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Jacob Have I Loved

Jacob Have I Loved

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Jacob Have I Loved

3/5 (913 оценки)
207 страниц
3 часа
6 окт. 2009 г.


Katherine Paterson's remarkable Newbery Medal-winning classic about a painful sibling rivalry, and one sister’s struggle to make her own way, is an honest and daring portrayal of adolescence and coming of age. 

A strong choice for independent reading, both for summer reading and homeschooling, as well as in the classroom, Jacob Have I Loved has been lauded as a cornerstone young adult novel and was ranked among the all-time best children's novels in a survey published by School Library Journal.

"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, angry Louise reveals how Caroline has robbed her of everything: her hopes for schooling, her friends, her mother, even her name. While everyone pampers Caroline, Wheeze (her sister's name for her) begins to learn the ways of the watermen and the secrets of the island, especially of old Captain Wallace, who has mysteriously returned after fifty years.

The war unexpectedly gives this independent girl a chance to fulfill her dream to work on the water alongside her father. But the dream does not satisfy the woman she is becoming. Alone and unsure, Louise begins to fight her way to a place for herself outside her sister's shadow. But in order to do that, she must first figure out who she is...

6 окт. 2009 г.

Об авторе

Katherine Paterson is one of the world’s most celebrated and beloved authors. Among her many awards are two Newberys and two National Book Awards, and she was recently named a "Living Legend” by the Library of Congress. She has been published in more than 22 languages in a variety of formats, from picture books to historical novels.

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Jacob Have I Loved - Katherine Paterson


During the summer of 1941, every weekday morning at the top of the tide, McCall Purnell and I would board my skiff and go progging for crab. Call and I were right smart crabbers, and we could always come home with a little money as well as plenty of crab for supper. Call was a year older than I and would never have gone crabbing with a girl except that his father was dead, so he had no man to take him on board a regular crab boat. He was, as well, a boy who had matured slowly, and being fat and nearsighted, he was dismissed by most of the island boys.

Call and I made quite a pair. At thirteen I was tall and large boned, with delusions of beauty and romance. He, at fourteen, was pudgy, bespectacled, and totally unsentimental.

Call, I would say, watching dawn break crimson over the Chesapeake Bay, I hope I have a sky like this the day I get married.

Who would marry you? Call would ask, not meanly, just facing facts.

Oh, I said one day, I haven’t met him yet.

Then you ain’t likely to. This is a right small island.

It won’t be an islander.

Mr. Rice has him a girl friend in Baltimore.

I sighed. All the girls on Rass Island were half in love with Mr. Rice, one of our two high school teachers. He was the only relatively unattached man most of us had ever known. But Mr. Rice had let it get around that his heart was given to a lady from Baltimore.

Do you suppose, I asked, as I poled the skiff, the focus of my romantic musings shifting from my own wedding day to Mr. Rice’s, do you suppose her parents oppose the marriage?

Why should they care? Call, standing on the port washboard, had sighted the head of what seemed to be a large sea terrapin and was fixing on it a fierce concentration.

I shifted the pole to starboard. We could get a pretty little price for a terrapin of that size. The terrapin sensed the change in our direction and dove straight through the eelgrass into the bottom mud, but Call had the net waiting, so that when the old bull hit his hiding place, he was yanked to the surface and deposited into a waiting pail. Call grunted with satisfaction. We might make as much as fifty cents on that one catch, ten times the price of a soft blue crab.

Maybe she’s got some mysterious illness and doesn’t want to be a burden to him.


Mr. Rice’s finance. I had picked up the word, but not the pronunciation from my reading. It was not in the spoken vocabulary of most islanders.

"His what?"

The woman he’s engaged to marry, stupid.

How come you think she’s sick?

Something is delaying the consumption of their union.

Call jerked his head around to give me one of his looks, but the washboards of a skiff are a precarious perch at best, so he didn’t stare long enough to waste time or risk a dunking. He left me to what he presumed to be my looniness and gave his attention to the eelgrass. We were a good team on the water. I could pole a skiff quickly and quietly, and nearsighted as he was he could spy a crab by just a tip of the claw through grass and muck. He rarely missed one, and he knew I wouldn’t jerk or swerve at the wrong moment. I’m sure that’s why he stuck with me. I stuck with him not only because we could work well together, but because our teamwork was so automatic that I was free to indulge my romantic fantasies at the same time. That this part of my nature was wasted on Call didn’t matter. He didn’t have any friends but me, so he wasn’t likely to repeat what I said to someone who might snicker. Call himself never laughed.

