Jacob Have I Loved
by Katherine Paterson
The 1981 winner of the Newbery Medal takes its title from a Bible verse that says: Jacob have I loved, but Esau I hated.
Like the twins of Biblical lore, there is a bitter rivalry between Caroline and Sara Louise—at least, there is in Louise's
mind. As the nation goes through the anguish of World War II, she is having a rough time of her own.
The years of puberty and growing up are full of confusing and unpredictable feelings, especially for a girl who lives her
whole life in the shadow of her musically gifted twin sister. While everyone dotes over the delicate, sweet, and talented
Caroline, the tomboyish Louise—known as Wheeze to her friends—feels cursed by God and forsaken by man. The pressures she
feels are not at all relieved by life on an isolated island in Chesapeake bay, where the men follow the water and the women
are almost fanatically religious, where her demented grandmother lives downstairs and the one thing Louise wants—to be able
to go crabbing with her father in his boat—is denied her because she is a girl.
This story is a revealing look at a sometimes harsh, often exhilarating, way of life amid the waters of Chesapeake bay. At
the same time, it is like a very frank confession, revealing the innermost (and often not the prettiest) passions of a
troubled, teenaged heart. But some good does come out of her bottled-up anger and frustration. Louise gradually moves out of
Caroline's shadow, accepts the kind of love her parents cherish for her, and follows her own stars. It is a passionate and
colorful journey, full of beauty, laughter, sorrow, and the painful but rewarding experience of growing up.
Ms. Patersons other works include another Newbery Medal book (Bridge
to Terabithia), a Newbery Honor book (The Great Gilly Hopkins), and two books that won the National Book
Award. I gather from the brief bio at the end of this book that her life is at least as interesting as the fictional worlds
she has created. Nevertheless, a book, not a life, can be read. I think
you will enjoy this one.
Recommended Age: 12+
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