I found this book in the most peculiar of places. We were in Maui for a wedding, and prior to leaving I had researched on used book stores to visit and I found the Maui Friends of the Library, a little shack tucked in the back corner of an old school yard. I went to the Hawaii lit section and found After the Ball. A story by an Hawaiian author about a little boy living a cursed life.
An Honest Review:
Throughout reading this book I felt as though it was a memoir rather than fiction. David B. Pehallow has a talent for creating a strong relationship between the reader and Percy. Percy loves Alice Faye, dressing in his mother’s clothes, Best Foods mayonnaise, his Japanese nanny – Hatsuko, and talking to his two imaginary friends. At the beginning of the story you learn a lot about Percy and his home life. He endures living in a divorced home, although it is commonplace in today’s day and age, it was frowned upon and criticized back then. As well as, growing up unique from the other boys in the neighborhood. He expresses how he copes with his differences, and is never sorry for who he is.
Later in the novel Percy uncovers that his family is cursed, and now that he knows why all these bad things are happening, he’ll stop at nothing to make things right. While on this adventure Percy becomes friends with a Japanese spy, but unbeknownst to Percy, the kind friend he made was an integral cog in Japanese forces striking Pearl Harbour. Percy learns how to navigate becoming the man of the house, and all that entails, but still finds a way to stay true to himself seeing the world through rainbow colored glasses. It’s a beautiful coming of age story of a boy’s struggle through life in Hawaii in the 1940s.
What I learned:
Never apologize for who you are. Stand tall, and believe in yourself.
- Visit Pearl Harbour
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emma Orczy: Percy makes reference to the Scarlet Pimpernel throughout the novel drawing comparisons in character, so it left me curious to read this story and see how they relate.
Penhallow, David P. (1999). After the Ball. Hawaii: Rice Street Press.