Kapoho: Memoir of a Modern Pompeii by Frances H. Kakugawa, Watermark Publishing, 2011.
A totally change of pace from my usual Peace Corps reading and thus a great escape from my own writing. I decided to read one of Ms. Kakugawa’s books after reading her poetry and short stories on her blog, http://franceskakugawa.wordpress.com. I found her poetry very enjoyable and you will find examples throughout this book.
This memoir is about a young girl of Japanese ancestry living in the small village of Kapoho, Hawaii. It is a touching story and the author’s voice is clearly heard from childhood through to her adult live. A recurring theme was her goal to speak proper ‘haole’ English rather than Pidgin English. This is a story that illustrates the Japanese experience in a unique Hawaiian setting.
If her goal was to bring her village of Kapoho and her beloved family back to life than she succeeded. This is a portrait of a unique experience told in a totally delightful way. From outhouses to college, from fear to joy; her story is full of real life.
I would recommend this book to anyone wishing to read a short memoir, a memoir about Hawaiian life, or wanting to better understand the Japanese experience in Hawaii. It is a joy to read.