Customer Review

58 of 62 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Struggle in Paradise, February 15, 2009
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Honolulu (Hardcover)
Alan Brennert's second novel, "Honolulu," continues to provide an entertaining history of the Hawaiian Islands, following his successful first novel, "Moloka'i." While "Moloka'i" had the entire plot line of the leper colony to fascinate readers, "Honolulu" surprises by focusing on the experiences of a Korean picture bride, named by her family, Regret.

Regret's childhood days in Korea and her relationship with a courtesan, who teaches her to read, are key to her character's desire to escape the drudgery of servitude expected of Korean girls.

Once she lands in Hawaii, she finds the streets are not paved with gold. She meets her new husband, endures horrors, and hardships, and continues undaunted to follow her dreams. She begins to use the name Jin.

Jin runs into a wide cast of real-life historical characters, but Brennert weaves them into his plot with emotion, and the reader comes away feeling enlightened as well as moved by the experiences. Hawaii, ever the land of immigrants, has not always been kind to newcomers. The strength of the locals, the growth of the "haole" thinking, and the ever-industrious spirit of the newcomers weave a charming, if sometimes overly expository, tale.

There are memorable lines throughout. My favorite is Jin's mother's explanation of grief: (Speaking of a quilt with black rectangles) "I added these on the day my mother died. . . There is no pattern to where I placed them, as there is no sense to be made of death. . .next to them the blues look bluer, the reds richer, the golds more brilliant. Withoutthem the cloth is pretty, but without character or contrast." Wisdom entwined in colorful language adds another reason to read this book.
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Initial post: Feb 28, 2013 1:07:49 PM PST
mjtl says:
That was a good review. Thank you.
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A Kid's Review