‘Birth’ is a short story penned by Lehua Parker. It is a prequel to the books of the Niuhi Shark Saga, which are focused on a boy named Zader and his adoptive family.
On a Sunday morning in peaceful Lauele Town, Kahana and his faithful dog ‘Ilima decide to stroll along the beach in order to catch some fish for breakfast. While combing the reef, they make a shocking but precious discovery – a newborn baby with a curious birthmark.
Kahana quickly realizes that the abandoned child needs a loving family – someone who will be able to take care of him. The only person that comes to his mind is his great-niece, herself a mother of an infant boy. When Elizabeth sees the little one, she makes a firm decision to keep him. Alexander, or Zader for short, becomes the youngest member of the Westin family.
Everyone familiar with Lehua Parker’s Niuhi Shark Saga will be delighted with this tale, as it unravels the background of Zader’s remarkable story. Although some of the questions readers might ask – Where does Zader come from? Who is his birth mother? Why was he abandoned? – still remain a mystery, a few of the guarded secrets are finally explained.
That being said, those who have not (yet) read ‘One Boy, No Water’ – the first book in the Niuhi Shark Series – can get slightly confused. The narrative in ‘Birth’ is, undeniably, very engaging. However, there is virtually no information regarding the characters or the magical world they live in. You may notice that some of the pieces in this puzzle are missing. Indeed, they are; purposely. In order to find them, you have to read the remaining parts of Zader’s adventures. Can you call this a flaw? Absolutely not. Taking into account that the tale is a companion title to Parker’s novels, the lack of detailed descriptions is perfectly acceptable.
Now, and this is quite interesting, there are two versions of the story in this book. The first one – written in Standard American English – is for haoles, or people who don’t speak Hawaiian (unless you are haole who has at least basic knowledge of the 50th state). The second version, much more fascinating if you are acquainted with the islands’ slang and culture, uses Hawaiian words and phrases (without explanation). You are given a choice. But, if you want my advice, read both. You’ll see the difference.
When it comes to Lehua Parker’s writing style, it is absolutely exquisite. The choice of words, the balance between Standard English and Pidgin is truly marvelous. Even though the narrative is not filled with vivid imagery, you really get the feel of Hawaii – a place where aloha spirit roams the streets, people live in tune with nature, and nothing is more important than ‘ohana. I wouldn’t say the book is a page-turner, but it definitely holds your attention. After finishing the last sentence, you immediately want to immerse yourself in other tales from the Lauele Town series.
‘Birth’ is a wonderful read that will bring you a lot of enjoyment. Fantastic for children and adults alike, it’s a proof that short stories should not be dismissed out of hand. This one is surely worthy of your time.