The Descendants - Kaui Hart Hemmings (Review & Giveaway)

5 Stars!!!!!

Fortunes have changed for the King family, descendants of Hawaiian royalty and one of the state’s largest landowners. Matthew King’s daughters—Scottie, a feisty ten-year-old, and Alex, a seventeen-year-old recovering drug addict—are out of control, and their charismatic, thrill-seeking mother, Joanie, lies in a coma after a boat-racing accident. She will soon be taken off life support. As Matt gathers his wife’s friends and family to say their final goodbyes, a difficult situation is made worse by the sudden discovery that there’s one person who hasn’t been told: the man with whom Joanie had been having an affair. Forced to examine what they owe not only to the living but to the dead, Matt, Scottie, and Alex take to the road to find Joanie’s lover, on a memorable journey that leads to unforeseen humor, growth, and profound revelations.

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.

 Simply amazing! I loved this book so much. It had everything. It was so heartfelt, it was so sad and very deep. This was about a very serious subject matter, one that we all hope we never have to face. And here we are slapped with it in a 282 page book.
I thought this was very well written. The descriptions were good, I did get the Island feel. But it was the character development that blew me away. I really felt these people. I know the book came before the movie but I really thought the part of Matt was made for George Clooney. The character in the book was so much like him, I had no problem picturing him in the part. I have not seen the movie yet (watching it today!) but I did watch the trailer. I had pictured the two daughters and the wife as different, so it will be interesting to see them in the movie (if they live up to my expectations).

I loved the conversations. I could seriously sit and listen to this family talk all day. It was so natural. I think it is sometimes hard to get that from a book. Conversations end up being just words on a page., but in this book I could really hear them, could pictures everything. It was excellently done.
"... Alex says "Why should I go?"
"You're the only person I have," I say. "And I want us all to be together. It will be good for us."
"Oh, so now I am back in the picture again."
"Alex, something bigger than you is occurring right now. I'm sorry about your unhappy childhood."
"If you can't handle things, let me know. I'll help, I'm here for you."
Alex laughs. I wonder if there are parents who can say things to their kids like "I love you" or "I'm here for you" without being laughed at. I have to admit it's a bit uncomfortable. Affection, in general, is unpleasant to me."
"Ester lowers her voice. "She love for me to read Mother Goose."
"Her baby book?"
"Yes, it bring her so much joy."
"She should be reading young-adult novels," I whisper.
"She read whatever she wants," Ester whispers back.
"No, I think she needs books with moral messages and lessons on how to deal with womanhood, not books about single women who can't stop having children and who live chaotic lives in a laced-up boot."
I just loved this family and all their disfunctional-ness! They were perfect. Even though Matt was a "behind the scenes/having to step forward" dad, I actually thought he was doing a pretty dang good job considering the circumstances. I mean how do you handle telling your daughters that their mother will die?

Sad, sad, sad, sad! Oh my goodness! The book was sad but the movie was just so terribly sad. I think the daughter and I just cried from the beginning to end! If you do not like sad movies - this is not for you!

The movie follows the book pretty well, there are a few parts left out. But the daughters opinion is that it is already so sad, that if they put in all the other parts people might not be able to handle it!
My only problem with what they left out was they didn't show enough of the youngest daughter, the whole first half of the book was about her and her being afraid of her mother in the coma and how the dad dealt with that. So in the movie you miss that whole concept.

The acting was great, especially George Clooney. I though he was absolutely perfect for the part. The only other person I could see doing this was Tom Hanks (as he was in "Sleepless").

All in all it was a great movie, and an even greater book!
There was quite a bit of swearing in both! but no Sex.
If you don't like tear jerkers - stay away from this - its a tear gusher!

I am giving away my copy of this book.
To enter to win this book - fill out the form below.
* Please US & Canada only.
And please only enter once -  (I go through and delete double entries).

* Winner will be chosen on Oct. 22nd.

* Winner will have 48 hrs. to respond.
* Leave a comment for an extra entry!!!


  1. So glad you liked it. I've been very very tempted to check out this one. I want to see the movie too. Great review.

    (not an entry)

  2. Its an excellent book. I never reviewed it because I had a hard time thinking what to say, but you summed it up nicely. I really need to watch my copy of the movie.

  3. Good review! I haven't heard of this book...or the movie before, one of these days I'll dig my way out of this hole that I live in! lol I'll have to check it out!

  4. I had heard of the movie, but didn't have a clue what it was about. Both the movie and the book appeal to me. I could see watching it when my husband's on a business trip - perfect time to weep shamelessly at a movie. :)

  5. This does sound like an excellent read, but too sad for me right now. I am glad that you enjoyed it, and shared your enthusiasm for it with all of us! It sounds very touching, and a tad bewitching!

  6. Great review. Sounds like a great book.

  7. Great review... looking forward to reading it and getting back here with my thoughts on it :)

  8. I'd love to read this- thanks for the great review!

  9. I wanted to see the movie so bad but didn't have a chance. I am very interested in this book.

  10. I've heard good things about the movie and usually the books are always better! So thank you for the chance to win it!

  11. Loved the review! Sounds like a great book. I can't believe that Joanie's family goes looking for her lover, I don't think I could do that. Thanks for having the giveaway.