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Thursday, March 15, 2012


by Kaui Hart Hemmings, AF, 2007, 283p, rating=3
Source:  library

Narrated in a bold, fearless, hilarious voice and set against the lush, panoramic backdrop of Hawaii, "The Descendants "is a stunning debut novel about an unconventional family forced to come together and re-create its own legacy.
Matthew King was once considered one of the most fortunate men in Hawaii. His missionary ancestors were financially and culturally progressive-one even married a Hawaiian princess, making Matt a royal descendant and one of the state's largest landowners.
Now his luck has changed. His two daughters are out of control: Ten-year-old Scottie is a smart-ass with a desperate need for attention, and seventeen-year-old Alex, a former model, is a recovering drug addict. Matt's charismatic, thrill-seeking, high-maintenance wife, Joanie, lies in a coma after a boat-racing accident and will soon be taken off life support. The Kings can hardly picture life without her, but as they come to terms with this tragedy, their sadness is mixed with a sense of freedom that shames them-and spurs them into surprising actions.
Before honoring Joanie's living will, Matt must gather her friends and family to say their final goodbyes, a difficult situation made worse by the sudden discovery that there is one person who hasn't been told: the man with whom Joanie had been having an affair, quite possibly the one man she ever truly loved. Forced to examine what he owes not only to the living but to the dead, Matt takes to the road with his daughters to find his wife's lover, a memorable journey that leads to both painful revelations and unforeseen humor and growth. (Goodreads)

A thought provoking book.  I would imagine it would be hard to be angry at a comatose-dying spouse, even for infidelity.  This was what was going through Matt's mind.  So what did he do?  He loved and respected his wife, Joanie, enough to seek out her lover figuring that would be what she wanted.  Then off he goes with his unruly daughters to bring the man to Joanie.  Finds out that the lover had a riding on Matt's decision to sell his incredibly huge inherited land and something more personal.  This, along with the adventure of having to personally invite Joanie's close friends to visit her to say their goodbyes and prepare to be a single parent was quite a feat for Matt. 

Oddly enough, I felt Matt to be too nonchalant.  Yes, he couldn't direct his anger at his dying wife but show me that he roughed up a punching bag or something.  I would have sent my two jiu jitsu brothers to pay this lover a visit!  Matt was also passive with his daughters, like allowing them to be vulgar in his presence. But there was a couple great supporting characters, Sid and the nanny, that brought in some spice and perspective.  Overall, I didn't like Matt's initial ignorance but I did like his renewed passion for life and commitment to be there for the family ..including respecting his heritage and leaving a proper legacy.


  1. Interesting, I like the sound of this novel, thanks for the recommendation.

    PS Thanks for stopping by my blog, I thought I'd answer you question as to what RE stands for - it's Religious Education though they call it something else now.

  2. You're welcoe. --Thanks for getting back to me about RE. :D


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