Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Descendants

Title:  The Descendants
Author:  Kaui Hart Hemmings
Publication Information:  Random House. 2011. 320 pages.

Book Source:  I read this book based on the publicity for the movie.

Favorite Quote:  "That's how you know you love someone, I guess, when you can't experience anything without wishing the other person were there to see it, too."

The Descendants is the story of Matt King and his family. His wife, Jonie,  is in a coma following a boating accidents.  His daughters, ten year old Scottie and seventeen year old Alex, face the struggles of life and of their mother's illness. Matt is thrust into the role of being an active father without his wife to rely on. The situation is made worse by his discovery that his wife was having an affair. Added into the mix is his struggle over property he inherited through the lineage of Hawaiian royalty.

The book covers the span of only a few days. Matt is attempting to gather family and friends to say their final goodbyes to Joanie. He decides that this group of people needs to include his wife's lover. He takes his daughters on a journey to find him. The journey becomes one of self-discovery and of reconnection with his daughters and his heritage.

I really liked this book because the characters elicited an emotional connection and reaction. I felt sorry for Matt, who is trying to do the best he can in a really bad situation. I wanted to protect and shelter Alex and Scottie as they struggled through. Joanie is in a coma; yet I wanted to ask her why. Even the other characters like Alex's friend Sid and Joanie's lover had interesting stories.

The tone of the book also came across as honest and real. I am not sure many people would go looking for their dying wife's lover, but regardless the book came across as real. Perhaps because people in extreme circumstances sometimes make extreme choices. The characters were believable as was the story itself. Maybe I should see the movie. Wonder if it would ruin the book for me or improve on it?

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