Book Review: Hives in Paradise

hiloThis was the first book I bought while on Semester at Sea.

Hives in Paradise by Midge Hill Mebane was sold to me at the Hilo Farmer’s Market on our second (and final) day in Hilo, Hawai’i by the author’s son. He also sold delicious macadamia nuts and home-grown cloves, and had a lot of interesting views about Hawai’i and their people. I wish I could remember his name, because the book mentions the children a lot. It is out of print, and self-published, and I got a signed copy, which was excellent. 

Hives in Paradise tells the story of Midge and her psychiatrist-husband deciding to move from their long-time Los Angeles home to Hilo, Hawai’i. They bring their school-aged daughter along, and leave their sons (one on his way to medical school, one off to Australia) to do what they do.

Their teenage daughter is not excited about being ripped from her comfort zone, and the move is actually a lot harder on the couple as well – being referred to as Haoles, learning to deal with the new climate and critters, waking up from earthquakes and volcanoes… and more “sedate” problems such as finding a house and fitting into a new community. And, heavens, finding a new GP!

I thought this book was quite hilarious at times and painted a really interesting picture of adapting in a new city that really felt like a whole new country. I can’t say that I was immersed in the narrative at all times, though. I suppose some of the bits about marriage and childhood and finding activities to do (Midge wasn’t working) were a little mundane to me.

I don’t regret reading it, though. I mainly saw a tourist’s view of Hilo and this, I think, gave me a different view – not entirely of a local, but not quite a tourist’s either.


Kids and dogs were generously spread like peanut butter over the street. The kids waved, the dogs chased the car.

I just love her way with words.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s