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cover
3.5 

Title: Moloka'i
Authors: Brennert, Alan
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 384
Year: 2003
ISBN-10(13): 9780312304355
Publisher: St Martin's Griffin
Language: English
Description: When Rachel Kalama is seven, she is discovered to have leprosy and is quarantined in a leprosy settlement on the Hawaiian island of Moloka'i. This is the story of her life; from the moment she is taken from her family (never to live with them again), to her eventual cure as an adult and beyond. Not only does it chronicle the experience of an isolated community celebrating life while over-shadowed by disease, but also the changes in the management of leprosy. Based on extensive research, it is an inspiring story revealing a fascinating period of early 20th Century history. What's Hot - August 2013


Comments from Groups:

Everyone loved it, couldn't put it down. Enjoyed the fictionalised writing about an important issue in history. Palmerston 019

We found it difficult to put down. It gave us an insight into Hawaiian history and the island of Moloka'i. We liked the 'realness' of each character in the story. Carterton 001

The discussion on [the book] and its subject was the best we've had for months! Lots of personal stories about similar subjects (TB, polio). New Plymouth 013

All enjoyed this beautifully written story. Found historical information very interesting. Christchurch 125

A unanimous "best sell" for our bookgroup.Alan Brennert had clearly studied his subject matter thoroughly and presented his novel in a manner that brought his characters to life. Palmerston North 2

Mixed feelings from the group. We thought he should maybe just have written the book as non-fiction. A number didn't finish it. Christchurch 360

A few of us were amazed that the book had been written by a man, as a woman's emotions were so well portrayed. Also by the fact that the author was a screen writer - when will we see a film? There was robust discussion about leprosy, and how long it took to find a cure. Auckland 016

Most members were pleased to have read this book, and to have learnt more about an era and disease they had little prior knowledge of. However, it was widely agreed that the writing style and continuous highs and lows of the linear plot were frustrating. Auckland 381

A great read. Heartbreaking situation in beautiful surroundings. Well drawn characters and interesting relationships. It made us all dip into current research on this terrible disease. We enjoyed the 'Get to Know the Author' and the 'Get to Know the History' sections at the back of the book. All agreed we would recommend this book to others. Hokitika 001

Generally, the book was found to be well-written, informative and well-paced. It was sobering rather than enjoyable however, and some saw it as overly graphic, overlong and sometimes contrived. We were all pleased that it had a happy ending! The discussion was rich, two of the group having visited a leper colony, and the questions prompted some good exchanges on, for example, whanau, fa'afafine and fear of the unknown. Tairua 001

We loved this book - average of 8/10. We were transported to Hawaii, and were moved by the main character Rachel. It was very educational about leprosy in those times. Taupo 007

The book was a popular choice! It was really interesting and gave us a good insight into the real lives that lepers lived in recent history. Well researched and an easy to read story. Queenstown 010

Everyone very much enjoyed the book, partly for the very interesting information about how leprosy was treated at the end of the 19th century, but also for the picture of the islands created by the author, and the warmth and colour of the characters. They came alive for us and added to the interest of the story....We all admired Rachel's strength of character and her resourcefulness, and were glad to follow the course of her life right through to the end. Katikati 001

Categories: Fiction, Community, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Historical, Medical/Health, Social commentary/perspectives, Tragedy/disaster, USA, What's Hot, Popular Book with Groups

Reviews

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By: CHCH 378 2018-12-10 12:02:47
5 
We all loved this book, so sad and descriptive that you felt you were living the story with them.

By: TAUR 018 2018-12-03 11:30:28
5 
All group members enjoyed the book, and were fascinated with the history and the background. We thought that all the characters were richly described, and were impressed with the research that went into the book and how the author referenced real life people - he was a great storyteller. Thoroughly recommended.

By: TEPUK 006 2018-12-03 11:27:32
3.5 
Unfortunately many group members did not finish the book. Most had read over half but were not grabbed by the story. Those who finished found it an interesting insight into recent Hawaiian history and leprosy. We all felt that Rachel was a vehicle through which the author could tell all his research, which made the story/writing laboured.

By: NEWP 003 2018-12-03 11:21:21
4 
Our group felt that the book gave an extremely interesting insight into the impact of leprosy on the natural population of Hawaii. We also had a good discussion on the US's pressure on the Hawaiian royal family and their demise at the hands of big business/ plantation owners with US support. But we felt there were too many sub-stories that didn't enrich the main narration and the ending was weakly drawn together and rather drawn out and unrealistic.

By: CHCH 312 2018-12-03 11:11:57
4.5 
We all enjoyed this book - maybe a little long at the end. Lively discussion about the historical contexts (eg. USA annexing Hawaii) and the traditional stories (links to Maui) and the Church/Nuns/Brothers. We enjoyed the rite of passage story and the stark reality of leprosy in the late 1800s and 1900s.

By: CHCH 316 2018-12-03 11:08:11
5 
Great book, beautifully written. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it, and we had a good discussion on a disease that still carries a lot of myth, fear and misconception.

By: AUCK 192 2018-12-03 10:33:59
4 
We enjoyed the story and the history - learnt a lot about Hansen's Disease and Hawaii. Many were not so keen on the writing style - quite a wooden style, however the story made for a great discussion.

By: ROTO 013 2018-11-30 14:56:31
4.5 
Slow to get into, but a well-written and amazing story. A bit long. We all learnt something; it's nice to read fiction based on historical events.

By: CHCH 336 2018-11-30 14:55:20
5 
We loved this book.

By: WHITBY 002 2018-11-28 15:00:07
5 
This book contained everything - a good story, great characters, a range of emotions and plenty of humour. Well-written and totally believable and authentic. A book that will stay with us for a long time.

By: WHANG 023 2018-05-31 16:25:11
3.5 
Most of us liked this book and were glad to have read it. Heartbreaking in places. Very well written and probably close historically to how things really were. A moving tale of a person's life. Recommended.

By: PARAPA 004 2018-04-16 13:16:27
3.5 
Created a lot of discussion due to the historical aspect and subject matter of leprosy. Few knew anything about this part of history and illness. Very interesting. Differing views on the writing style. Although the novel was essentially a chronicle of Rachel's life and contained a lot of sadness, there was enough triumph of the human spirit to keep readers going.

 
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