MarilynW's Reviews > Molokaʻi

Molokaʻi by Alan Brennert
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it was amazing
bookshelves: audio, hoopla-overdrive

Molokaʻi (Moloka'i #1) by Alan Brennert (Author), Anne Noelani Miyamoto (Narrator)

More than two years after I read Daughter of Moloka'i, I have been able to read Moloka'i, the book that preceded Daughter of Moloka'i. Both stories are beautiful and I wish I'd read them closer together just to have made the stories one long experience. This book relates the life of Rachel Kalama, a little girl who is diagnosed with leprosy and is banished to Kalaupapa, the quarantined leprosy settlement on the island of Moloka'i.

Around 1866, those with leprosy were shipped to Kalaupapa and dumped onto the shore with nothing, no shelter and very little to help them survive. But over the decades, the people who live there and those who work to help these people, build settlements to make life better for the sufferers and eventually to work towards a cure for the disease. When seven year old Rachel is diagnosed with leprosy, people like her were considered criminals for harboring the disease and banishment was their fate. Rachel is whisked away from her family to a medical center where she was tested in the most humiliating ways and then later, shipped to the island to live the rest of her life in the leper colony. 

Rachel arrives at Kalaupapa in the year of 1893 and unlike the first lepers who were dumped on the island to die, Rachel arrives to find a thriving community, ready to welcome all newcomers. This story is full of heartbreak, with the suffering of the people from ravished bodies but also the heartbreak of never seeing or hearing from their families again. The stigma of leprosy was such that many families completely removed the leper from their lives, pretending they didn't exist anymore, never acknowledging them by letter. The isolation of the island, added to the isolation from former friends and family, crushed many of the inhabitants of the island. 

But, despite many rules and regulations that seemed much too rigid and dogmatic, life on the island did provide it's own sense of family and community. Over the length of the story, there are so many tears, as Rachel loses everyone. But Rachel's father never forgets her, never stops being there for her. And she makes lifelong friends on the island, makes a life that is as full as any other life. For being a story about people who are diagnosed with leprosy and sent off in exile, this is a story of sacrifice and suffering but also a story of perseverance with dignity, friendship, and love. In many ways, Rachel and those with her, are able to appreciate what life for it's fragileness, in ways that fully healthy people may not be able to appreciate. 

Published February 10th 2010
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Reading Progress

February 10, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
February 10, 2019 – Shelved
February 4, 2021 – Started Reading
February 4, 2021 – Shelved as: audio
February 4, 2021 – Shelved as: hoopla-overdrive
February 8, 2021 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 61 (61 new)


Debbie I really enjoyed this story and look forward to your review!


MarilynW Debbie wrote: "I really enjoyed this story and look forward to your review!"

Almost done and it's the last part that is finally bringing tears to my eyes even though there are hard/sad times throughout the book.


message 3: by Ceecee (new)

Ceecee Amazing heart breaking review Marilyn 💝


message 4: by Pat (not getting friend updates currently) (last edited Feb 10, 2021 11:01AM) (new)

Pat (not getting friend updates currently) Awesome review Marilyn, it sounds like a heavy but heartwarming read. Which country was doing this - the island sounds Hawaiian or Kiwi (New Zealand) 💚. That’s a beautiful cover too!


message 5: by Regina (new) - added it

Regina This has been on my TBR forever! Thanks for the beautiful review and motivation to make it more of a priority.


message 6: by Jayme (new)

Jayme It is difficult for me to remember details when books publish years apart (or I read them years later!) Great review!


message 7: by Mary Beth (new)

Mary Beth Wonderful review, Marilyn! This one sounds like an emotional read. I have seen much love for this book. I am going to search for it on Overdrive. 😘


message 8: by JanB (new)

JanB Wonderful review Marilyn. I know a little bit about the settlement, and Father Damien. This sounds like an emotional and heartbreaking read (obviously given the subject matter). P


MarilynW Ceecee wrote: "Amazing heart breaking review Marilyn 💝"

Thank you, Ceecee! 🌴


MarilynW Pat (not getting friend updates currently) wrote: "Awesome review Marilyn, it sounds like a heavy but heartwarming read. Which country was doing this - the island sounds Hawaiian or Kiwi (New Zealand) 💚. That’s a beautiful cover too!"

Thank you, Pat, and the cover is beautiful! It was Hawaii that banished those with leprosy. 💕


MarilynW Regina wrote: "This has been on my TBR forever! Thanks for the beautiful review and motivation to make it more of a priority."

Thank you, Regina. I've been meaning to read this for so long and it was a friend's recent review that reminded me about the book. 💗


MarilynW Jayme wrote: "It is difficult for me to remember details when books publish years apart (or I read them years later!) Great review!"

Thank you, Jayme. In this case, the Daughter of Moloka'i made such an impact on me that I remembered most of it but still, it would have been nice to read both books closer together. 😊


message 13: by MarilynW (last edited Feb 10, 2021 12:42PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

MarilynW Mary Beth wrote: "Wonderful review, Marilyn! This one sounds like an emotional read. I have seen much love for this book. I am going to search for it on Overdrive. 😘"

Thank you, Mary Beth...it's a very sad but also very inspirational story. 🥰


MarilynW JanB wrote: "Wonderful review Marilyn. I know a little bit about the settlement, and Father Damien. This sounds like an emotional and heartbreaking read (obviously given the subject matter). P"

Father Damien makes some appearances in the story. There were some draconian measures taken by those in the Church but there were also some great sacrifices by the clergy, to help the people on the island. Sometimes those actions came from the same person. 🌴


message 15: by Michael (new)

Michael David Fantastic review, Marilyn! I'm glad you enjoyed it even if it was two years after reading the last one.


message 16: by Holly (new)

Holly  B Brilliant review Marilyn!


