Thursday, May 28, 2009

48. Damien the Leper by John Farrow

Book Around the States - Hawaii
While visiting Tahiti, Hollywood film director, John Farrow, was inspired by the life of Father Damien, a priest who spent the last fourteen years of his life in a leper colony in the Hawaiin islands. His book follows the priest from his early childhood in a small village in Belgium, through his training to be a merchant, the change to the priesthood and his posting to Hawaii. After serving in two different locations where he was extremely succesful, he volunteered to transfer to the leper colony on the island of Molokai, knowing he would stay there the rest of his life. Farrow's descriptions of conditions in the colony are quite harrowing as are those of the inhabitants. It is easy to understand why the disease is so dreaded. Unfortunately, the book wasn't all that interesting to me. Damien was certainly an admirable character with his immense energy and drive, but I never felt a true connection to him. I did do some further research on leprosy and the islands, which was interesting, but was quite glad when the book was over.
Rating: 3

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