It’s no false crack; Hawaiian author Chris McKinney’s latest novel Boi No Good takes an unflinching look at a Hawaii that locals live in every day and tourists never see. It’s gritty, real, and not for the faint of heart.
McKinney’s characters are people I feel I know and grew up with, from the welfare ice queens to the keep Hawaiian lands in Hawaiian hands revolutionists, to the wanna be good but no can boyz to the Kahala private school we can make a difference politicians, he’s nailed them all.
I’m always amazed at the difference between the real Hawaii and Hollywood’s version. McKinney is an insider’s insider. He knows that beneath the tourist hula shows, pink manapua boxes, and Reyns Aloha shirts a rage simmers, Pele’s lava looking for a steam vent, an anger that wants to make a mark, a difference, to change the status quo. In some island circles these feelings are shoveled in and swallowed daily at the breakfast table right along with the shoyu rice, ketchup covered scrambled eggs, and fried spam. Eventually, the bitterness starts to choke, and it can be do or die, especially in the it’s all about who you know climate of Hawaii. There is an underground attitude in the islands that violence is the universal language, a no push me or I going snap cock of the walk. And snap Boi does.
What I liked about this book is that there are no easy answers and most characters have redeeming qualities mixed with spectacular faults and myopic vision.
Boi No Good is raw, true, engaging, and sure to make you think. It’s the kind of story that stays with you long after you read the final page. But I gotta warn you, it’s graphic and in my opinion, for adults only.
Boi No Good is McKinney’s fourth book. All of his titles, Tatoo, Mililani Mauka, Bolohead Row, and Boi No Good can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and local Hawaiian bookstores.