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Melki's Reviews > Moloka'i

Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
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bookshelves: historical-fiction, uptown-book-coven

This is an ambitious novel that covers many tumultuous and eventful decades of history.

It should also be subtitled When Every Bad Thing Happens to One Person.


You don't expect a novel about a leper colony to be the feel-good read of the year, but gee willikers...

I was reminded of the moment in films when one character says "It can't get any worse than this!" and immediately it starts pouring.

Having leprosy and being snatched away from loved ones is not BRUTAL ENOUGH. Being exiled and forced to live in abject poverty is not BAD ENOUGH. ALL characters must SUFFER and it is always the WORST OF TIMES. (view spoiler) All this misery so the characters can keep smiling, shining through and plugging away. I know, I know...this is supposed to show the triumph of the human spirit, and while piling every awful thing on the shoulders of one character worked so well for me in Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, here, it grated and annoyed.

I'm going to blame it on the writing.

There is something truly irritating about Brennert's writing style that I just can't put my finger on...is it overly dramatic, too grandiose, too hand-wringing? I don't know, but it wore me down.

This honestly isn't bad enough to be a BAD book. It should provide good book club fodder. My real life book club will be hashing this over on Thursday night, and I'm guessing the overwhelming majority will have loved it, no doubt, as tales of plucky heroines who overcome stiff odds are always popular.


For me personally, I'm going to put this down to an interesting and involving story, not well told.
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Reading Progress

January 8, 2015 – Started Reading
January 8, 2015 – Shelved
January 8, 2015 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
January 10, 2015 –
page 187
46.17%
January 11, 2015 – Finished Reading
March 5, 2018 – Shelved as: uptown-book-coven

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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Melki I see several of my GRs friends have this title on their to-read lists. I'm willing to mail my copy to one of you - sorry - US pals only! Send me a PM with your address.


Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan Oh, gosh. I adored this book. So sorry that it didn't work for you.

Since I was a kid I'm afraid that due to life experiences my motto has been "It can always get worse." Part true and part joke. But maybe it's partly why I like books like this?


message 3: by Meg (new) - added it

Meg Melki -- I'm with you! I'm pretty sure I'll be reading your review to my book club and letting them know I am in total agreement with it. And, like you, I will likely be in the minority. This seems like the kind of book they all will love. Oh well. I'll just have to drink another glass of wine! Thanks for your review and for articulating so well the "What's gonna happen to this poor person next?!" pall of the book.


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