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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Descendants - Book Review

Just about every Mother's Day I do the same thing.  I rent a chick flick / weepy movie that I know Hubby won't want to see and I sit in bed, drink coffee, eat french toast and watch the movie. I've rented movies ranging from The Blind Side to The Wedding Planner to The Man Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain to Raising Helen to a whole host of other movies I've long since forgotten about. Last Mother's Day I watched The Descendants. Last Mother's Day I didn't watch it from bed, though. I was 5 months pregnant and it hurt my back to lie in bed for that long. I watched it from the couch.

I just finished reading The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings. I liked it. It was a pretty quick read. I think I finished it in just under 2 days.

It's about this Guy and his family. They Guy's wife was in an accident and was in a coma. It was part of her living will to not live by artificial means, so they take The Wife off life support. The Guy finds out that The Wife was having an affair. He's upset but feels it's necessary to give The Wife's lover a chance to say goodbye. While this is going on, The Guy also has to learn how to be a dad, not just a father to his two daughters, plus he has to figure out what to do with a bunch of land he inherited.

Like all books, the movie based on the book was a tiny bit different. There were a few tiny differences in how we learn bits and pieces about the characters. Those didn't bother me so much. You can't put every single detail into the movie and expect people to sit through it. For example, meh, I can't even think of a good example. Changing those tiny bits didn't really matter much.

There were two big things that weren't in both the movie and the book.

In the book, but not the movie - the friend of the oldest daughter is this big Stoner Dude. In the movie his dad is killed by a drunk driver, just like in the book, but in the book he's also a major perv hitting on Stoner Dude's girlfriend. Because of this, Stoner Dude hates the fact that they are looking for The Guy's wife's lover. When they do find him, The Stoner Dude secretly calls The Wife's lover's wife and tells her all about the affair. I think that is an important plot twist that shouldn't have been left out of the movie. The Wife's lover was just going to go on like nothing happened? Was The Wife's Lover's Wife going to stay married to this guy. She needed to know. He's just going to cheat on her again probably.

In the movie, but not the book - The Guy has to sit down and decide whether to sign the rights to his inherited ancestral land away or keep it for his children. In the book he just decides not to sign. There isn't a big deal made about it. In the movie he takes off his shoes, stands on the 'aina and talks about his responsibility to malama it. He realizes that selling his land to the highest bidder will make him even more financially stable than he already is, but it will not make him richer. He has a duty, a kuleana to his Hawaiian ancestry to let the land take care of him. I was waiting for that chapter in the book and I didn't get it. I felt cheated.

I give it a . . . . . . .

Dear Readers - I have written quite a few book reviews. I need to come up with a rating system. I've been thinking about what to use. I'd like to be able to say "I give this book 3 plumerias out of 5" or something like that. I'll have to give it some thought. Thanks, a
So for now my conclusion is  - the book was good. it kept me entertained but if I lended it to someone I wouldn't be too put off if I never got it back.

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