Reader reviews and comments on The Lion in the Lei Shop, plus links to write your own review.

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The Lion in the Lei Shop

by Kaye Starbird

The Lion in the Lei Shop
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2013, 276 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2013, 292 pages

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There are currently 19 reader reviews for The Lion in the Lei Shop
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Judith W. (Brooklyn, NY) (05/28/13)

New perspective
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.
Judy B. (Santa Fe,, NM) (05/28/13)

Understanding
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!
Elaine M. (Beaver Falls, PA) (05/28/13)

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.
djn (05/28/13)

good read
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) (05/27/13)

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.
Judith G. (Ewa Beach, HI) (05/19/13)

Living throug a war
I asked for this because I live in Hawai'i and have a daily reminder of THE WAR....driving by Pearl Harbor. As a young girl (much like Marty) on December 7 I felt no immediate impact and that's because I lived in California then. While reading this book I felt a close connection with the characters while enjoying the description of spots on this island. The Waianae coast must have been beautiful in the 40s. Anyone interested in the history of 'a day of infamy' from a different perspective should enjoy this book.
Jeanette L. (Marietta, GA) (05/19/13)

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.
Power Reviewer Cam G. (Murrells Inlet, SC) (05/17/13)

The Lion in the Lei Shop
The Lion in the Lei Shop by Kaye Starbird is one in a series of novels called "Book Lust Discoveries"...these are novels that had been published between 1960 and 2000, were out of print, but chosen for reprint by NPR commentator, Nancy Pearl because they were such good books.

She was so right on this particular book...I thought it was wonderful! The book begins on Dec.7, 1941, the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. It is a beautifully written account, spoken in two voices, that of a mother and daughter who live through the bombing, evacuate to the States and learn to survive without the husband/father who is left behind to serve his country.

This is a poignant, sad, funny story...I couldn't wait to finish the book, but then when I did, wished I could start it all over again.
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