The Descendants

The Descendants

by Kaui Hart Hemmings
4.0 167


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The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings

Narrated in a bold, fearless, unforgettable voice and set against the lush, panoramic backdrop of Hawaii, The Descendants is a stunning debut novel about an unconventional family forced to come together and re-create its own legacy.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812977820
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/08/2008
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 257,797
Product dimensions: 5.19(w) x 8.01(h) x 0.73(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Kaui Hart Hemmings is the author of the critically acclaimed short-story collection House of Thieves. Her work has been published in Zoetrope, Best American New Voices, and Best American Nonrequired Reading. Hemmings grew up in Hawaii and lives with her husband and daughter in San Francisco.

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The Descendants 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 167 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was just about perfect. The dialogue--particularly in the case of Sid, Alex, and Scottie--was flawless. I'd seen the movie and enjoyed it, but had no real desire to buy the book until, on a whim, I took a look at the free sample. As soon as I started reading, I knew that I wanted more. I finished the book in one sitting and now I can't wait to buy Hemmings' book of short stories! I love the honesty that radiates from this book. I love the fact that Joanie, the wife and mother in a coma, isn't portrayed as a one-dimentional "angel" snatched too soon from her family, but as a real, quite seriously flawed woman who is nonetheless deeply loved by her husband and daughters. Every character came across as somewhat odd, certainly flawed, and yet very human and in some way likable. Joanie's unreasonable father, who defends his dementia-stricken wife one minute and shouts impatiently at her the next is perceived by the reader as sympathetic and annoying at the same time, and Sid goes from providing one-dimentional comic relief at his introduction, to proving himself to be an integral character of many complex layers by the end. I loved this book, and am eagerly anticipating reading Kaui Hart Hemmings' next effort...whatever it may be. --Kelly Armstrong.
Leah-books More than 1 year ago
Loved reading this book. Great story with great characters. couldn't put it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent read. Comical, touching. Great plot. I teared up in afew spots. Beautifully written.
JerseyGirlpvh More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It looks at loss, forgiveness, and family in a way that was very real to me. I liked that it was set in Hawaii; I got a perspective of the islands that I didn't get as a tourist. The story really drew me in. Once I started reading, I didn't want to put this down. I was shocked at two things: this author is a woman (and I thought she really captured the perspective of a man so well) and, this is one of her first books. I'm looking forward to her next book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not put down this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The funniest tragedy i have ever read. Great writing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I truly enjoyed reading this book. I could not put it down! The characters and plot draw you in. Worth the reading!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is funny & entertaining and one of the best books i have ever read! I hope the author comes out with another hit book and not be a one hit wonder
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down, really enjoyed the humor and the writing style. I did cry in parts - very emotional! Sorry it is over..
Vicki Keenan More than 1 year ago
quirky and wonderfully written, you will not want this story to end. loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book. The author really knows how to capture a moment, funny, sad, awkward and I wanted to see them succced and become a family. I haven't seen the movie, and probably won't because I enjoyed the book too much to get caught up in what they didn't get right and there was so much internal dialog with the main character I don't know how that could be interpreted adeqquately enough onto the big screen to really understand his turmoil and struggle to be the Dad. It made me laugh and cry and hope for all of them to find who they are as a family.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked this story. It is pretty well written with a wrenching storyline. I liked all the characters so much that I want to know what happens now. Glad I read the book and may not see the movie.
pjcolbert More than 1 year ago
A heart warming story of a father who faces the pending death of his wife, the reality of his present and future life with his two daughters, and the family's heritage as Hawaiians.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun and easy read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book. I am glad i picked this to read. All the characters are interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was hilarious, sad, and overall an enjoyable read. I definitely recommend it.
hbmari More than 1 year ago
Good story of a father who has been a workaholic. After his wife dies, he has to get re-acquainted with his kids and deal with unresolved issues in his marriage. Facing what is really important - family and conservation of land or money - is a topic that would be interesting to book clubs.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very touching story of family and how life can change in a moment. I was moved by the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think it was great! I really think you should read it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good read. Laugh out loud and secretly cry all mixed together. Had some trouble with pages not turning on my Nook color....but finished it
rgowin More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. Whitty, well written, easy read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sympathetic characters who are real flawed people in adifficult situation
ConstantreaderSB More than 1 year ago
This is a story about a dysfunctional family. The father is unattentive and a workaholic, the mother is in a coma caused by a boating accident and the two daughters (18 and 10) are trying to deal with the idea of their mother dying. I did not like the language from the eighteen year old especially but I gather that I am kind of old fashioned there. As the family deals with the tragedy that has consumed their lives and the knowledge of the mother's betrayal, they come to know each other better. The ending to my mind was hopeful if not happy. I enjoyed the book. I have not seen the movie.
denana More than 1 year ago