Moloka’i by Alan Brennert

September 24, 2011

Moloka'iMoloka’i by Alan Brennert

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A look into the somewhat shameful past of Hawaii and its treatment of residents who are infected with Hansen’s disease better known as leprosy. We follow Rachel Kalama from her early childhood in Honolulu who is then sent to Molokai when she is found out as a “leper”. The story also focuses on other figures in her life such as Sister Catherine who helps raise her, her husband Kenji and all of the other residents of Kalaupapa as well as historical events like the death of King Kalakaua, the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, and the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Very well researched and engaging as I followed Rachel throughout her life. I will admit I knew of leprosy but not a lot before reading this novel but Brennert does a great job of showing the different phases and incarnations of Hansen’s disease through his characters. Probably not something I would have picked up on my own even though I adore Hawaii but well done.

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