Monday, 31 March 2014

The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings

I read this book a couple of months ago, but I still think about the struggles that families face, and the effort that's required to pull a family together after a tragic incident. I haven't seen the movie, but I felt like I learned a lot from this book. Despite being a gloomy book, there are glimpses of happiness in each character and the ending tied it all together.


According to Goodreads:
"Matthew King was once considered one of the most fortunate men in Hawaii. His missionary ancestors were financially and culturally progressive–one even married a Hawaiian princess, making Matt a royal descendant and one of the state’s largest landowners.

Now his luck has changed. His two daughters are out of control: Ten-year-old Scottie is a smart-ass with a desperate need for attention, and seventeen-year-old Alex, a former model, is a recovering drug addict. Matt’s charismatic, thrill-seeking, high-maintenance wife, Joanie, lies in a coma after a boat-racing accident and will soon be taken off life support. The Kings can hardly picture life without her, but as they come to terms with this tragedy, their sadness is mixed with a sense of freedom that shames them–and spurs them into surprising actions.

Before honoring Joanie’s living will, Matt must gather her friends and family to say their final goodbyes, a difficult situation made worse by the sudden discovery that there is one person who hasn’t been told: the man with whom Joanie had been having an affair, quite possibly the one man she ever truly loved. Forced to examine what he owes not only to the living but to the dead, Matt takes to the road with his daughters to find his wife’s lover, a memorable journey that leads to both painful revelations and unforeseen humor and growth."

The Characters:
They are all unique, relatable, but most importantly, real. They all show how the people in your life can change who you are, for the better or worse. But at the end of the day, they all want the same thing, love and happiness.

Favourite Quotes:
  •  The kitchen smells like a heart attack.
  • At weddings we roll our eyes at the burgeoning love around us, the vows that we know will morph into new kinds of promises... I will tolerate you in sickness and ignore you in health. (Sometimes we get so caught up in the rush of our jobs or study, and forget the people around us, until they're sick or break down.)
  • I feel sad that she has to die for her picture to go up on the wall, or for me to really love everything about her, or for Alex to forgive her for whatever she did wrong. (I really love how real this quote is. We tend to lose appreciation of the people we have in our lives, especially when we assume they're fine and healthy.)
  • I'm soaked in bad parenting. Drenched.
  • He rubs his stomach. It's got too many muscles... I sense my own stomach and suck it in. (This doesn't really fit in with the other meaningful quotes, but it captures society's attention to body image.) 
If you've been caught up in the rush of things, and need a minute to slow down and gain (or regain) your perspective on life, I highly recommend this book.

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