Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Moloka'l by Alan Brennert

Sixteen members participated in the discussion of Moloka'i at the Park Grove Library in October.  EVERYONE liked it and had varied reasons they liked it.

"Beautiful cover, very attractive and made me want to pick it up" someone said. "I would have never picked it up but I loved it."  "Liked the main character and the story through her eyes." "It was well-written" said another.  One member said they wished he had talked about more of the effects of the disease on those affected by leprosy or Hansen's Disease.  There was a lot of research that went into this book, someone mentioned, and another said the author "made everything very vivid, you could see how they looked with leprosy. It was tough for me to read, almost too vivid.  Loved all the characters, but I can see why someone was very afraid."  "I wanted to find out what happened to Rachel, it was so real to me, even though it was fiction, this was what real people had happen to them" another commented.

The historical fiction about the leper colony on the Hawaiian Island Moloka'i were hard to read from some of the members perspective.  One said "having a 5 year old taken away from her family was tough."  Another said "I couldn't understand mother's reaction, was heart-broken over it, but understood that she had to do it for her other children."

We talked about how we experienced in our own way, very contagious diseases and the quarantine that has gone on around us, how isolated we felt.  One person was hospitalized and had to have everyone around them gowned & gloved, and upon going home did not have contact with other family members, isolated in her bedroom.  Others talked about having measles and quarantined.  We also talked about the fear of disease and how they must have felt that back in this time periods.  Our fears included H1N1, measles, polio, Ebola and even Aids.

We were glad for the workers that came to the Island to care for those who were diseased and they were not.  There were many that helped make sure the whole island and the people were taken care of.

Rachel found family where ever she was, with the young girls who she shared the facility with and Sister Catherine to Uncle Pono and Haleola.  Having Rachel connect with her sister at the end was so good and then her daughter Ruth.  "She always had family, she had that as a child and maintained that all her life.  She was easy to love" someone said.  Great story to read!


Two women thought it would be interesting to start a book club through the Park Grove Library Branch in 2006 and with the staff, they did it!  AND WE ARE GLAD THEY DID!  Those two members, Diane & Char, and two other charter members of the Park Grove Book Club are still a strong part of the book club that has about 20 members to this day.  {one person missing from pic}

Knowing that we have read 100 books and wanted to celebrate, the library staff worked to collect as many of the 100 books and had almost all of them!  Their display was a wonderful sight to see and celebrate!

Before our book club discussion, the current book club members were photographed!  The South Washington County Bulletin took this picture and published it in the paper in October.  They had mentioned, in the paper, that the four charter members had read all 100 books.  I asked Diane & Char if they have read all 100, and Char & Diane answered - they have!  What a feat to have read all 100 books.  If she is unable to be at Book Club she will email her thoughts to our group about a book we discussed.  Even through traveling, the book club has a draw, a connection.   

To those of us and you who have been a part of this book club, you have shared your thoughts, your joys, your excitement and your disappointment many times over.  We have shared laughter, tears, thoughts from our soul and connected with the authors' stories we have read over the years.  We have developed friendships and helped each other through struggling times in our lives.  Connecting through books, through words and through each other lives, we have made a group that is in itself "a story."