Author: Alan Brennert
# pages: 389
Date published: 2003
Genre: historical fiction
Challenge(s): Raved-About Reads, Book Around the States (
“Later, when memory was all she had to sustain her, she would come to cherish it: Old Honolulu as it was then, as it would never be again.”
Synopsis: Set in
Random Thoughts: I’m really bummed that I’m not going to be here to actually discuss this books with my F2F book club (I nominated it, too), but I’m going to be in Poland that week (I know, I know, I’m going to get to stay in my in-laws fabulous mountain house just a short bus ride from Krakow, so I’m not that bummed ;o)).
Several years ago I got the chance to visit
This was not a quick read for me. I found myself slowing down and really absorbing the book. I’m glad I did. It’s not a book to be rushed through. There are a lot of weighty issues to ponder—the nature of freedom, disease, family, and shame. It made me think about the way AIDS patients have been treated (remember Ryan White??). And wonder if there is an ethical way to treat a possibly communicable disease until scientists know for sure how it is spread. In hindsight, what happened to people diagnosed with Hansen’s disease (called leprosy at the time) is horrible, but at the time I’m sure it seemed like the right thing to do especially since the Hawaiian people had very little immunity to Mycobacterium leprae (the bacteria that causes Hansen’s disease).
You would think that a book of this nature would be depressing, but I never found that to be true. Brennert did a fabulous job, in my opinion, of giving us a glimpse into the past (of leprosy, in particular, and
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