I could relate to it. the only odd part was the final interaction with Julie, but I won't give away the details. I recommend it.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Beautiful and Relatable

This was one of Audible's "Sounds of Setting" picks, I absolutely loved it.

The dysfunctional family dynamic felt so real, the children didn't feel forced or trite, which can so easily be the case, especially when writing about teenage girls and children as young as 10. The continuing theme of ancestry and heritage tied in beautifully with the story theme. It was just an entertaining, deep, emotional, great listen.