Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The good thing about being a member of a book club is going out of your comfort zone and reading books you wouldn't have chosen. Some of my favorite authors I never knew about until I learned about them through a book club. And the other side of the coin is sometimes I feel obligated to read a genre I don't really like.
I don't like historical fiction, but I read this book to the bitter end. Moloka'i is an island of Hawaii that became a leper colony in the 1800's. The story follows the life of Rachel who developed leprosy at the age of seven through over fifty years of living on Moloka'i. The story covers the history of Hawaii as it unfolded in the secluded lives on Molokai, through changes in government, war, tsunami, clinical trials and an eventual cure for what is now called Hansen's Disease.
Rachel leads a productive life in spite of being separated from her family and having little contact from them for many years. It is a very sad story.
The author weaves in some of Hawaiian tradition that ran counter to the teachings of the Catholic missionaries who taught and nursed the residents of the colony. I found the burial traditions most poignant when carried out by Rachel in spite of her Christian upbringing.
I didn't hate this book, but it did seem to go on and on and on.
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