July 01, 2011
Last updated: January 20, 2012
Top 50 Reviewer - View all my reviews
“It is essential to make room for new life. Holding on, you cannot hear the truth.”
Sometimes the Universe just pushes you into a new way of being. That’s exactly what happened to Inette Miller. A respected journalist, single mother, and confirmed city-dweller, Miller couldn’t have guessed that a last-minute Hawaiian vacation would prompt her to leave it all behind, forever. She certainly never expected to find herself sleeping in her car on the beach and transcribing messages from supernatural sources. She was an educated Jewish professional from Portland. What was she doing here?
Miller’s memoir captures the intuitions and connections that led her on this journey, as well as the self-doubt and heartbreak she would encounter along the way. On the face of it, Grandmothers Whisper is the tale of a woman who falls in love with a charismatic prophet, named ‘Iokepa, on the island of Kaua’i. To join him, however, is not as simple as becoming his lover. ‘Iokepa’s mission in life is to reclaim the culture of native peoples and their land, and he has renounced all connections to modern life as part of his quest. Miller must travel with ‘Iokepa, which means living the life that many native islanders are forced to live, fenced in by government and corporate regulations that have nothing to do with their history, their ways. Through these trials, Miller comes to comprehend the interconnectedness of all things and her unique gift as a storyteller who can convey her understanding to others.
To her credit, Miller lets us doubt her choices right along with her. If this beautiful brown man with the flowing white hair was truly a prophet, able to receive messages from his ancestors on a regular basis, surely he would have more control over his life. Did he seduce Inette for her money? Her physical resources certainly outweigh his, and together they go through all of her money and even some of her son’s college fund. It’s easy to be skeptical, especially when the beach bum lifestyle leads to serious illness. You’re left wondering, along with Inette, if it is truly worth the struggle.
Miller’s willingness to share the whole story, warts and all, makes this memoir a compelling read. You come to respect her choices, and to trust ‘Iokepa, even when he makes the most unexpected moves.