Most helpful critical review
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Bad book by a good author
on October 1, 2001
I agree wholeheartedly with the reader from SF who dissed Walker for his feeble attempt at using pidgin; his dozens of inaccurate "facts" about the Islands and I would add, although there are racial problems here and the Sovereignty movement is strong, it just doesn't work the way Walker has it. There is no major daily Hawaiian language newspaper, for instance. And he has part of the tension between the races as being because all the cops are white! Come to Honolulu and see for your self, and this includes the brass. Mayors, government officals, etc. are represented by every race. Every governor we've had since Arioshyi (1980s) has been non-white, etc., etc.
The story itself is ok, not one of his best, but decent. As a 20-year resident of the Islands, the book was ruined for me by his complete misunderstanding of the culture. There are no chiefs on Molokai; I lived 12 years there and it is nothing like the way Walker portrays it, other than it is largely rural. Likewise the way he describes Kahoolawe; to some extent (the Hawaiians only part) he has it confused Niihau and the rest is just made up. The people of Kahoolawe are those who fly over daily to continue picking up ordincance the government left when Kahoolawe was the Target Island.
And his use of pidgin! Forget it, it's like he just looked up this rich subculture's language and tried copying it out of a dictionary, with no understanding of idioms, etc. Enough already, but if a writer is going to tackle a culture he doesn't understand, he/she had better do their homework!