“I’ve come to believe that how we live with pain, or injustice, or death…is the true measure of the Divine within us.”
Told from the 1890s well into the latter half of the 20th century, Molokaʻi follows Rachel Kalama, an adventurous Hawaiian girl who dreams of traveling the world just as her father does. At the age of 7, rose-colored marks appear on her skin, and she is immediately sent to the isolated leprosy settlement on Molokaʻi. Separated from her family and home, Rachel is terrified, alone and distraught. With time, however, Rachel finds a family in the community on Molokaʻi and learns that a fulfilling life can be lived despite being in the face of death.
Oh wow where do I begin. This book is incredibly well-written and took me on a wild ride of emotions. From the 1890s onward, I felt like I grew up with Rachel, as well as the other characters in this book. The characters are vulnerable, strong and steadfast. They are the heart of this story. I shared their wonder at the new innovations and technology the 20th century brought. I felt their fear and despair with suffering from leprosy and with being separated from their families. I rejoiced with them and I grieved with them.
To reiterate my little blurb on goodreads, it takes a lot for a story to make me physically cry. My heart strings have been tugged at, but I can’t recall an actual time where I’ve bawled my eyes out while reading…that is, until I read this book. Well done Molokaʻi and Alan Brennert. I was a semi-snotty, red-faced, teary mess when I finished this book. It’s such an amazing read.
“With wonder and a growing absence of fear she realized, ‘I am more than I was an hour ago.’”