Marty Langsmith is only five years old when a strange thunder rolls across the Hawaiian sky and life as she knows it explodes into flames. With her mother, April, and hundreds of other women and children, Marty is evacuated from the ruins of Pearl Harbor and sent into a brave new world overshadowed by uncertainty and grief. Feeling abandoned by her deployed Army officer father in the wake of the attack, Marty is haunted by nightmares of the lion in the lei shop, a creature that's said to devour happy children. But as the years pass, mother and daughter slowly begin to embrace their new life and make peace with the pain of the past.
Spanning the tumultuous war years, The Lion in the Lei Shop deftly recaptures a dramatic chapter of American history.
Originally published in 1970 and reissued for a new generation of readers as part of renowned librarian Nancy Pearl's Book Lust Rediscoveries series, this lyrical novel gives a rarely heard voice to the women and children of Pearl Harbor.
"I don't want to hear about my father!" I said. "I don't want to hear about him! I DON'T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT HIM!"
I was shouting at my mother. We were sitting by the swimming pool in the spring sunset, and everything about the evening had been relaxed and pleasant until my mother mentioned my father.
"You're getting to look like him," she said as I pulled up my skirt to keep it from getting wet. "Your hair is turning dark and so are your eyes." She watched me splashing my feet in the pool.
"You sit like him, too," she added.
That's when I did the shouting. It surprised both of us.
Mother stubbed out her cigarette in the ashtray on her chair arm. She twisted it round and round and round, long after the red coal blackened and fell apart.
"What's wrong with you, Marty?" She was shocked, but she was also puzzled. "What's come over you all of a sudden? Why don't you want to hear about your father?" Her ...
As those who bore witness to Pearl Harbor die off, a book like The Lion in the Lei Shop becomes even more important. It has fortuitously been reissued so that the memories of this time will not be lost. Beautifully written, it elucidates the tragic effects of the attack on a mother and her young child, and its future repercussions on them both
(Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).
Full Review (1206 words).
Nancy Pearl has a librarian action figure created in her likeness. You know she must be a dynamic, popular person with that kind of claim to fame!
And she is. A librarian and bookseller for years, Pearl's knowledge of and passion for books are both wide and deep. She loves books this is clear and she is dedicated to finding the just right book for the right reader. She is known, in fact, for her refreshing lack of pretense. She is not out to get you to read the most prestigious book she can find, but instead wants to connect you with the book that you will most adore. She believes the enjoyment of reading is the foundation for literacy, and she has offered that the more a person reads, the more quality books he or she ...
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