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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.4 out of 5
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  • Loved it!

    Very beautifully written story that spans the life of a Hawaiian girl who contracts Hansen's disease (leprosy). I shed a few tears in some spots but it was well worth it.

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    2 person found this review helpful

    2 people found this review helpful

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  • Beautiful Story of Human Resilience

    I thought about reading this a while ago, but the reviews I saw either hated or loved it. I was undecided until NetGalley made Daughter of Moloka’i, the second book, available. I like reading them close together as it makes the story more cohesive, and I was in the mood for something completely different. Moloka’i can stand on it’s own as the ending doesn’t leave you hanging until the next book. Brennert’s book begins in Honolulu, where we are introduced to the main character, Rachel Kalama, as a free-spirited child of seven years old. Rachel contracts leprosy (now known as Hansen’s disease) and is wrenched from her family and sent to live at Kalaupapa, the quarantined leprosy settlement on the island of Moloka’i. The tale of Rachel’s life, from childhood through coming of age, marriage and triumphing over the disease in her 60’s, is full of emotion. This is a roller coaster of a ride, with happiness and joy marred by heartbreak. This book will pull at your heartstrings, but in the end it will warm your heart with a story rich with characters that highlight the resilience of the human spirit. As for Kalaupapa, I still haven’t decided if it was good, bad or in between. No, I don’t believe in imprisoning people for diseases or putting them in internment camps based on ethnicity. Yes, it felt so wrong to just dump people there, which is literally what happened at its inception. Over the years it became a little better, certainly not an ideal situation. But while reading you keep wondering if Kalaupapa did in some way afford a chance at normalcy that living elsewhere would not have, based on the time and place this book is set. The reality is that Hansen’s was not curable, and much about the disease was a mystery. The unknown plays on people’s fears, and what would life have been like? Years after Hansen’s was considered treatable and known to not be spread by casual contact, those who obviously had Hansen’s based on their disfigurement were still living in exile among people. I can’t imagine how hard it was to find a home to live in, a job to go every day, neighbors to interact with, or strangers who didn’t hold you in contempt. How do you live a normal life when people are afraid to be near you, shun and ostracize you, yell at you that you are unclean, who think you are a vile presence? Or is it better to find peace where you can? The writing style is simplistic, but in a good way. There isn’t a lot of flowery prose, just raw emotion that is clearly conveyed. The characters of Rachel’s ohana are well-developed, and rich in qualities such as love, courage, humor, kindness and resilience in the face of tragedy. I will leave you with my favorite quote from the book: “God didn’t give man wings; He gave him the brain and the spirit to give himself wings. Just as He gave us the capacity to laugh when we hurt, or to struggle on when we feel like giving up.” candysplanet.wordpress.com

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    2 person found this review helpful

    2 people found this review helpful

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The stigma of leprosy

    "Moloka'i provides an insight into how Hawaiian lepers were treated from mid-19th to mid-20th century. If discovered to have the disease, adults, even children, were shipped out to the island of Moloka'i to live out their lives as outcasts. The story follows a young girl into adulthood and her life on Moloka'i.

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    1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Love. This. Book.

    This is such a great story. It is so well-written and the characters are so engaging. I couldn't put it down. Read this book!

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    1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Moloka'i

    Great read! I learned so much about a place I didn't know existed. The main characters life was chronicled in such an amazing fashion that I felt like I knew this character and became emotionally bound to her. I highly recommend d this book.

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    1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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