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Moloka'i Read...Discuss...Repeat!
June 2010 Selection: Moloka'i
By: Alan Brennert
Copyright: 2004


About the Book:

This richly imagined novel, set in Hawaii more than a century ago, is an extraordinary epic of a little-known time and place---and a deeply moving testament to the resiliency of the human spirit.

Rachel Kalama, a spirited seven-year-old Hawaiian girl, dreams of visiting far-off lands like her father, a merchant seaman. Then one day a rose-colored mark appears on her skin, and those dreams are stolen from her. Taken from her home and family, Rachel is sent to Kalaupapa, the quarantined leprosy settlement on the island of Moloka'i. Here her life is supposed to end---but instead she discovers it is only just beginning.

With a vibrant cast of vividly realized characters, Moloka'i is the true-to-life chronicle of a people who embraced life in the face of death. Such is the warmth, humor, and compassion of this novel that "few readers will remain unchanged by Rachel's story".

Related Web sites:

Moloka'i page on the official Alan Brennert site

Reading Guide and Discussion Questions

Publisher's official site for this book

Alan Brennert on Wikipedia

Moloka'i history/tourism page

Remembering Kalaupapa site

If You Like Moloka'i, Try:

The Works of James Houston

The Works of David L. Robbins

The Known World
By: Edward P. Jones. 2003.

By: Alan Brennert. 2009.

Moloka'i Reader Comments:

This is a tender, heart-breaking tale about a period of American history that I'm betting the majority of readers probably don't know a lot about. Brennert really humanizes the victims of leprosy in the novel, putting a face on a condition that is hard to think about.

-- Sandra C.
patron of Bennett Martin Public Library.
Customer Review Score - 9

I enjoyed this one so much when it was a One Book One City finalist a couple of years ago that I looked for others by this author. I was amused to discover that he also wrote comic book stories, and even wrote for the Twilight Zone TV series when they revived it back in the 1980s in color.

-- Dave G.
patron of Gere Branch Library.
Customer Review Score - 10

While I did end up liking this book, in many ways I felt like Brennert almost sugar-coated some of the horrible experiences these leprosy patients must have gone through. Still, it was an interesting read..

-- Samantha R.
patron of Walt Branch Library.
Customer Review Score - 6


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