Author: Alan Brennert
This is my 26th read for the year
This is the story of Rachel Kalama. When she was 7 years old, she contracted Leprosy. In the late 1800s, so little was known about the disease, so people were separated from their family and friends. In Hawaii, the residents were sent to the island of Moloka'i to a settlement called Kalaupapa. There - a scared little girl was placed first with her uncle, who was also infected, and then in a home for girls with the nuns at the island. And there she would remain for almost her entire life. When she first arrived, it seemed like a death sentence. She was separated from a family she didn't think she would ever see again. But over the years, it became her home and the people of Kalaupapa and Moloka'i became her family.
This was a great book. It was recommended to me by a friend and I am so glad I read it. It is a rich story that covers Rachel's enitre life. It is well written, the characters likeable, and the story heartbreaking as well as uplifting. Among the fiction is the true story of this island and that it did house the Leprosy patients at that time. In the 1980s this area of Moloka'i was designated a national historic park. To this date there are still a few surviving people with Leprosy that live in Kalaupapa.
Check it out