The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings

The Descendants by Kaui Hart HemmingsMatt King is the very wealthy descendant of a Hawaiian princess, who wants his children to understand the value of hard work . He therefore spends long hours at his legal firm while his adventure-loving wife Joanie raises their two daughters – Scottie age 10 and Alex age 17. When Joanie is critically injured in a speedboat accident, Matt is forced to admit that he does not really know his daughters or his wife. Alex is a recovering drug addict; foul-mouthed Scottie is being bullied at school; and Joanie has been having an affair. Although devastated by the discovery of Joanie’s infidelity, Matt decides to do the decent thing and track down his wife’s lover so that the man can say goodbye to her.

What the Armchair Critics Thought:
While this is a journey of self-discovery where most of the action takes place inside Matt’s head – the star of the novel is the State of Hawaii with its exotic food, stunning landscapes and unpretentious people. The author was born and raised in Hawaii and it was a treat to have a backstage look at the ordinary lives of its permanent residents. The characters were well drawn – each slightly flawed and yet endearing. While Matt seemed a very decent man, it was amazing to see how little interaction he had previously had with his daughters. His reassessment of his life and awkward attempts to reconnect with his children were realistic and heartbreaking. Fortunately the novel ends on a hopeful note giving the broken little family another chance.


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