I thought of it as a defect in his character that I must try to correct, so I told him jokes. Do you know why radio announcers have tiny hands?


Wee paws for station identification, I would whoop.


"Don’t you get it, Call? Wee paws. Wee Paws. I let go the pole to shake my right hand at him. You know, little hands—paws."

You ain’t never seen one.

One what?

One radio announcer.


Then how do you know how big their hands are?

I don’t. It’s a joke, Call.

I don’t see how it can be a joke if you don’t even know if they have big hands or little hands. Suppose they really have big hands. Then you ain’t even telling the truth. Then what happens to your joke?

It’s just a joke, Call. It doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not.

It matters to me. Why should a person think a lie’s funny?

Never mind, Call. It doesn’t matter.

But he went on, mumbling like a little old preacher about the importance of truth and how you couldn’t trust radio announcers anymore.

You’d think I’d give up, but I didn’t.

Call, did you hear about the lawyer, the dentist, and the p-sychiatrist who died and went to heaven?

Was it a airplane crash?

No, Call. It’s a joke.

Oh, a joke.

Yeah. You see, this lawyer and this dentist and this p-sychiatrist all die. And first the lawyer gets there. And Peter says—

Peter who?

Peter in the Bible. The Apostle Peter.

He’s dead.

I know he’s dead—

But you just said—

Just shut up and listen to the joke, Call. This lawyer comes to Peter, and he wants to get into heaven.

A minute ago you said he was already in heaven.

Well, he wasn’t. He was just at the pearly gates, okay? Anyhow, he says he wants to get into heaven, and Peter says he’s sorry but he’s looked at the book and the lawyer was wicked and evil and cheated people. So he’s got to go to hell.

Does your mother know you use words like that?

Call, even the preacher talks about hell. Anyhow, this lawyer has to give up and go to hell. Then this dentist comes up and he wants to get into heaven, and Peter looks at his book and sees that this guy pulled people’s teeth out just to get their money even when their teeth were perfectly good and he knew it.

"He did what?"

Call, it doesn’t matter.

It don’t matter that a dentist pulls out perfectly good teeth just to make money? That’s awful. He ought to go to jail.

Well, he went to hell for it.

Pulling out perfectly good teeth— he mumbled, pinching his own with the fingers of his left hand.

Then the p-sychiatrist—

The what?

I was an avid reader of Time magazine, which, besides the day-old Baltimore Sun, was our porthole on the world in those days, so although psychiatry was not yet a popular pastime, I was quite aware of the word, if not the fact that the p was silent. Time was probably the source of the joke I was laboring to recount.

A p-sychiatrist is a doctor that works with people who are crazy.

Why would you try to do anything with people who’re crazy?

To get them well. To make their minds better. Good heavens. We paused to net a huge male crab, a true number one Jimmy, swimming doubled over a she-crab. He was taking her to the thick eelgrass, where she would shed for the last time and become a grown-up lady crab—a sook. When she was soft, there would be a proper crab wedding, of course, with the groom staying around to watch out for his bride until her shell was hard once more, and she could protect herself and her load of eggs on her own.

Sorry, Mr. Jimmy, I said, no wedding bells for you.

Now this old Jimmy didn’t much like being deprived of his sweetheart, but Call pinched him from behind and threw each of them in a separate bucket. She was a rank peeler—that is, it wouldn’t be more than a couple of hours before she shed. Our bucket for rank peelers was almost full. It was a good day on the water.

Well, like I was saying, this p-sychiatrist comes up to Peter, and Peter looks him up in the book of judgment and finds out he’s been mean to his wife and kids and tells him to go to hell.


I ignored him. Otherwise I’d never get the story finished. So the p-sychiatrist starts to leave, and then Peter says all of a sudden: ‘Hey! Did you say you were a p-sychiatrist?’ And the guy says, ‘Yes, I did.’ I was talking so fast now, I was almost out of breath. And Peter says, ‘I think we can use you around here after all. You see, we got this problem. God thinks he’s Franklin D. Roosevelt.’

