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The Lion in the Lei Shop
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The Lion in the Lei Shop

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  706 Ratings  ·  90 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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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.
May 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
“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
Jun 14, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  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
Jun 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
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
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I won a copy of this book from good reads and very much appreciate being given the opportunity to read it. In the normal course of events, I probably would have not known of this book's existence which would have been my loss. "The Lion in the Lei Shop" is a very thought provoking and moving account of a military family's experiences during the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the aftermath as told through the eyes of a young child and her mother. This account may be the closest I will ever come to u ...more
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
Feb 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
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.
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