Book Review

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,  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.


About Donna Strobridge Ianni

RPCV Philippines '67-'69
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