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HonoluluHonolulu by Alan Brennert

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Historical fiction

“In Korea in those days, newborn girls were not deemed important enough to be graced with formal names, but were instead given nicknames, which often reflected the parents’ feelings on the birth of a daughter: I knew a girl named Anger, and another called Pity. As for me, my parents named me Regret.”

Honolulu is the story of Regret who learns to read and wants to go to school.  Punished for this by her father, she decides to make a new life in Hawaii as a picture bride.  These are women who are chosen to marry Korean bachelors in Hawaii on the basis of their photos.

These marriage provide a means of escape from Korea but not happiness for the women involved.  A group of them bind together in an economic collective to try to improve the life of all of them.

In this book you learn about the evolution of Honolulu from a company town for the pineapple growers to a tourist mecca. The growing tension between the white community and the native Hawaiian and Asian communities is highlighted.  The ability of women to overcome discrimination and make their own lives is a major theme.