Did my book club decide to read Hawaii by James Michener this year because it is the 50th anniversary of their statehood? I don’t know since the meeting for the next year’s books was when I was out of town, so I missed the discussion.
I have finished the part that bothers me the most – the arrival of the New England missionaries. Abner Hale is the type of Christian who should never be a preaching missionary – he is too strict and narrow minded. His scholarly work is outstanding. His translation of the Bible to the Hawaiian language remains strong and correct as future scholars clean up the first translations that were done by this group of men. Michener usually shows Hale in the worst light, then throws in a few passages of the good results of much of the man’s work. Much of those results were the combination of his and his wife Jerusha’s endeavors. She is the quiet center of this section – the cause of the friction between Hale and a whaler captain, Hale’s comfort and guide, and often his subtle advisor, making him see that there are other ways besides his. By the end of this section he is reprimanded by his own church, but Hale never believes he ever betrayed his God, even whe he turns his favored son away.
The book club had their meeting again this month to choose for the next year. Next year our two month book is a true saga – David McCullough’s John Adams. I read the first half of this about five years ago but never finished it. Now I will finally get to finish this biography.