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Lion in the Lei Shop, The: A Novel

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  385 ratings  ·  68 reviews
“The Lion in the Lei Shop is a rediscovered treasure of a book that I cannot recommend highly enough. Written with insight, restraint, and flashes of humor, the story of April and Marty is the story of mothers and daughters, friendship, war, love, loss, the reliability of memory and the triumph of the human spirit. I could not put it down.” – Helen Bryan, bestselling autho ...more
Paperback, 292 pages
Published May 28th 2013 by AmazonEncore (first published 1970)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,086)
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Cynthia
Unnecessary Lion

Author Starbird alternates perspectives between a mother, April and her daughter, Marty, to tell the story of Pearl Harbor and the resulting war. This military family was stationed there when the Harbor was bombed. The mother is in her mid twenties and still in the honeymoon phase of her marriage. Five year old Marty idolizes her Colonel daddy. Both perspectives are dead on. Neither April nor Marty seem like unreliable narrators yet their remembrances are necessarily different.
...more
Kerry
Jun 16, 2013 Kerry rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kerry by: Kindle Prime free
Picked up as an Amazon freebie. Thought the story would focus more on Honolulu immediately after the bombing of Pearl Harbor; instead, the events unfolded through the point of view of a few characters in an isolated military community. I was jolted by several racist comments (to be expected, I suppose, given the time period).

Events are told from the alternating perspectives of a military wife and her five-year-old daughter. This was an interesting technique to illustrate how memories of the sam
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Lillian
“It was December seventh, nineteen forty-one. No, that’s history, not the beginning of a story. In the story, it was a rainy Sunday, and when I woke, the mynah birds were quarreling in the avocado trees on the lawn, and the rain was splashing and dripping from the great red poinsettia blooms outside my window." (P.10)

Told in the alternating voices of five-year old Marty Langsmith and her mother April thus begins the memory of that explosive day when their world was changed irreparably. Starbird
...more
Maureen
This was a First Reads win. I read a lot of WWII fiction. I agree with Nancy Pearl that this book is worthy of being pulled out of obscurity and re-presented and thank her for it - it is a great program, and I would look other works she chooses. I was glad to read this book as I haven't read any other fiction that deals with first hand experiences of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the time that followed. The main device used by the author is to tell the same stories twice, once from the mother's ...more
Laura
Kay Starbird's novel is one of a selection of out-of-print novels selected for reprinting by NPR's Nancy Pearl. I reviewed an advance copy for Bookbrowse First Impressions. What an excellent selection!

The story begins with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. April Langsmith and her 5-year-old daughter Marty are living in Oahu military housing with husband/father Lang when the bombing occurs. He is immediately called away by military responsibilities, leaving April and Marty to cope with being shifted a
...more
Janice
I very much enjoyed this book that tells of the WWII experience not of a soldier but of his wife and child. This family is living nearby when Pearl Harbor is bombed in 1941, and the author tells their story from the alternating perspective of the mother and the child. I especially liked the author's skill in seeing through the eyes of a 5 or 6 year old girl, the mixing of fantasy and reality to try to make sense to all that was happening, and the concrete logic that can be utilized by a child, a ...more
Bookreaderljh
The Pearl Harbor attack that began US involvement in WWII I usually thought about from the point of view of the soldiers that fought or died that day but the Lion in the Lei Shop takes that event and views it through the eyes of a wife and very young daughter who were on the base and ultimately have to not only say goodbye to their soldier husband/father as he goes to war but also their home as they are evacuated out of danger. Seeing the fear and misinformation and hurried preparation and even ...more
Val Wilkerson
This is a different look at Pearl Harbor Day. The chapters go back & forth between April, who is a wife & mother, and her daughter Marty. Marty's dad is in the service, they are living at Scofield Barracks on Oahu on Dec 7th when the Japanese attacked. Normally you are hearing about what is going on right at Pearl Harbor, here you are discovering what was going on in the minds of the wives and children of the men stationed there. Its especially interesting to compare the thoughts of the ...more
Becky
Little girl and War

