Book Review: The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings



The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings

Four Stars

Title: The Descendants

Author: Kaui Hart Hemmings

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: 5-15-07

Genre: Literary Fiction/Contemporary


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.




This book was a good, solid 4 stars for me. I picked it up from the library a couple of weeks ago because my boyfriend had been bugging me to read it, so that we can watch the movie version. Going into the book, I had absolutely no idea what it was about, but ended up loving it anyway.

The Descendants is a pretty quick read that takes place in Hawaii. It revolves around a middle-aged man and his family — a dying wife in a coma, his two daughters (10 years old and 18 years old), and his older daughter’s best friend, Sid, who isn’t actually related to them but acts like he is. The novel doesn’t have a whole lot of action; it’s more about the family learning about each other, all in the face of this tragedy.

The main character, Mike, doesn’t know a whole lot about his daughters, as he was a very absent father before his wife’s accident. Hilarious and heartbreaking, The Descendants is a novel about growing up and growing together. The characters are almost too real, and will remind you of people you know in real life…maybe even yourself, if you take a good, hard look.


(see this review on Goodreads)


One response to “Book Review: The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings

  1. Pingback: Weekly Wrap-Up (#1) | Tempest Books·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s