Toni B. (CHARLESTON, WV)
The Women Left Behind at Pearl Harbor
One of the fantastic Nancy Pearl Rediscoveries, this book is an unusual view of December 7, 1941 and the weeks and months after the attack. The women and children who were stationed on Pearl Harbor with their husbands and fathers are suddenly confronted with black-outs, food shortages and a world with no men. Surprisingly funny at times, the book is a page-turner that illustrates the frightening, monotonous, and challenging years of the home front. Don't miss it if you enjoy women's fiction
Elaine M. (Beaver Falls, PA)
The Lion in the Lei Shop
This was an interesting two-voice adventure of the life of an Army family stationed in Hawaii during the bombing of Pearl Harbor and their relocation to San Fransisco to await the return of their deployed husband-father. Most post war stories are about internments of the Japanese-Americans. It was interesting to read of American service families that were living in Hawaii at the time and the sacrifices that they had to make.
This would be a good young adult book selection for this period of history. Book clubs would find this an interesting read to compare to internment reads.
This was a compelling story for me because before reading this, I previewed Sophie Littlefield's internment book "Garden of Stone".
In both stories, the voice was that of the mother and daughter and the books showed the different treatment and problems of Americans after Pearl Harbor.
I truly enjoyed this easy read because it showed Americans, in Hawaii ,displaced due safety reasons; a concept that I never heard mentioned in the history and stories of the Pearl Harbor aftermath.
Judy B. (Santa Fe,, NM)
I enjoyed this book very much. I especially enjoy reading about WW II and I particularly liked reading the story from two viewpoints. Other than the attack at Pearl Harbor and its aftermath and how the characters dealt with their lives, not much happened. It was not a war story, but how war affected their everyday lives. The lion in the Lei Shop was part of the story in the beginning and the end, but basically it was Marty learning to understand the lion in the Lei Shop. A beautiful, gentle story!
Judith W. (Brooklyn, NY)
This enjoyable yet moving book shone a new light on the Pearl Harbor attack. I had not really thought much about the effects of the attacks other than the military disaster and loss. Very much appreciated the presentation of the viewpoints of both mother and daughter and the lingering effects of the war on the family. Have already recommended it to others.
This was an interesting return to history. We don't often read about the secondary impact of terrific events like Pearl Harbor. I enjoyed the two viewpoints from the five year old daughter, and her mother. The difference in age gives such different responses to any event. It was nice to have an older book brought back to the present. I am sure those who read it when it was originally published had different feelings then those of us who are reading it now. A good read for a book club.
Laura P. (Atlanta, GA)
The Lion in the Lei Shop
This novel is one of a group of out-of-print books selected for reprinting by NPR's Nancy Pearl.
April and her 5-year-old daughter Marty are living in Hawaii with April's soldier husband Lang on December 7, 1941when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor. Lang is of course immediately pulled away to military duties, while his wife and daughter are moved around the island for their safety and then shipped home. The story, told in the voices of April and Marty, retells the events of the bombing and the war years spent in April's native New England. Author Kay Starbird does a beautiful job of contrasting the memories of events held by April and her 5-year-old, and of highlighting the nature of memory itself. She also portrays the pain and uncertainty faced by families with a member at war with great compassion and understanding. The lion in the lei shop is a character is Marty's recurring war nightmare; her resolution of his continued appearance is a poignant moment. The book is beautifully written, by turns poignant and funny. I'm sorry it had to end.
Jeanette L. (Marietta, GA)
The Lion in the Lei Shop
This is the story of military families in Hawaii just after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. The book is written from the point of view of the mother April and the daughter Marty who is 5 years old and doesn't really understand the consequences of war and why her father does not come home for weekends and holidays, she feels abandoned by her deployed Army officer father.
April, and Marty with hundreds of other women and children, are evacuated from the ruins of Pearl Harbor and sent into a brave new world, in their case to Boston to Marty's grandparents. Everything is new to her and even snowflakes frighten her as she thinks "the Japs are here in Boston and they're throwing something bad and white down out of the sky." April's view is more a day to day waiting for the war to be over and the men to come home not knowing when that would be. This is a story of mothers and daughters, their hopes and fears and the devastation of war. The Lion in the Lei Shop is an imaginary fabrication that torments Marty's sleep causing her screaming nightmares.
This is a wonderful story beautifully written.