Little girl and War

This is an outstanding story. I've always thought of Pearl Harbor as the bombing and of the soldiers there, not once did I consider the families of those soldiers who lived on the island.
This is a story about those families, the wives and children and what they did that day. it's told in reminiscence, first the little girl Marty, how she remembers those days and then by her mother April. of course they both remember differently and though some memories are s
...more
Brenda Yarborough
I've read quite a few books about WWII, but never one that was about the wives and civilians of Pearl Harbor immediately after the attack of Dec 7th. A very different perspective. . .this book is told in two different voices, the wife/mother and the child. I enjoyed the style of the author as well as the story.
Judy
This book is now in my top 5 ever... The story and characters are so beautifully written, I chose to get 4 hours of sleep for 3nights, because I could not put it down.. I borrowed the book through my kindle library and I plan on buying a hard copy to have forever.
Laurie
LOVED this wonderful gem of a book. It is narrated by mother and five year old daughter of military family stationed at Schofield Base when Pearl Harbor was bombed and its aftermath. Beautifully written i could not put it down!!
Tanya Eby
I co-narrated this with Kate Rudd. I think it's going to be a really good listen. Kate is fantastic and she reads the sections from the daughter. I play the mom. What a lovely, lovely book.
Melinda Van Komen
I really loved this book. The setting is the days, months and years immediately following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. But the subject is really the shifting nature of memory and perception. The story is told from the point of view of a mother and young daughter 28 years after the bombing, and the chapters alternate. It reads like really well done memoir, and is poignant in its truth and heartbreak. The feelings are so universal, and still so tied to that time and place. I love stories like this ...more
Marilyn Campbell
Discovered this book through the Nancy Pearl Rediscovery series. It tells the story of a woman and child, alternating narrators to have both tell the same story. The beginning is set in Hawaii just as Pearl Harbor is bombed. The husband/father is an officer. The story runs from the first days after the strike to a point more than three years later. The mother notes that the story is being thy old from memories thirty years past. It is matter of fact and touching at the same time. Kaye Starbird i ...more
Kait
The Lion in the Lei Shop by Kaye Starbird

A while back, I read the book The Lion in the Lei Shop by Kaye Starbird. It was recommended by Modern Mrs. Darcy.

I think this was a hard book for me to read because, in many ways, it hit strangely close to home. It was a novel that was written from two perspectives, telling the story twice. The two characters are mother and daughter and the story explores the question of perspective and how the perspectives of adults and children differ.

Marty is five ye
...more
Megan
I liked this book. But be warned. This is not a book about the war. This is a war about relationships and more importantly how we all see the world differently. How one person's truth may differ from another person' s even when they have both experienced the same event; yet neither is wrong or false.

Some people have complained about the ethnic slurs in this book of which there are many. But this is a book written almost 45 years ago about a time period that is almost 70 years in the past. Things
...more
Denise
This book recounts the events of WWII in the unique voices of April, a young mother and Marty, her daughter who is five when Pearl Harbor is attacked. The family is stationed at Scofield Barracks in Hawaii in December 1941. Their happy family existence is shattered as Honolulu receives devastating damage at the hands of the Japanese attackers. Mother and daughter are parted from their loving husband and father as they return to the mainland to wait out the war. The subsequent hardships they endu ...more
Debby
FABULOUS. This is the story of a wife and daughter and their fellow wives and children of the navy and air force men on Pearl Harbor when it was bombed. The story is told through the eyes of a 5year old - Marty and her early 20 something mother April. It shows what happens to people under the stress of being attacked, and what happens along the way as the dependents are moved from Pearl Harbor to a shelter and then back to their homes. Finally they are boarded on a ship and travel in a convoy ba ...more
Maggie
I wanted to like this book much more than I did. It could have been so much more, but wasn't. In the beginning the author, who clearly didn't do enough research, throws out supposed bits of history, which were inaccurate and totally unnecessary. Then she never touches the subject again. Given her lack of decent research it was probably a good thing, but odd in an historical novel and the reader needed more information on how the war was going and how it affected the general populace. Because I a ...more
Anne
THE LION in the LEI SHOP, WWII Pearl Harbor attack