"God what?"

You know when people are crazy they think they’re somebody important—like Napoleon or something.

"But, Wheeze, God is important."

It’s a joke, Call.

How can it be a joke? There ain’t neither funny about it. He had broken into a waterman’s emphatic negative.

Call, it’s funny because Franklin D. Roosevelt has got too big for his britches. Like he’s better than God or something.

But that’s not what you said. You said—

I know what I said. But you gotta understand politics.

Well, what kinda joke is that? Fiddle. Call’s cuss words were taught to him by his sainted grandmother and tended to be as quaint as the clothes she made for him.

When the sun was high and our stomachs empty, Call stepped off the washboards into the boat. I shipped the pole and moved up with him to the forward thwart, where we put the oars into the locks and rowed the boat out of the eelgrass into deeper water and around to the harbor.

Captain Billy’s son Otis ran the crab shipping part of his father’s business, while his father and two brothers ran the ferry. We sold our soft crabs, peelers, and the terrapin to Otis, then split the money and the hard crabs. Call ran home to dinner, and I rowed back around the island as far as the South Gut, where I traded oars for the pole and poled the rest of the way home. The South Gut was a little ditch of water, one of many that crisscrossed Rass, and a natural garbage dump. The summer before, Call and I had cleaned it out (it had been clogged with rusting cans and crab pots, even old mattress springs) so I could pole the skiff through it all the way to my own backyard. Rass might be short on trees, but there was a loblolly pine sapling and a fig tree that my mother had planted on our side of the gut, as well as an orphan cedar on the other. I hitched my skiff to the pine and started at a trot for the back porch, a bucket of hard crabs in one hand and a fistful of money in the other.

My grandmother caught me before I got to the door. Louise Bradshaw! Don’t you go coming in the house dirty like that. Oh, my blessed, what a mess! Susan, she called back in to my mother, she’s full ruined every scrap of clothes she owns.

Rather than argue, I put my crab bucket and money on the edge of the porch and stepped out of my overalls. Underneath I had on my oldest cotton dress.

Hang them overalls on the back line, now.

I obeyed, pinning the straps securely to the clothesline. Immediately, the breeze took them straight out, as though Peter Pan had donned them to fly across our yard toward never-never land across the Bay.

I was humming with goodwill, Come, Thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace . . . My grandmother was not going to get me today. I’d had a right smart haul.

Caroline was shelling peas at the kitchen table. I smiled at my sister benevolently.

Mercy, Wheeze, you stink like a crab shanty.

I gritted my teeth, but the smile was still framing them. Two dollars, I said to my mother at the stove, two dollars and forty-five cents.

She beamed at me and reached over the propane stove for the pickle crock, where we kept the money. My, she said, that was a good morning. By the time you wash up, we’ll be ready to eat.

I liked the way she did that. She never suggested that I was dirty or that I stank. Just—By the time you wash up— She was a real lady, my mother.

While we were eating, she asked me to go to Kellam’s afterward to get some cream and butter. I knew what that meant. It meant that I had made enough money that she could splurge and make she-crab soup for supper. She wasn’t an islander, but she could make the best she-crab soup on Rass. My grandmother always complained that no good Methodist would ever put spirits into food. But my mother was undaunted. Our soup always had a spoonful or two of her carefully hoarded sherry ladled into it. My grandmother complained, but she never left any in the bowl.

I was sitting there, basking in the day, thinking how pleased my father would be to come home from crabbing and smell his favorite soup, bathing my sister and grandmother in kindly feelings that neither deserved, when Caroline said, I haven’t got anything to do but practice this summer, so I’ve decided to write a book about my life. Once you’re known, she explained carefully as though some of us were dim-witted, once you’re famous, information like that is very valuable. If I don’t get it down now, I may forget. She said all this in that voice of hers that made me feel slightly nauseated, the one she used when she came home from spending all Saturday going to the mainland for her music lessons, where she’d been told for the billionth time how gifted she was.

