Debbie's Reviews > Honolulu

Honolulu by Alan Brennert
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Apr 25, 2011

really liked it
Read in March, 2011 — I own a copy

Let me start by saying this is a good read. It wasn't at all what I expected with the title being "Honolulu" but it is good none the less. It's the story of a Korean woman named Regret, who later changes her name to Jin. Born into a Confucian household that put boys and men as honored parts society and girls and women seen as only wives destined to be no more than maids or breeders for male children. Jin feels the full effect of her father's disappointment and feelings toward her by his naming her brothers things like "Joyful Day" and her "Regret". Jin has a hunger to know the fullness of her live vs. the limitations she was born into. She sneaks and learns to read on visits to the city to visit her sick aunt. She escapes to Honolulu on the premise of becoming a "Picture Bride" to a Korean plantation worker living there under the "Gentleman's Agreement" thinking this will be a new life of freedom and gender equality only to be disappointed by her abusive arranged husband. She eventually escapes him and though her Korean community would look down greatly on a divorce she braves this shame and chooses real freedom and is rewarded with a loving second husband. There are several other characters throughout the book of various races, genders and walks of life that help to drive home the theme of equality all in this "mixed plate" of Honolulu. For a historical fiction it is very informative I'd never heard of "Picture Brides" before reading this book. This book is kind of a cross between Joy Luck club &. not sure what else but I liked it.
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