Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hawaii by James Michener

Yes, this is an oldie but goodie.  More accurately Hawaii is a contemporary classic.  Published in 1959 it was a New York Times #1 Bestseller.  It is grand in scope and sweeping in historic detail.  Beginning with the very formation of the islands by volcanic activity, said to be millions of years ago and ending with Election Day 1954, Mr. Michener writes of the people and the land as is if he lived through all of it. This is the mark of an expert storyteller.  Michener is also one that can fill your eyes with an immense amount of detail and still keep you turning the pages.  He tells us of the lengthy trip of the first inhabitants of Hawaii, the natives from Bora Bora who left their home looking for a new place to settle where they would not be under the wrath of the gods.  His description of the strict New England missionary who brought Christianity to Hawaii aptly describes the starched collar mentality of the New England Congregationalism, learned at Yale in the early 1820’s.  The author takes us through all of the life happenings, grief and joy of the native Hawaiians as they lived it.  He allows us to feel the struggle against the church teachings brought by Abner Hale, the struggle to keep their culture, some of which was inhumanely barbaric in its quest to appease the gods.  His descriptions of the discovery of the rich volcanic soil which allowed many varieties of plants and fruits to grow which could not be grown anywhere else are beautiful.  This novel is abounding with life and all that goes with it.  If I were to tell you all the good reading contained between the pages of this book, I would be writing way longer than you want to read this blog.  I will instead, tell you that it is more than worth picking up and getting involved in.  It can be checked out at your local library, or picked up at a discount bookstore.  You can probably even run across a copy of this book when you are out and about on a garage sale day.  I took it off my bookshelf where I have had it for several years and been trying to read for a long time.  On a scale of my usual one to five stars, I give Hawaii six stars!
Thanks so much for being here.  Come back next week for my review of Elizabeth Camden’s newest offering With Every Breath.  It will have you holding your breath with anticipation of the outcome.

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