July book: Moloka’i, by Alan Brennert

I am really excited to share this book in book club, for a few reasons. One, it’s a great novel about something most people probably don’t know a lot about: how the Hawaiian government handled leprosy/Hansen’s disease by shipping those with the disease to the island of Moloka’i, forcibly separating them from their families, usually for the rest of their lives. Two, it has two new Saints from the Catholic Church in it: St. Damian of Molokai, and St. Marianne Cope, who was a Franciscan sister who ran a house for girls with leprosy on the island. Sr. Marianne was recently canonized.

Moloka’i is told from the perspective of a young girl who is diagnosed with leprosy and sent to live on the island. That choice of narrator provides such a rich variety of experiences, as she grows up in a very different place than most little girls do. The compelling narration is one of the best elements of the story.

If you’d like to read along with us, feel free! Even if you’ve already read it, I always approve of re-reading. 🙂

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