Brennert, Alan

Book - 2004
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Seven-year-old Rachel is forcibly removed from her family's 1890s Honolulu home when she contracts leprosy and is placed in a settlement, where she loses a series of new friends before new medical discoveries enable her to reenter the world.

Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Griffin, [2004], c2003
ISBN: 0312304358
Branch Call Number: FICTION BRENNERT 2004
Characteristics: 389 p. :,maps ;,21 cm


From Library Staff

Seven-year-old Rachel is forcibly removed from her family's 1890s Honolulu home when she contracts leprosy and is placed in a settlement, where she loses a series of new friends before new medical discoveries enable her to reenter the world. You did get the tissues out right?

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Oct 01, 2014
  • clareba rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

poorly written yawn

Sep 22, 2014

Hi! I'm coming to the district librarian's meeting on Wednesday.

Would you please hold the copy of Moloka'i for me.

Thank you.

Debbie Froggatt
BAA/Fenway Library

Apr 10, 2013

This was a great book. It was a bit sad in parts, but overall it was good. I knew nothing about leprosy before and how much of a stigma it was. I would highly recommended it.

Mar 27, 2013
  • AlisonFlannigan rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

wonderful story - would be great a great epic movie.
characters are so believable and their story lures you along.
an extremely interesting read.

Feb 11, 2013
  • WormsBookChief rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Fascinating story about an island off Hawaii that functions as a leper colony. The story was amazing, original and real. I appreciated how it shared the history of Hawaii, as well as the colony. If you liked this, check out 'The Island', also about a leper colony in Greece.

Aug 19, 2012
  • poodlegirl rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book was such a captivating story that I just couldn't put it down. Everything was so wonderfully described and the story represented a young girl who learned to accept her difficult situation with a lot of grace and a beautiful attitude. I spoke to the author personally and he said the story just wrote itself, unlike other books he'd published. I believe that to be true as it was such an easy just flowed. I'd highly recommend it.

Aug 08, 2012
  • haha rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Brenner did a wonderful job with this book. The scenery and story are very well developed, and the history folded into the story was a nice touch too. This was an eye-opening read because I didn't realize that Moloka'i had such a rich background story.

Jul 27, 2012
  • AmyR rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Wow - a powerful book. Very sad but based on real life which makes it even more tragic. I had no idea of Molokai's history with leprosy. Great read!

Jan 28, 2011
  • veravincit rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is a great book for reading. It is about a girl, Rachel, who is forced out of her home to live in a leprosy settlement. She then lives almost her entire life there, meeting new friends, meeting her husband. This is a very sad, but still sweet book, about a girl who did everything she could to fight for herself and friends, and how she finally made it through, strong.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes reading sweet, sad books.

Nov 04, 2010
  • kathykraemer rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This book was very sad, yet a testimony to the power of the human spirit. At times, thought I couldn't go on with the story, as it seemed one tragedy after another. But at the end, it was worth it; Rachel was rewarded after years of suffering and seemingly pointless hope in humanity. I saw the parallels drawn between living in the leper colony, prison, and the Japanese relocation camps. It is surely amazing that with the similar stories of ignorance, judgment, and cruelty to our fellow humans that occur in every century, that we cannot learn from the past and stop repeating the same patterns. This was a worthy read.

View All Comments


Add a Summary

Apr 02, 2013
  • lyndapringle rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Moloka'i is a period book in Hawaii set from the 1890s to 1970. The book is about Rachel, who contracts leprosy in the 1890s, and is exiled to the island of Moloka'i. She is only 5 years old when she is diagnosed and her family is devastated. However, she does find joy in meeting up with her Uncle Pono at the island and makes new friends. The novel details the passing of the decades where Rachel meets new friends, loves and adventures. It also details the tragic moments of her life. Her best friend is Sister Catherine who helps her through the rough patches. The book wasn't much to my taste but I do trend toward books with lots of tragedy and drama and little happiness. However, the real annoyance of the novel was the constant description of the landscape. I understand the author was attempting to give the readers a flavor of the exoticness of the islands of Hawaii but pages of this lyrical description became boring. This is the reason why the book merits a low 3 stars. However, for those readers who don't mind a whole lot of description, I do recommend this book as a good accounting of the stigma of leprosy at the time and how one wonderful woman overcame this stigma with a great attitude and how she was able to shape a good life despite this tragic diagnosis.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Notice

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Find it at MCL