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Follow the Author
Local: A Memoir Paperback – Jan. 1 2023
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A powerful, lush memoir about a Hawaiian woman who ran away from paradise to discover who she is and where she belongs.
Born and raised in Hawai‘i by a father whose ancestors are indigenous to the land and a mother from the American South, Jessica Machado wrestles with what it means to be “local.” Feeling separate from the history and tenets of Hawaiian culture that have been buried under the continental imports of malls and MTV, Jessica often sees her homeland reflected back to her from the tourist perspective―as an uncomplicated paradise. Her existence, however, feels far from that ideal. Balancing her parents’ divorce, an ailing mother, and growing anxiety, Jessica rebels. She moves to Los Angeles, convinced she’ll leave her complicated family behind and define herself. Instead, her isolation only becomes more severe, and her dying mother follows her to California. For Jessica, the only way to escape is a reckless downward spiral.
Interwoven with a rich and nuanced exploration of Hawaiian history and traditions, Local is a personal and moving narrative about family, grief, and reconnecting to the land she tried to leave behind.
From the Publisher
“Machado movingly excavates notions of identity, family, and Native culture in her debut, a memoir…[Her] narrative hums with raw emotion...Her depiction of Hawaii is far from the carefree paradise shaped by tourists and Western colonialism and instead offers a sharp consideration of class distinctions and the islands’ history. The result is a luminous coming-of-age portrait.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Mixing in Hawaiian history and folklore throughout her memoir, Machado offers a heady and enticing read.” ―Booklist
“At long last, a book that shatters the colonial gaze too often cast on the Pacific; here, Jessica Machado brings the islands to life with incendiary dynamism and pitch-perfect prose. A mesmerizing portrait of a woman, her ‘ohana, and the ancestral knowledge deep within ― I never wanted this to end. Local is an unforgettable debut and a triumph for Kanaka and APIA literature.” ―T. Kira Madden, author of Long Live the Tribe of the Fatherless Girls
“Machado is a ferociously talented writer who blends insight, compassion, history, and love into this breathtaking story of home, family, and belonging. This book is necessary reading for anyone who has ever wanted to understand Hawai’i, their families, or themselves.” ―Lyz Lenz, author of Belabored
“A deeply moving memoir about navigating pain―both personal and systemic―through the complex history of Hawai’i. By revealing her own story, she also reveals the stories of the Kanaka, and the result is both heartbreaking and uplifting.” ―Samhita Mukhopadhyay, author of the forthcoming The Myth of Making It
About the Author
Jessica Machado is an editor at NBC News. Previously, she was a staff editor at Vox, the Daily Dot, and Rolling Stone. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Cut, BuzzFeed, Vice, and Elle, among others. Born and raised in Hawai‘i, she currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. For more information, visit www.jessica-machado.com.
- Publisher : Little A (Jan. 1 2023)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 236 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1542027330
- ISBN-13 : 978-1542027335
- Item weight : 249 g
- Dimensions : 13.97 x 2.54 x 20.96 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,168,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #147 in Pacific Islander Biographies
- #969 in Native American Biographies
- #9,125 in Social History (Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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The memoir reads like a story!
Top reviews from other countries
The sections on the language, culture, history, and quite frankly brutalization of Hawaii were interesting, graceful, and informative:
"Aloha is a very real, very powerful thing—a force of love and gratitude you can feel in the breeze, in the ocean, and as you bite into laulau made by a friend. In fact, aloha ‘āina, or love of the land, is at the heart of sovereignty. Aloha ‘āina is what guided Pele, Hi‘iaka, and the many other akua and mortal Kānaka who did not just play nice and allow things to happen, who instead stood up for the land. Aloha should be reserved for what gives you sustenance, what grounds you, what provides you with connection and healing. Unlike what the tourist industry would have you believe, aloha should not be watered down to a pleasantry granted to anyone who stumbles upon cheery Natives. It should not be equated to a blanket niceness. Niceness isn’t an effective solution for when situations get complicated or when the sacred gets disrespected."
The rest of the book is a mix of her life growing up into an angsty, often inebriated young woman amid divorced parents, step parents, and step siblings. It often makes it hard to have empathy for her situation, due to her actions. Do I see the parallels drawn between her and the timing for the scattered information about Hawaii? Yes. Am I completely unsympathetic? No, we were all young and foolish at one point.
She also uses the book to talk about her family history, including a secret her mother kept until she passed away. This feels uncomfortable and intrusive, and makes me very sad for her mother in ways I doubt the author intended.
I'm wavering between 3 and 4 stars for this one, but that last part is deeply unsettling on so many levels...
I gave it 5 stars because I enjoyed reading this. Since I’ve often had thoughts like : why would anyone who lives in Hawaii find anyplace else appealing? Or why do Californians need to go to Las Vegas for fun? With migration always seeming to go the way of accretion some people heading east to migrate is also happening.
It is an autobiography not a memoir so far. Pretty preachy and boring. Statements like “ only later would I realize how much of the picture I had missed”. The reverse of Glen Becks I have something important I’ll explain tomorrow. So far the author is a healthy adolescent surrounded by annoying adults. Some pretty selfish and immature.
That was my first impression of this book. If you enjoy autobiography you would like this book. I thought it might become a book about recovery but it is not that. Neither is it gossip but the author really “outs” her family’s messiness and doesn’t point the way for people who may follow. But it’s heart wrenching and honest and I loved the book recommendation at the end of the book. The only thing I would say that would have made it a better read for me would be a glossary of many of the words and phrases. The only Hawaiian word I understand is Aloha. But there was a lot more valuable concepts covered.
The author is a very skilled writer (English class in Hawaii didn't generally create great writers, and I can still remember telling my high school English teacher there that it wasn't actually Troy that captured Helen and took her to Paris!) and that was immediately apparent as I started reading last night. I was amused when I discovered how she'd been raised with proper English in a state where that was rare!
I've not yet finished the whole book, but I will tonight, and I'm immensely enjoying it. The snippets of life, of history, and the skill with which they're woven together has me in love with the book, and eager to pass along a well-earned 5-star review. Thank you, for the sentimental journey through what was once my home, and for the added insights that I'd not seen before. I'm sure this book will succeed!