In the immediate aftermath of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the military families saw their husbands and fathers report to duty leaving them alone to sit out the duration of the war. April who is pregnant and her daughter Marty who is about five alternate telling what life was like on the island until they were shipped home in a convoy to SFO. The interesting element of the story is how differently mother and daughter remember
...more
Hester
I only read this because it was part of Amazon's Prime Kindle Lending Library and it sounded somewhat interesting and again, it was FREE, but it turned out to be a case of the dreaded good sounding premise but just an okay book.

Marty and her mother April both recount how their lives changed on the morning of Dec. 7th 1941 and of the days, weeks, months and years after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Each chapter is devoted to Marty or her mother's memory of events and highlights how each memory var
...more
Kari Lynn Mackey
Disclosure: I received a free copy of The Lion in the Lei Shop by Kaye Starbird from Amazon Publishing via GoodReads First Reads.

The Lion in the Lei Shop tells the moving story of a military family whose lives are transformed by the air raids on Pearl Harbor and the events that follow. Of the two viewpoints used to tell the story, the young daughter, Marty, is the more compelling narrator, while her mother April's parts of the tale come across cold and matter-of-fact at times. It is perhaps unne
...more
Michelle Schingler
*Goodreads Giveaway Reader*

This revived novel explores the effects of Pearl Harbor on one family, the Langford's.

Marty's a preteen when the bombs strike, her mother mid-twenties, and their idyllic island life is upended. Marty's father--called, affectionately, "Lang" throughout--goes off to war, to his daughter's initial dismay (eventually earning her ire, fed by a sense of abandonment).

The novel's pages are devoted to Marty's recollections of the day, as well as her mother's. Their memories d
...more
Gaylen
Was glad to learn about this book, which had been out of print. A fascinating look at what it was like to be in Hawaii during the bombings at Pearl Harbor for the families of the military men serving there. What a terrible time it was yet I've never really learned about what it might have been like for those living through it. And certainly for those serving in Hawaii at that time, it was the longest experience of the war for any American soldiers and their families. My parents were married duri ...more
Lee

I listened to the audio book and I know that do I get a different slant than when I read the book. Never thought much about the civilians living in Hawaii when Japan attacked us at Pearl Harbor, so this was new and interesting. The dual viewpoints, one chapter the mother's reaction, and the next the daughter's interpretation did not seem to work, for me, in the audio format.
Kelly Frederick
I really enjoyed the alternating narrators of this novel. Daughter and mother view the same events from very different perspectives to show how memories can encompass many layers of truth. The characters are in some ways self-absorbed but completely real and engaging. This rediscovered "old" book rereleased by Nancy Pearl is worth a read.
Mary
This is a book that opened my eyes to what it was like to be at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed if you were a military dependent. I'd never thought about those people before, and it was interesting to read about what life was like for them. It is well written, and it liked the two viewpoints of the same event.
Michelle Hines
I love reading the story from the child's view and the adults. Knowing this book was written in the 70's gave me a new perspective on war then vs. war now. This was not my typical read, but I thoroughly enjoyed the book and have a renewed interest in Pearl Harbor and World War II.
Lynn
We first hear about this " lion in the Lei shop" early in the story, then nothing until we are alMost 3/4 through the book. Not sure why she picked this title.

The story is told by a little girl and her mom, how they dealt with WWII and pearl harbor. But both stories were so similar it was hard for me to keep track of who was the narrator while I was reading.

I also found the story a bit boring: how many times can you hear women complain about their harsh conditions.



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