Brennert provides a little bit of the history of Hawaii, a little bit of the history of leprosy or Hansen’s disease and a little bit of the history of the settlement of Kalaupapa in the context of the story of Rachel Kalama, a fictional seven year old child who is banished to and grows up on Moloka’i.
Brennert does a better job conveying the pathos of the grown-up Rachel than of the adolescent Rachel. Once again, I found myself reading a book to which I had little emotional attachment until Rachel reached adulthood at which point Brennert’s ability to touch the reader with Rachel’s struggles dramatically improved.
This is a sad story told in a way that celebrates the ability to persevere, fashion a life and ultimately triumph.
If I visit Lahaina as expected this fall, I’ll have to include a side trip to Moloka’i in my itinerary.
Written by Bridget