I could probably live out my life on the island in my own quiet, crazy way, much as Auntie Braxton always had. No one paid much attention to her, and if it hadn't been for the cats, she would have probably lived and died in our midst, mostly forgotten by the rest of us. Caroline was sure to leave the island, so the house would be mine after my grandmother and my parents died. (With only a slight chill I contemplated the death of my parents.) I could crab like a man if I chose. Crazy people who are judged to be harmless are allowed an enormous amount of freedom ordinary people are denied. Thus as long as I left everyone alone, I could do as I pleased. Thinking about myself as a crazy, independent old woman made me feel almost happy. (pp. 131-132)
In celebration of an author's birthday in October, I read Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson. This book was the 1981 winner of the Newbery Medal Award. The title comes from Romans 9:13: "As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." This verse is whispered into Sara Louise's ear by her grandmother when once again her twin sister Caroline steals the limelight and has everything going for her. Sara Louise (also known as Wheeze) believes her parents prefer her sister over her, and she also believes that her sister takes everything from her, from attention to friends to opportunities. The Bradshaw family live a very modest life on a tiny island in Chesapeake Bay in the 1940's. Life is not easy and many of the younger generation dream of leaving the island to make a better life for themselves. The story of an adolescent coming to terms with her dreams and desires, Jacob Have I Loved is a moving book that makes one think about how we treat one another fairly and how we deal with the fear of growing older.
I love Rass Island, although for much of my life, I did not think I did, and it is a pure sorrow to me that, once my mother leaves, there will be no one left there with the name of Bradshaw. But there were only the two of us, my sister Caroline, and me, and neither of us could stay. (p. 3)
While reading this book, I was trying to decide if I liked the story or not. I believe it hit a bit close to home for me with its treatment of adolescence and how teens view themselves and those around them, especially unhappy teens. But then as the conclusion drew near, I really became engrossed in the ending and loved the book! The story's layers left me thinking about Wheeze and her struggle to deal with the people and circumstances that formed her views of life. I highly recommend Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson.
(Mini-Challenge #4 is to read a banned book and review it. Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Patterson also fulfills this requirement.)