Team Jacob

I've been on a Katherine Paterson kick for the past few months. I watched the movie version of Bridge to Terabithia, and found out that the story was based on the death of her son's best friend. I read The Great Gilly Hopkins for my children's lit class and la-la-loved it. And most recently, I picked up Jacob Have I Loved.

This is another one that I was really uninterested in as a child. I know I do this a lot, but I'm going to blame the title. It's part of a quote from the Bible (there's no actual Jacob character in the book), and even though I didn't know that before, it always sounded terribly old-fashioned to me. (If it had been Jacob I Have Loved, that might have been a different story.)

Well, the story isn't set in B.C. times, but it does take place well before I was born—in the 1940s. Not a problem. The protag, Sara Louise (or "Wheeze," as she is unfortunately nicknamed), lives on an island in the Chesapeake Bay and alternately spends her time crabbing with her dorky male sidekick and making herself sick with envy over her beautiful, talented twin sister, Caroline. The book spans several years in Wheeze's life and doesn't center on any one event, but there were two scenes in the book that stood out to me as the most exciting. The first is when Caroline has a brilliant idea for getting people on the island to adopt a bunch of homeless kitties. And second ... second is when Wheeze starts to get a tingly feeling about the 70-year-old captain who has recently returned to the island!

So there are some juicy parts, and overall it's a satisfying read. But Jacob Have I Loved is not my new favorite. K Paterson is a masterful writer without a doubt; I just found the tale of Wheeze a bit too sprawling for my tastes. C'est la vie.

This is my fourth book for the Shelf Discovery Challenge. Just two more to go!


Julie P. said...

I know some people absolutely love this one. Katherine Paterson is amazing!

Sadako said...

I adored this one as a kid--read it quite a few times.

Looking back, the plot about Louise crushing on the 70 year old captain is pretty risque. I didn't think it was all that weird as a kid but now I'm thinking, "Thank god the book banners didn't get to it." Unless they did? They get to all the great ones.

I also love this book for introducing me to some old timey jokes, like, "God thinks he's FDR" and "Why do radio announcers have small hands?" "Wee paws/we pause for station identification."