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Freckled

A Memoir of Growing Up Wild in Hawaii
Narrated by: Sara Malia Hatfield
Length: 12 hrs and 6 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

For fans of The Glass Castle and Educated comes mystery author Toby Neal’s personal story of surviving a wild childhood in paradise.

We never call it homeless. We're just "camping" in the jungle on Kauai....

We live in a place everyone calls paradise. Sure, Kauai’s beautiful, with empty beaches, drip-castle mountains, and perfect surf...but we’ve been "camping" for six months, eating boiled chicken feed for breakfast, and wearing camouflage clothes so no one sees us trespassing in our jungle hideout. The cockroaches leave rainbow colors all over everything from eating the crayons we left outside the tent, and now a tractor is coming to scrape our camp into the river.

Standing in front of the tent in my nightgown, clinging to my sister as we face the tractor, I know my own truth: I just want to be normal.

But Mom and Pop are addicted.
Addicted to Kauai’s beauty, to drugs, to surfing, to living a life according to their own rules out from under their high-achieving parents’ judgmental eyes. I’m just their red-headed, mouthy, oldest kid. What I want doesn’t matter.

But I’m smart. I will make a different life for myself someday if I keep up my grades no matter what happens.
No matter how often we run out of food.
No matter how many times I change schools...or don’t go to school at all.
No matter how many bullies beat me up for the color of my skin.

©2018 Toby Neal 2018 (P)2019 Audible, Inc.

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Zero to Hero

This book, for the first few chapters, was a difficult listen because of the abuse and neglect levied on the children by parents too consumed by surfing and marijuana. I almost stopped midway because I was upset at the parents’ selfishness. But by then, I had taken a deep interest and concern in Toby’s growth and development in her abusive home and growing up in Kauai. I admire her strength and grit. I’m not a haole, but I remember some of the cruelty of the locals to haole children.

I recommend this book, especially having grown up mostly in Hawaii, because it helps me to see and sympathize with the unique challenges of growing up in Hawaii with fair skin. I recommend this book because of Toby’s triumphs in spite of the immense odds she faced. Lastly, I recommend this book because the reader tells the story from a connected, personal level with empathy running deep. And that was another huge reason I kept listening when I wanted to stop halfway through. She told Toby’s story, not just read the book.

Congrats to both author and reader on a job well done.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great story and great narrator

This narrator and writer brought the beauty of Hawaii and the struggles of her youth growing up to hippie surfers who battled addiction.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Can't say enough good things about it

Wonderful, wonderful book. Memoir that stirred me down to my very soul. The reading performance by Sara Malia Hatfield was the best I've ever heard in an audiobook and made the experience so rich.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great book, well written & wonderful narration

Loved it!
What a Rollercoaster of a childhood, so descriptive. Loved the short story/chapter layout. couldn't wait to get back to listening...
The narrator Sara did an amazing job of bringing the story to life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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So Many Feels!!!

I loved reading Freckled, what a great story but I loved listening to it even more! The narrator did an amazing job with the voices. The dialogue was seamless and I found myself lingering in the car to hear more. Kudos! If you love the memoir genre and you love audio books you will not be disappointed!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • tammy
  • bremen, Gabon
  • 08-03-19

Please, please authors, hire good voice actors

This story started out interesting, kind of like Glass Castle, but the narrator's voice was not only bad, it was horrible!!!
It sounded like she was very stoned most of the time and when she was impersonating male voices, it was downright creepy.
Pass, please.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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There should be a warning about the childhood abuse in chapter 1!!

There should be a warning before we, as readers, begin to digest this book. Immediately, Chapter 1 exposes us to this little freckled girl (which the author has already endeared us to) getting dragged violently to her room by her ponytail by her“Pops.”He then proceeds to put her over his knee, lift her “white cotton’ dress and beat the hell out of her behind! He doesn’t stop until she screams. He then lifts her up and throws her across her bed where she bashes her head on the wall. Oh my god!!!
As a grown adult who suffered through similar circumstances, these scenes are beyond violent and disturbing.
I’m ashamed of the writer for not giving us fair warning as to this level of violence inflicted on a little girl! And I don’t CARE that it reflects culture, or oppression or whatever literary manipulation is used to characterize the story!!! It is absolutely NOT acceptable to victimize us, as readers.
We deserve to be forewarned.
I returned this book before I finished chapter one.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful