Mar 04, 12
Read in March, 2012
What beautifully-written prose! It's easy to visualize the island and its fragile but strong people. This is Rachel's coming-of-age story beginning with her diagnosis of leprosy at a very young age and her forced removal from her family. Blind to Moloka'i's beauty, wanting only her mother and home, Rachel is taken under the wings of her Uncle Pono and his wife, Haleola.
Doctors learn that surgery sometimes "cures" the leprosy patients, and Rachel is a good candidate for surgery. The Board of Health may decide to "parole" patients whose leprosy has gone inactive. Rachel's life on Moloka'i is a rich, full life, in a sense, yet bittersweet in its limitations. This story of her struggles and triumphs could be anyone's story at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. Brennert tells it with dignity and hope.