The Descendants | by Kaui Hart Hemmings

The Descendants

The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings
(Random House, 2007, 283 pages)

After his wife, Joanie, is involved in a boating accident that leaves her in a coma, Matt King must suddenly take care of his two daughters on his own. Matt is usually a pretty distant father who is mostly involved with his work and deciding who to sell the family land to, which is the largest land still owned by a Hawaiian. Now that he’s getting a closer look at his daughters, he realizes what a mess they are. Scottie, his youngest, is becoming a bully and a liar while his oldest, Alex, was sent off to boarding school to kick her drug habit. After Matt learns that the hospital must remove her life support, Matt is sent into a tailspin trying to gather all their loved ones to say goodbye, including the man Joanie was having an affair with.

This was a rare occasion where I enjoyed the movie just as much as I enjoyed the book. There were only a few minor changes to the film from the book so everything still seemed authentic. The book dives a lot more into the situation with Sid, Alex’s sort of boyfriend, and why he sticks around with the Kings on their search for their mystery man. You also see more of Matt’s problems with Scottie and how baffled he is on how to help her or even how to break the news that Joanie isn’t going to get better. It was a quick read and I can see why the movie won for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars.

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