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Freckled: a Memoir of Growing up Wild in Hawaii

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


For fans of The Glass Castle and Educated, comes mystery author Toby Neal's personal story of surviving a wild childhood in paradise.

Born in 1965 to hippie surfer parents who just want to ride waves, use substances, and hide from society, red-headed Toby grows up as one of only a few hundred Caucasian "haole" people on the rugged, beautiful North Shore of Kauai, Hawaii.

"I wish I could turn time into honey, and watch it drip by." Told from the immersive, first-person view of a child experiencing turbulent times as they occur, Freckled will take you on a journey you won't soon forget as Toby catches an octopus with her bare hands to feed the family, careens on her first bike down a rugged dirt trail deep in the jungle, and makes money by selling magic mushrooms to a drug dealer. Living in tents and off the land without electricity or communication with the outside world, Toby escapes into reading to deal with racial harassment and indifferent parenting.

Toby's idealistic parents, breaking away from high achieving families, struggle with mental health and addiction issues as they try to live according to their own rules. Despite the hardship and deprivations of life on Kauai, they return again and again to an island whose hold on them is more powerful than any drug, as sensitive and resilient Toby clings to a dream of academic achievement and a "normal" life.

"An affecting and riveting chronicle of a singular childhood that evokes the contradictions of hippie utopian ideals in an unspoiled Hawaiian landscape long since lost." ~Kirkus Reviews

"A celebration of the best within each of us as well as a witness of human frailty and resilience, T.W. Neal's memoir is a must-read!" ~Lehua Parker, author of One Boy, No Water

"As much a meditation on inner strength as it is on family dynamics, TW Neal's gorgeous memoir Freckled isn't one to be missed. I read it two great gulps, and I can still see the palm fronds swaying above a girl who wouldn't give up. Highly recommended." - Rachael Herron, author of Fast-Draft Your Memoir: Write Your Life Story in 45 Hours

Customer Reviews

Riveting and exposed for the world to see

Toby Neal has been a favorite author of mine for sometime now. Upon hearing that she was coming out with a memoir, I jumped at the chance to read it even though memoirs aren’t my usual read. I thoroughly enjoyed traversing back in time with Toby as she takes us through her journey growing up in Hawaii. She pulled me into her early life and I connected with her lonely childhood as she strives to try and fit in. I longed for her happiness and my heart broke for the many obstacles she endured. I felt as though had it been another time and place, we could’ve been great friends. As tough as life had been for Toby, she became an amazingly wonderful woman. An example of what love and forgiveness can do if you learn to let go of what haunts you.


Toby Neal is a truly gifted writer and this book may be the greatest example of that. I was taken on an emotional roller coaster while reading Toby’s memoir. There were times my heart just ached for young Toby and I could relate to her in many ways. She ended up inspiring me through her strength and perseverance for a “normal” life. It didn’t matter how many times she had to move, what conditions she lived in, or what she had to endure in her life. She always fought for more.
Thank you for sharing this side of Hawaii with us, and for giving us a glimpse into your childhood.

Growing up Hawaii

Because I love Toby Neal I gave her memoirs a try. And what can say except that I will never be sorry. Some parts as I read I felt like I could have written it and well the water works started for me. (Tissues recommended). She takes us on a her journey from 3 to 18. Experiencing Hawaii from her POV was surprising considering my Hollywood inspired opinion of Hawaii. From raising siblings to susbatabce abuse by parents to bulling for being a haloes by the natives. What can I say other than I will be giving memoirs more of a chance in the future. Incredible informative read you won’t be sorry.

Freckled: a Memoir of Growing up Wild in Hawaii
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  • $7.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Dec 30, 2018
  • Publisher: Toby Neal
  • Seller: Draft2Digital, LLC
  • Print Length: 472 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings