Dear Haiti, Love Alaine
By: Maika Moulite & Maritza Moulite
Dear Haiti is about a girl who gets herself into quite a bit of trouble at school and winds up sent to Haiti to do a work program in lieu of being expelled. Alaine’s parents are both from Haiti though she has scant knowledge of the place. Her mother, a world-renowned journalist is also in Haiti dealing with the fallout of a scandal.
Oh, there’s also a family curse Alaine needs to break.
I really enjoyed Dear Haiti. It was funny, quick and a really good read.
But it was also surprisingly emotional as Alaine and her family have to deal with a heartbreaking issue. Medical not the curse although it does play a huge part in Alaine’s motives.
The story is also told with a lot of emails, texts and postcards which I always appreciate. While the book primarily is as entertaining as it strives to be I also feel like I learned something about Haiti and it brought up some good points on charity and food donations that I hadn’t thought of. Alaine’s mother and Aunt are also fantastic characters in their own right.
The mother daughter relationship is done well as her mother basically chose her career over Alaine. It’s obvious an element to their relationship but at the same time it’s done very well. Alaine struggles between hurt sometimes and lashing out but also being incredibly proud of her mother and wanting to follow in her footsteps and regretful of all the time they missed.
It helps that she has a strong relationship with her father and her Aunt.
I thought the curse thing was well handled as well. Whereas other books have gone to town and used it as a cure-all and more of a fantasy I thought this was much more leveled and realistic even though we’re talking about a so-called curse.
As to nitpicks as much as I think Alaine is a great character I can totally understand why people might not feel the same. She feels very real to me but to say she has flaws when her rashness, her stubbornness and her desperation actually put people in life threatening situations is to undersell it a little.
I also think there’s so much going on by the end it can’t help wrap up a little too quickly and neatly.
Overall I’d give this debut a 4- 4.5 on the old Goodreads star scale and totally recommend a read.