Freckled: A Memoir of Growing up Wild in Hawaii

September 3, 2019 - Comment

For fans of The Glass Castle and Educated, comes mystery author Toby Neal’s personal story of surviving a wild childhood in paradise. We never call it homeless. We’re just “camping” in the jungle on Kauai… We live in a place everyone calls paradise. Sure, Kauai’s beautiful, with empty beaches, drip-castle mountains, and perfect surf…but we’ve

For fans of The Glass Castle and Educated, comes mystery author Toby Neal’s personal story of surviving a wild childhood in paradise.

We never call it homeless. We’re just “camping” in the jungle on Kauai…

We live in a place everyone calls paradise. Sure, Kauai’s beautiful, with empty beaches, drip-castle mountains, and perfect surf…but we’ve been “camping” for six months, eating boiled chicken feed for breakfast, and wearing camouflage clothes so no one sees us trespassing in our jungle hideout. The cockroaches�leave rainbow colors all over everything from eating the crayons we left outside the tent, and now a tractor is coming to scrape our camp into the river.

Standing in front of the tent in my nightgown, clinging to my sister as we face the tractor, I know my own truth: I just want to be normal.

But Mom and Pop are addicted.
Addicted to Kauai’s beauty, to drugs, to surfing, to living a life according to their own rules out from under their high-achieving parents’ judgmental eyes. I’m just their red-headed, mouthy, oldest kid. What I want doesn’t matter.

But I’m smart. I will make a different life for myself someday if I keep up my grades no matter what happens.
No matter how often we run out of food.
No matter how many times I change schools…or don’t go to school at all.
No matter how many bullies beat me up for the color of my skin.

I might be growing up wild in Hawaii, but I have dreams I’m going to reach, no matter how crazy things get.

“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.” ~Kirkus Reviews

Comments

Anonymous says:

“WE’RE TRESPASSING DOWN MEMORY LANE” Just one beautiful line from FRECKLED, Toby Neal’s long-awaited memoir of growing up in the 1970s counterculture community of Kaua’i. This is the book that Toby Neal was born to write, and it’s the story that her friends and fans have been waiting to read for years. IT DOES NOT DISAPPOINT. It’s a story of idealistic, though self-absorbed young parents, trying to carve out a perfect life in paradise. It’s also the story of grinding poverty, failed dreams and heartbreaking love. All this from…

Anonymous says:

You need this book! This is such a wonderful book! Toby Neal shows her depth of compassion and total understanding of what it is to be “different”, as well as the hardships that go along with that. The best part though, is the way she tells this story. There is so much humor, a whole lot of normal childlike angst (that felt so familiar), as well as some sadness. I especially loved her flat out truth in some stories that had to be hard to share. Ms. Neal is such a fantastic story teller, is so descriptive that you…

Anonymous says:

Triumph Over Adversity Toby Neal has grown so much as a writer since her first Lei Crime novel and her prose is magnificent in this book. She describes small moments with such clarity and rare beauty, it’s hard to walk away from her descriptions of the darkest side of paradise.That said, this was a difficult, often painful read for me. Toby’s memoir of the first 18 years of her life is evocative yet grim. She has a way of describing things that put you right in the scene…but not scenes where the reader…

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