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Reviewed by Stephen Fisher for Readers' Favorite
Kahana - The Untold Stories by Ann Kennedy is an amazing piece of literary fiction written in the form of the autobiography of Kim Kahana. Young Kim is staying with his teacher's family while Kim's father is at sea as the chef for the Admiral of the Coast Guard. The story begins with Kim and some other boys racing to the top of a mountain. They reach the summit just as the Japanese are attacking Pearl Harbor. Martial law is declared and the islanders' lives are uprooted. All of Hawaii's natives are fingerprinted, processed and put on curfew. After one failed attempt, it takes 4 years of mastering martial arts and the end of WWII for Kim to sneak aboard a ship leaving for San Francisco. From there he makes his way to his uncle who lives in New York City.
Ms. Kennedy does an outstanding job of telling Kim's story of jumping on trains, escaping homes for juvenile delinquents, and meeting a host of people that help him to build his character. When the Korean War breaks out and Kim is drafted, the author knows enough about the airborne rangers to vividly describe how he is promoted to sergeant. The author's writing style was spot on as she described the horrors of war and the grenade that nearly ended his life. With Kim blinded and shattered, she describes the ex-figure skater that helps him develop his other senses. From there he begins traveling across the country again and falls in love with motorcycles, choppers, and the world of stuntmen in the movies.
Along with all of his adventures is Kim Kahana's relentless refusal to let his disabilities stop him. He is an inspiration of what true courage is all about. Our hero is a daredevil and legendary stuntman for some of the most famous actors in Hollywood. Ann Kennedy's Kahana - The Untold Stories comes complete with some photos from our hero's personal collection. As soon as I began reading this book, it was almost impossible to put down. When I finally got to the end, parting was such sweet sorrow. All I could say was, "Wow!"