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Monday, April 28, 2008

A young girl named Rachel is growing up in Hawai'i, in a time when leprosy is seen as a horrible and dangerous disease. Such that if someone shows signs of it they are taken to a special hospital and if they are not cured, they are sent to Kalaupapa, an island for those with leprosy. She spends time at the hospital and ends up being sent to the island .. meaning that she will only see her family if they can pay for a trip to the island which isn't easy on their small salaries. But instead of going away to die, she finds out that life is indeed possible. he is a trouble maker for the nuns who take care of the young girls with leprosy, finding ways to get around rules and push boundaries and enjoy life.

Before reading this book I didn't know that leprosy was such a problem at the turn of the twentieth century. I knew that it has been seen as a horrible disease for a long time and that many people (from Biblical times) have been made outcasts because of it. But the idea of people being exiled and separated from family was hard to read about. Especially because this is a novel based on history .. these are events that did take place, and Hawaiians were separated from family members in harsh ways. Good to know a bit more about history .. but also to see the hope and vivacity that Rachel shows, as a young girl faced with such pain. Hope in the midst of suffering .. that's something of which we can always be reminded.

Author: Alan Brennert
Date published:2003
Genre: historical fiction
Number of pages: 384
Notes: brought by sue


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