Book Review: Daughter of Moloka'i

Photo from Netgalley

Photo from Netgalley

Daughter of Molka’i, by Alan Brennert

I was sent a copy of this book via Netgalley. Thank you, St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley, for the opportunity to review!

I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t know much about American internment of Japanese people and American people of Japanese descent during World War 2. It’s an utter atrocity and I wish I had known much more about it sooner. It makes me question why I didn’t. It should be taught in every American school. It feels especially poignant today and I’m grateful to this book for bringing this blight on our past to life for me. For that reason alone, I feel like everyone should read this book.

All of that said, as a straight-up novel I did find the dialogue at times stilted and felt that a lot of the story was being recited, vs. being shown to the reader so they could feel it—particularly in the second half. The characters felt like they were held at arm’s length and the story felt more informative than like a novel. I enjoyed it nonetheless and recommend it if you want to learn more about Japanese interment camps in America in the 40s. I don’t live too far from Manzanar and am now planning to visit. These stories need to be told.

PS—I didn’t read the first book, Moloka’i, that introduced some of these characters. You don’t need to, as this book stands alone, but now I want to.

Also reviewed on Goodreads and Instagram.