I excused myself from the table. The last thing I needed to hear that day was the story of my sister’s life, in which I, her twin, was allowed a very minor role.


If my father had not gone to France in 1918 and collected a hip full of German shrapnel, Caroline and I would never have been born. As it was, he did go to war, and when he returned, his childhood sweetheart had married someone else. He worked on other men’s boats as strenuously as his slowly healing body would let him, eking out a meager living for himself and his widowed mother. It was almost ten years before he was strong enough to buy a boat of his own and go after crabs and oysters like a true Rass waterman.

One fall, before he had regained his full strength, a young woman came to teach in the island school (three classrooms plus a gymnasium of sorts), and, somehow, though I was never able to understand it fully, the elegant little schoolmistress fell in love with my large, red-faced, game-legged father, and they were married.

What my father needed more than a wife was sons. On Rass, sons represented wealth and security. What my mother bore him was girls, twin girls. I was the elder by a few minutes. I always treasured the thought of those minutes. They represented the only time in my life when I was the center of everyone’s attention. From the moment Caroline was born, she snatched it all for herself.

When my mother and grandmother told the story of our births, it was mostly of how Caroline had refused to breathe.

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Что люди думают о Jacob Have I Loved

913 оценки / 39 Обзоры
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  • (4/5)
    Louise and Caroline are twins, but they are nowhere near identical. In Louise's eyes, it is Caroline who is brilliantly talented and it is Caroline who is beautiful; Louise finds it is Caroline who is given special privileges and treats while Louise is given nothing. The story is told from Louise's point-of-view so it is hard to tell whether Caroline's special treatment is real or is just the way it is seen from the eyes of a jealous sister. In some ways, it is obvious that Louise is cast aside; Louise's grandmother has nothing but disdain for her. Whatever the reality of the preferential treatment, it is very real to Louise. I couldn't help feeling deep sorrow for Louise as she is continually set aside and set aside for a lovelier and gifted sister.
  • (5/5)
    It's been quite some time since I read this book. It's about twins growing up in an isolated island community and how the elder copes with her younger sister's favored status. In some ways it reminded me of the place I lived at the time - an island off the coast of British Columbia. It is a tale of successful passage to adulthood and all the fear and pain that go with it.
  • (4/5)
    Sara Louise is intensely jealous of her twin sister Caroline who is beautiful, fragile and musically talented. They live on a Chesapeake Bay Island with their dad, who is a fisherman/crabber/oyster gatherer, their mom, who is busy and kind, and their grandmother, who is devout, grumpy, spooky, mean and mentally ill. Life seems so unfair to Sara Louise who always feels overshadowed by her twin. She develops a friendship with a nice boy (whom her sister later marries) and an old man that she has a crush on for a while. Sara Louise spends so much time being angry and trying to find her place in this world, which she is not really able to do until she finally grows up and leaves the island.
  • (5/5)
    I think that the plot in this book is fantastic. The main focus is the topic of sibling rivalry- which many individuals can relate to. I still find myself feeling sorry for the main character after reading it a few years ago. Some, however, say that there are many opportunities in the book that the main character had to go and make her life better. So another message I think this book conveyed to me is to not feel sorry for myself but to try and take up every opportunity that comes knocking at my door. I almost cried after reading this book. This is a truly amazing book and deserves the Newbery Award completely.
  • (3/5)
    Caroline is beautiful, musically gifted, and good; she is the shining star of a small town on the water. The story is told by her twin sister Louise, who is almost sick with jealousy and longing. Louise is not a flawless person, but I loved her just the same: her work-roughened hands, her terrible puns, her puzzlement at her anger when a friend falls in love with her sister. It's a good book about complicated family relationships, and Paterson never pulls back on showing the truth of it. In the end, both sisters manage to break free and become their own people.

