14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Breathtaking in its scope and humanity,
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This review is from: Moloka'i (Hardcover)
Wow, what a powerful story. If Oprah Winfrey's book club were still open to new novels then "Moloka'i" would rank right up there with "We Were the Mulvaneys" and "Bridges of Madison County". I could NOT put this book down - such is the story's "what happens next" factor! I read this book in a marathon, bleary-eyed two days -- something I haven't done since my mother gave me "Gone With The Wind" when I was 14 (reading under the covers late into the night with a flashlight!). Don't be put off by the fact that the primary antagonist in the story is the disease of leprosy: this is quickly relegated to the reader's subconscious as we become absorbed in the human drama of Rachel Kalama's life. Alan Brennert takes us back to Hawaii in the late 19th century and vividly recreates its unspoiled beauty. I was swept along with Rachel who, at the age of 7, is taken from her loving family and banished to the remote island of Moloka'i. Rachel finds her Uncle Pono (who preceded her there and is sadly the source of her own infection) and forges a new life with new friends in various stages of this devastating illness. As heartbreaking as her story is, it is also a story of hope, love, endurance and ultimately survival.