Monday, April 11, 2011

Bibliophile's Corner

Jacob Have I Loved
by Katherine Paterson

Flap Copy description:
"Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated..." With her grandmother's taunt, Louise knew that she, like the biblical Esau, was the despised elder twin. Caroline, her selfish younger sister, was the one everyone loved.
     Growing up on a tiny Chesapeake Bay island in the early 1940's, angry Louise reveals how Caroline robbed her of everything: her hopes for schooling, her friends, her mother, even her name. While everyone pampered Caroline, Wheeze (her sister's name for her) began to learn the ways of the watermen and the secrets of the island, especially of old Captain Wallace, who had mysteriously returned after fifty years. The war unexpectedly gave this independent girl a chance to fulfill her childish dream to work as a waterman alongside her father. But the dream did not satisfy the girl she was becoming. Alone and unsure, Louise began to fight her way to a place where Caroline could not reach.

My thoughts:
Katherine Paterson's, Jacob Have I Loved, is a gritty MG novel - not for the faint of heart. The struggles that the main character, Louise, encounters are realistic, insightful, and sometimes excruciating in her journey to becoming an adult. Set in a small New England community during the onset and duration of World War II, the extreme sibling rivalry between Louise and her sister Caroline is not resolved until "Wheeze" leaves home and makes her own way. Ms. Paterson won the Newbery Medal Award for this book (1981); as she did for Bridge Over Terabithia(1978). In both stories she gives great respect to young readers in that her texts read more like adult novels. (Katherine Paterson is one of only five authors to win multiple Newbery Medal Awards.)

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