Written by Alan Brennert
Published St. Martin’s Press; First Edition edition (October 21, 2003)
Moloka’i is the story of Rachel Kalama, growing up in Honolulu in the 1890’s, who at the age of 7 is taken from her family and sent to Kalaupapa, the isolated leprosy settlement on the island of Moloka’i. Goodreads
This was a complete cover and title buy. I knew I wanted it before I even read what it was about. I was hooked from page one of this book and it tore me up. The story starts with Rachel who lives with her parents sister and 2 brothers on the island of Oahu. The story really gets going once Rachel is taken to the island of Kalaupapa. We get to watch Rachel grow up in this environment that is completely foreign to her and is basically set up as a place for these people to die. All round her people are in different stages of this horrible disease and most have essentially been abandoned by their family. Leprosy or the ma’i pake as they called it was something that would shame the entire family and so they would often cut off all contact from the person with it. Rachel is luckier than most because her father keeps in contact by letter and actually gets to visit a couple of times. The love Rachel’s father has for her is so clear and so beautiful. You can actually feel the pain he feels for his daughter. Even though this island is set up for people to die Rachel get’s to live this rich full life. We get to meet this group of wonderful characters that become Rachel’s friends and ultimately her family. The characters are the heart of the book but the story doesn’t suffer because of it. This is one of the best book I have read this year and Rachel one of my favorite characters ever. I can’t attest to the historical accuracy of the book as I don’t know much about what actually happened. I don’t know if I would feel differently about then book if I knew more about the events. I took this book as a work of fiction and as such I loved it.
Until Next Time