Freckled: a Memoir of Growing Up Wild in Hawaii, my story of growing up on Kauai, debuted on December 30. It's been unlike any other book launch. People who know about the book have been emailing and messaging me to tell them how the book affected them, to share their own stories of being bullied, feeling different and overcoming, and to share the joy of the book's uplifting ending.
Kirkus calls Freckled, “An affecting and riveting chronicle of a singular childhood that evokes the contradictions of hippie utopian ideals in an unspoiled Hawaiian landscape long since lost.” which is a heck of a mouthful but pretty much sums it up.
IndieReader also loved it, declaring wordily, “Personal memoirs can be written for cathartic, transformational value, even if readers are few. But in the case of FRECKLED, a complex and compelling story of family, love, race relations, Hawaii and personal growth, the audience could and should be many.”
One of my favorite quotes came from Hawaii novelist Lehua Parker, who reviewed the book on her website. “At its core, Freckled by T.W. Neal is a story of hope and a narrative of the triumphant nature of a beautiful, intelligent young girl who didn’t listen to the voices and circumstances that told her she was anything less than all she could be. It’s a universal journey, a coming of age story wrapped in ti leaves. Readers may never look at Hawaii the same way again. It’s an important work that I predict will be a touchstone in Pacific literature for generations to come.” (read her thoughtful review HERE)
The book is long, 400 pages or so, and filled with color photos–and the demand for print has been amazing! I hope you will open the pages, step back in time to join me in a first person, present tense, immersive journey into Hawaii in the 60s and 70s, a bygone era in a beautiful place and time, and discover the experiences that shaped my journey as a writer.
You can grab your copy of Freckled at any of these retailers! Happy reading!
I am really enjoying your book; I haven’t read a book I didn’t want to put down in a long time, but “Freckled” has captivated me. I can’t imagine writing a memoir–but I do enjoy reading others’ accounts of their lives. Because I was born and raised in Hawaii (have never lived anywhere else), your descriptions of nature and life in the early 70s transport me to a much gentler time. Also, I met Hawk and Bobo (and Minka and Alpin) in Kona in 1971 or 1972. Bobo was, of course, naked, and your description of her was perfect: a porpoise with braids!
Kaua’i always called to me, so in 1972 I went there to try to make a go of it. I was with my soon-to-be husband (a real POS). We stayed at the Tip-Top Motel until we found a house in Kapa’a. But there were no jobs to be had, and after 2 months we once again packed everything we owned into my VW bug and moved back to the Big Island.
I don’t want to finish reading your book (75% read)–I want it to go on and on! Mahalo!
Amazing book! Because some parts hit so close to home, I couldn’t continue listening to the audiobook for long periods at a time. I love the sensory overload of the story; and remembered my own childhood of constantly moving, being the new kid, wearing the cheapest glasses, and reading everything. Congrats on such a captivating memoir of a different time.