The Descendants

  • by Kaui Hart Hemmings
  • Narrated by Jonathan Davis
  • 9 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Now a major motion picture starring George Clooney!
Matthew King was once considered one of the most fortunate men in Hawaii. His missionary ancestors who came to the islands were financially and culturally progressive - one even married a Hawaiian princess, making Matt a royal descendant and one of the state’s largest landowners. But now his luck has changed. His two daughters are out of control - 10-year-old Scottie has a smart-ass attitude and a desperate need for attention and 17-year-old Alex, a former model, is a recovering drug addict. His thrill-seeking and high-maintenance wife, Joanie, lies in a coma after a boat racing accident, and will soon be taken off life support.
The King family can hardly picture life without their charismatic mother, but as they come to terms with this tragedy, their sadness is mixed with a sense of freedom that shames them - and spurs them into surprising actions.


What the Critics Say

"Matt's journey with his girls forms the emotional core of this sharply observed, frequently hilarious and intermittently heartbreaking look at a well-meaning but confused father trying to hold together his unconventional family." (Publishers Weekly)
"[An] audaciously comic début novel.... Hemmings channels the voice of her befuddled middle-aged hero with virtuosity, as he teeters between acerbic and sentimental, scoffing at himself even as he grasps for redemption." (The New Yorker)


See More Like This

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Try it, you'll love it!

I came to this novel through watching a trailer for the movie by the same name. We'll have to wait a bit for the movie, but in the meantime, content yourself with this read. As mentioned in the book blurbs, the movie features George Clooney, and after watching some of the scenes unfold, when reading the book, his persona infuses every scene. To the complete advantage of the entire story, I will add.

This novel has that perfectly dissonant blend of humor and grace, of sarcasm and solemnity, and brilliantly handles all those "OMG what do I do now?" moments with unbelievable delicacy and with a moment-by-moment way of working things out. The added base note and a solid character in its own right is the lush ecosystem of the Hawaiian islands and their culture, and the main character's historical and emotional connection to that environment, where his family has lived and prospered for centuries. Not just another family drama in paradise! Read this one, you won't be sorry. And I think you'll enjoy the movie all the more.
Read full review

- Pamela Harvey "glam"

Not Sappy instead honestly elicits tears & laughs

I expected this book to be sappy, instead it was touching and funny with hardly a drop of sap. The characters are excellently developed, especially considering the novel is completely first person narrative. I came to know even the minor characters. This was a beautiful story of a family in decent, due to stress & sorrow, accident & adolescence, isolation & infidelity, betrayal & banality. Yet instead of ripping things apart, these pressures slowly catalyze new strengths and bonds. This novel is simple and honest. Occasionally I found myself tearing up, only to smile or laugh at the next sentence. There was very little wrong with this novel. Now, I will certainly see the movie (but I would recommend doing the book first). The protagonist seems perfectly written for Clooney. Although the narration was excellent, I sometimes wished Clooney had narrated.
Read full review

- Michael "I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-01-2010
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.