Memoir / After three years of talking story and developing a deep friendship, Elroy Makia Malo, with the help of Pamela Young, wrote a memoir of his rich, inspiring life as one of the last residents in Kalaupapa. The style and tone of Malo’s memoir tap his talents as a celebrated chronicler and poet of Hawai’i nei.
Like all great storytellers, Mr. Malo captures vivid memories: of his early childhood in Papakolea and catching crawfish in Pauoa stream; and of September 27, 1947 when his father was told the hearbreaking news that his third child had caught what we now call Hansen’s Disease.
Poems capture the love and longings for his siblings Pili and Beka, who also contracted the disease; and his experiences battling with depression–all seeds of inspirations and challenges that he plants in our minds. Pamela Young provides equally enriching interviews, or talkstories, with other residents from Kalaupapa that often read like conversational poems. “I’m blind,” Malo writes, “but the images are still in there.” His abilities to shape those images into words for us to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel are what make this memoir an incredibly humbling experience to read.
Makia Malo with Pamela Young
Paperback, 166 pages, $17.95