Dorie  - Cats&Books :) Great review Marilyn, I loved this one and thought it was a bit better than the follow up :)


message 18: by JanB (new)

JanB MarilynW wrote: Father Damien makes some appearances in the story. There were some draconian measures taken by those in the Church but there were also some great sacrifices by the clergy, to help the people on the island. Sometimes those actions came from the same person.

I guess even the best of people can have a dark side :(


message 19: by Jen (new) - added it

Jen Oh I’m so behind and need to get to this one soon. Great review!


message 20: by Kat (new)

Kat Such a touching review, Marilyn! This moves me just to think about! I'm glad you enjoyed it.


MarilynW Michael wrote: "Fantastic review, Marilyn! I'm glad you enjoyed it even if it was two years after reading the last one."

Thank you, Michael...and I did something I rarely do, I read them out of order. But in this case, I think the books work no matter which one you read first. 😊


MarilynW Holly wrote: "Brilliant review Marilyn!"

Thank you, Holly! 💕


MarilynW Dorie - Cats&Books :) wrote: "Great review Marilyn, I loved this one and thought it was a bit better than the follow up :)"

Thank you, Dorie. 💗


MarilynW JanB wrote: "MarilynW wrote: Father Damien makes some appearances in the story. There were some draconian measures taken by those in the Church but there were also some great sacrifices by the clergy, to help t..."

Thank you, Jan. Some of it's human nature, some of it is putting rules before people, but the members of the church did great work, too. 🌴


MarilynW Jen wrote: "Oh I’m so behind and need to get to this one soon. Great review!"

Thank you, Jen! 💕


MarilynW Kat wrote: "Such a touching review, Marilyn! This moves me just to think about! I'm glad you enjoyed it."

Thank you so much, Kat! 💗


message 27: by NZLisaM (new)

NZLisaM Amazing review, Marilyn.


TXGAL1 Beautiful review, Marilyn. :)


MarilynW NZLisaM wrote: "Amazing review, Marilyn."

Thank you, Lisa! 💗


MarilynW TXGAL1 wrote: "Beautiful review, Marilyn. :)"

Thank you, TXGAL...glad you enjoyed this book, also! 🌴


*TUDOR^QUEEN* (on hiatus) Beautiful review 💖🔰


MarilynW *TUDOR^QUEEN* wrote: "Beautiful review 💖🔰"

Thank you, TQ! 🌸


Richard (on hiatus) Nice review ........... I’ve got this and am looking forward to it :)


MarilynW Richard wrote: "Nice review ........... I’ve got this and am looking forward to it :)"

Thank you, Richard...this story made me appreciate MY problems 😊


Kat (Books are Comfort Food) Such a wonderfully, touching review, Marilyn. Sounds like both books were meaningful and it wouldn’t matter which order these were read in. ❤️


MarilynW Kat (Books are Comfort Food!) wrote: "Such a wonderfully, touching review, Marilyn. Sounds like both books were meaningful and it wouldn’t matter which order these were read in. ❤️"

Thank you, Kat...the order really didn't matter because. I loved getting to finally read both of them. 💕


Debbie So glad to see this wonderful review for such a beautiful story, Marilyn!


MarilynW Debbie wrote: "So glad to see this wonderful review for such a beautiful story, Marilyn!"

Thank you, Debbie! 🌴


message 39: by Katherine (new)

Katherine I remember reading this 10+ years ago and I still own my copy..I loved it that much. Great review Marilyn 💗 I need to read daughter of Molokai soon.


MarilynW Katherine wrote: "I remember reading this 10+ years ago and I still own my copy..I loved it that much. Great review Marilyn 💗 I need to read daughter of Molokai soon."

Thank you, Katherine! I enjoyed both books, seeing the life of both Rachel and her daughter Ruth and then seeing them come together. 💕


message 41: by Heather (new) - added it

Heather Love Oh WOW 😯 think this will have to be a hardback 🤔


Sandra Glad to see a 5⭐️. I’ve got his one lined up soon 😊


message 43: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Wonderful review, Marilyn! :)


message 44: by Elyse (new) - added it

Elyse  Walters Marilyn --I love your review - I love the book. I've given it as a gift so many times now --I've lost count --maybe a dozen times --

I've met the author too -- Besides this amazing story -doesn't his passion for Hawaii come through so beautifully?
Paul and I have a condo in Maui - (took our Honeymoon to Maui and Kauai) --and continue to return to both islands usually once a year. (with the pandemic -not last year --considering this year --not sure how we feel about flying yet).

Its such a wonderful story -- isn't it? Much so heartbreaking - other parts so wonderful with the characters ...
Great seeing great books get new fresh attention!!!
:)
xoxo


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Glad you so enjoyed this book, Marilyn.


MarilynW Heather wrote: "Oh WOW 😯 think this will have to be a hardback 🤔"

The covers of both books are beautiful! 💕


MarilynW Sandra wrote: "Glad to see a 5⭐️. I’ve got his one lined up soon 😊"

Thank you, Sandra...hope you enjoy it as much as I did 🌴


MarilynW Nicole wrote: "Wonderful review, Marilyn! :)"

Thank you, Nicole 💗


MarilynW Elyse wrote: "Marilyn --I love your review - I love the book. I've given it as a gift so many times now --I've lost count --maybe a dozen times --

I've met the author too -- Besides this amazing story -doesn't ..."


Thank you, Elyse...both books go together so well...I may read them again, one after the other, next time. Glad you know the area. 💕🥰💕


MarilynW Marialyce wrote: "Glad you so enjoyed this book, Marilyn."

Thank you, Marialyce...I greatly enjoyed your review. 💗


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