  • (3/5)
    The story of twin girls growing up on a Chesapeake Bay island where one girl compares herself to Esau, the older despised child. Sara Louise has as she sees it a perfect sister name, Caroline, whom everyone looks after. Sara Louise hates her sister and cannot stand to be around her. She loves being outside and catching crabs and oysters like her father. Sara Louise has a bitterness she finally overcomes several years later. Caroline marries Sara Louise's best friend after moving away to take a singing scholarship in New York. Sara Louise befriends a man who moves back to the island, but finds after a tragic storm that she might love him, even though he is much older than she. Events never turn for her benefit, so she is very negative about life. She resolves to helping her father for the rest of her life when the older man she admires encourages her to do whatever she wants with her life. She then decides to go to college and ends up in Kentucky as a nurse and midwife, married to a Catholic man.I think this book would be more appropriate for high school girls. Discussion could be sparked with the students about how there was a failure to communicate between the family and Sara Louise. I think much of her bitterness could have been overcome earlier in her life if she had talked more with those in her family. Students today could compare this family's culture with their own. Even though these people didn't have outside distractions, they still didn't seem to communicate very much. The students could also research this island to see if it is real and how the weather patterns could really affect an island like the one in the book.
  • (3/5)
    It took me a few times to get into this book - it starts off in the 'present' and then heads back to the past. But once I got into it, I just kept reading. It is a rough book. Another reviewer called it 'whiney,' but I don't think so. I think this is often how it is, life is full of unfairness and awful surprises. In fact, I think that reviewer was male, and I feel like this book is much more relatable if you're female. Anyway, I enjoyed it. Time for more Paterson!
  • (5/5)
    I have to say I wasn’t too sure about this book. I haven’t read any other Katherine Paterson although I did see the movie, Bridge to Terabithia. The summary just didn’t really grab me. However it wasn’t long into the book before I didn’t want to put it down. I felt pure anger towards Caroline and the parents for their treatment of Louise. I was enraged quite a few times during the book.

