This was a biographical print book that I picked up because it sounded interesting and in the end, by and large, it really was quite engaging. In that respect it did go downhill a little toward the end, but in Hawaii, it's all downhill right? I mean they are volcanic islands after all! There was a bit more personal stuff in here than I cared for, and I certainly didn't need to know about the author's fling with a surfer dude, but aside from that thankfully very brief inter-lewd, the monologue about Hawaii, its history, traditions, exploration, and its flora and fauna were really quiet charming and well-written.
The author was a journalist, but decided to give up that life and move to Hawaii to take on the job of a fund-raiser for a botanical garden which aimed to preserve something of old Hawaii, and to exhibit it for the public. She spent many years there becoming pleasantly habituated to the life (after some initial hiccups), and stayed in the job until her immediate boss died from a heart-attack and her new boss seemed, she writes, more intent upon slashing budgets than pursuing his predecessor's goals.
Frankly I felt the author could have done more in terms of detailing Hawaii's wildlife, plants and animals and how they interlock. She does go into some detail about how tragical has been the human occupation of the islands, and how it has resulted in a massive extinction because of human predation and human-introduced invasive species, such as rats for example, along with feral cows, mongooses (yes, you heard that right), pigs and feral cats and dogs. Hawaii is the shameful world-leader in modern extinctions of plant species for example, where an estimated two plant species go extinct every year which is five hundred times faster than any purely natural rate. This is why some conservationists call Hawaii 'the extinction capital of the world'.
The mongoose was a seriously misguided error. It was introduced because the capitalistic sugar cane producers wanted the rats controlled, but the damage mongooses have done has more than outweighed the few rats they ate, since they prey on whatever takes their fancy and this includes Hawaiian species that have suffered far more greatly than rats ever will. This is what happens when people who are clueless about science are put in charge. Of pretty much anything.
It would have been nice to have more of that kind of overview in place of the unprotected sex on a first date chapter that we got, but that opportunity has gone now. That said though, I did enjoy this book for the most part and consider it a worthy read.