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Kahala Paperback – April 1, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A new author with humor and quick wit...you can't help but feel you've met a kindred spirit. -- Sue Johnson, co-author of Grandloving: Making Memories with Your Generation

Many wonderful memories from my childhood came to life again after reading "Kahala". Hilarious and heartbreaking. -- Margaret Liter

Thank you for "Kahala", it opened a floodgate of memories. I laughed and cried. Laurie has done a great job. -- Maili Yardley, author of "Hawaii's Glamour Days"

About the Author

Laurie Ames Birnsteel is a graduate of Punahou School, Island of Oahu, and a graduate of the University of Louisville. In addition to Kahala, she is the author of "Sunspot: The Best Ever Astrological Guide To Your Dog", Cumberland House Publishing, 2002. She resides in Louisville, KY with her husband and several dogs. Their son resides in London.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: McKenna Publishing Group; 1st edition (April 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0971365911
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971365919
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,442,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I grew up in Honolulu, graduated from Punahou School in 1964 and the University of Louisville, Kentucky, four years later. Since then, I've worn a lot of hats. In the 1970s I helped start the YMCA's Shelter House for Runaways, which evolved into the YMCA's Safe Place Services. In the 1980s I was development director for an independent high school, then became interested in Kentucky's history and wrote a monthly newsletter for The Louisville Historical League.
I also became a realtor, learned astrology, wrote "Sunspot: The Best Ever Astrological Guide To Your Dog", took writing workshops and wrote "Kahala: Growing Up In Hawaii." Since then, I've written another book but decided to shelve it for fear of offending family.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Michelaneous by Michele on May 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is well written, lyrical and descriptive. I enjoyed it very much. I think it took a great deal of courage to write, as it's got a real "Mommie Dearest" feel to it. "An unconventional mother in a very conventional time," is a euphemism to say the least.
Her mother is a tough character to love and I spent most of the book feeling sorry for the author and her siblings. From the moment I read the mother left her 4 and 7-year-old children in a hotel room in Maui over night, I was outraged. Sensing the author's resentment toward her mother from the onset, I kept looking for rage! She paints a watercolor portrait of a Picasso-like subject and I tore through the book looking for FEELING. By telling the story through the eyes of a child, it's obedience, respect and naivete that come through. At last, I found rage in the last part of the book--but even it was expressed through a curtain of deep respect.
In spite of an alcoholic philandering mother, who withholds seemingly unforgiveable truths, the author manages to forgive her and is triumphant in the end. Meanwhile, it's a nice trip to the islands with vivid descriptions and an insider's view we tourists don't get to see.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Laurie A. Birnsteel on May 21, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Laurie Ames '64 Birnsteel introduces her book with the following: "Kahala is a true story recreated through the use of Mother's day-to-day diaries. When I wrote the first draft, I thought it was about her. When I finished, I realized it was about me and my life with her and without her."
Because I am a long-time friend of the Ames family, Laurie sent me the manuscript. I was fascinated with her honesty in telling an incredible story. I admired her frankness, her truth which must have hurt at times, her keen sense of humor, and her excellent style of writing.
Laurie has captured the carefree life in the Islands, beginning in 1948 when rambling houses along Kahala had lawns that reached from ocean to avenue, and rowboats or canoes were anchored off shore or beached. The kids from Black Point to beyond the old Waialae Golf Course and clubhouse ran wild in the alleys and through neighboring yards. They knew every nook and cranny in the reef where torch fisherman walked at night.
Laurie takes us through her years at Punahou, beginning with the abandoned Quonset huts left by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who literally took over the school at the onset of World War II. She shares with us the friendships formed at Bishop Hall and Rice Hall; ballet classes with Jo Flanders; the agonies of Dan Wallace's dancing classes at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel; ti leaf sliding on Tantalus; her first love; then college, marriage, and her move to Kentucky where she lives with her husband and son.
Her story will bring back memories of those golden years in Hawaii.
Read more ›
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Diana D. Jardine on May 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
I couldn't put this book down.It is a tiny time capsule of a special place told from the heart, and with honesty.It will take you back to the good old days on the beach in Kahala. Meet the Ames family and you will love them all.I do.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Madge Walls on April 10, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Kahala" is a compelling trip down memory lane for those who grew up in Honolulu during the 50s and 60s. Who knew what desperate lives were lived behind the closed doors of those glamorous Kahala Avenue beachside homes while on the outside everything was soft breezes, warm sand and soothing waves along the shore? Laurie awakened so many memories for me that I was awash in them, especially the hot, dusty days at Town and Country Riding Academy with our pack of horse-crazy "stable kids" who rode unfettered and unsaddled in Kapiolani Park. Even if you grew up in Manhattan, Kansas or Manhattan, New York, you'll enjoy this tale of a youngest child who wants nothing more than her mother's love and attention and, despite her prodigious and creative efforts, never quite achieves it. In spite of her mother's disinterest and downright negligence, Laurie never stops loving her. A fine testament to a child's unswerving devotion, told with humor and affection. I loved this book.
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By KS Wilson on March 4, 2015
Format: Paperback
If you have a story to tell about your growing up years, no matter where you grew up, Kahala will surely strike a chord. This book was a page-turner and the author shifted topics seamlessly, never losing the attention of readers. I've been an avid reader my entire life and consider myself to be a good judge of literature. This striking memoir deserves the award it recently received -- the 2014 Independent Publisher Gold Medal Book Award (IPPY) for Best Regional E Book – West of the Mississippi (Including Australia and New Zealand). Award-winners were chosen from over 5,600 total entries, and come from 45 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia, five Canadian provinces, and ten countries overseas. This alone attests that this is a MUST READ book. It was and shall remain one of my favorites. Buy a hard copy - you will want to share it with good friends, and keep it in your library of books that you can touch and feel. This book should be made into a movie.
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