    I liked the writing style and the story and look forward to reading more Katherine Paterson. I can see why it won the Newbery Award in 1981.
  • (5/5)
    This book has broken my heart and then put the pieces back together so gently I didn’t even realize it was mended. It was difficult for me to get into the beginning of Jacob Have I Loved. I thought I had read it before but it turned out to be a different book than I thought so I didn’t know what to expect. Then, I kept waiting for Jacob to appear. Who was he? What was his story? Finally, about 50 pages in, I let go of waiting for Jacob and just fell into the story. I couldn’t put it down after that. The story grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. Then, it began shaving off pieces of my heart until it finally shattered what was left with one quick moment.I knew it was coming. I could feel it about to happen. Well, I could feel the build-up that something was going down but at first I didn’t know if it was going to be good or bad. I just knew it was big. Then, I knew it was bad. I could see what was going to happen but she didn’t know yet. I wanted to shake her “don’t you know what is going to come next?” Then, she knew, and I was heartbroken. I didn’t know if we would ever recover but by the end of the book I was yelling “don’t forget the first one.” And after all that I closed the book with a smile on my face.I love Louise and though she lived a very different life from me, so much of her felt familiar. Oh Jacob Have I Loved, how I have loved you.
  • (2/5)
    I recognize the literary merits of this book, but personally, I didn't care much for it.The story is narrated by Louise, who is terribly jealous (with fair justification) of her twin sister Caroline. Caroline is talented, personable, and gets all the attention. Louise is plain, untalented, unladylike, and not as personable either. I sympathized with Louise for the way she was relegated to second place her whole life... but at the same time, even as the narrator, she didn't come off as greatly likable. I believe that was what I disliked most. There were two or three chapters that were about, (although discussed is YA appropriate language), Louise feeling a sexual attraction to a 70 year old man who was a friendly neighbor. Thankfully, the man neither noticed nor reciprocated her interest... but I found that subject matter a bit unsettling all the same.The last few chapters brought Louise all the way into adulthood. Somehow that didn't feel right. Having read the whole book as the thoughts of a 14 year old, it seemed strange to have her reach 30 something before the end. It's well written. It won the Newberry, and I may be deserving. But as a matter of taste, I didn't care much for it.
  • (4/5)
    her books always give me such a feeling of weight, of something squeezing the breath out of me, and this one is the heaviest so far, i think: the terrible loneliness of it, the suffocating confines of a little island where everybody knows everyone and there's no space for any difference, the jealousy, the terrible, heavy want to be loved, to be known. i loved how there was no catharsis, no magical moment of being right with the world, just sort of grim, terrified hanging on until managing to let yourself go, finally, for your sake and not others'. i'm not quite sure how to feel about the ending, about recreating the same closed-off space you ran from - though it probably says more about me than sarah - and would it be enough, and would her own children be telling same story sometime down the line - but even so, getting there was a relief, an exhale: she survived herself. what's more to ask?
  • (3/5)
    I felt like this book was three loosely joined parts, the description of life on the island, Luise's relationship with the Captain, and then Luise's life afterwards. When I finished, I felt like I was still waiting to see what will happen, the story just tapered off. The description of Rass is so vivid, I could almost smell things, and that made this a pleasant read.
  • (5/5)
    It has been quite a while since the last time I read this. I had forgotten a lot of the story. It is a beautiful and heart wrenching story about growing up in the shadow of a sibling and the struggle to become separate and unique. I know that the things that happen to us as children shape us, whether we really understand them or not, and whether things are as we perceive them. Sara Louise struggles mightily, but eventually finds her place and it is perfect.Personally, I'd rather die than turn out like Wheeze's grandma.
  • (4/5)
    Louise is determined that she will brake out of her sisters shadow. They live in Rass Chesapeake Bay were Louise is stuck in her twin sisters shadow. she keeps wonering will it take for me to brake free. I liked this book because it really put you in the book thought in the beginning it is a bit boring at first. I could feel Louise's pain because the book was so descriptive. I recommend this book to you if you like books you can not put down.
  • (4/5)
    Summary: This story takes place in the 1940’s, the main character is Sara Louise. Sara Louise feels like she lives in her sister’s shadow. Everyone seems to love and favor her sister. Part of the book talks about a bible verse “Jacob have I loved but Esau have I hated…” Which is why the book is called “Jacob Have I Loved”Personal Reaction: The book is good because a lot of children go through this when they have siblings, feeling as if they are in their sibling’s shadow. It was kind of hard for me to get into this book but it was a good book, if that makes sense. Classroom Extension Ideas:1. Pick out vocabulary from the book and have the write sentences using the vocab.2. Have the class compare the two characters.
  • (3/5)
    Twin girls Caroline and Sara: the beautiful fragile one and the plain hardy one who has to learn to overcome her jealousy and become proud of her own gifts. The meaning of the title is not immediately apparent unless you are a Bible adept, but is developed through the narrative. The life of east coast fishermen at Chesapeake Bay is pictured well.For mid to older teens.
  • (3/5)
    Summary:Sara Louise feels that ever since she was born, she has always been in her sister's shadow. Everyone always loves and favors the delicate, sweet Caroline. The story is set in the 40's and accurately details life from that era. The title and part of the story relate to the Bible and the verse, "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. . ."Personal Reaction:I had a hard time getting interested in this book since the story takes place in the 40's. However, I was able to relate with one of the characters which helped me get into the story. The book was not at all like I expected it to be but I enjoyed it.Classroom Extension Ideas:1. This book has many boat and crabbing references. Although this made it a bit difficult to read, these factors would make the book perfect for a unit on boats or how sea food goes from the ocean to our table. There are lots of great vocabulary terms that students can learn from this book.2. I would also have students make a compare and contrast chart based off Louise and and Caroline's relationship and the relationship of Jacob and Esau from the Bible. I think it would be interesting for kids to see how literature from the Bible is still so relevant to literature that is written today.
  • (5/5)
    Island life in the Chesapeake Bay during WWII. Crabs and oysters, family issues, twin girls growing up in isolation. Louise grows up in the shadow of her beautiful, talented twin sister, Caroline. She must decide what she actually wants from life, rather than letting life happen to her.
  • (4/5)
    Growing up in the 1940s was not the easy. WWII, food shortage, and little money etc. makes the whole situation a messy one. However, for Sara Louise Bradshaw, these are just the beginning of her problems. Her biggest trouble is her younger twin sister, Caroline, who is seemingly perfect at everything she does. Sara is forced to stand back as Caroline unknowingly takes away the love of her mother, her hopes for school and even her best friend. To combat this Sara begins to learn the ways of the watermen spending as much time as possible on a skiff with her father. She soon becomes exposed to a secret of the island when Captain Wallace comes back to the island, after disappearing 50 years earlier. Jacob Have I Loved won the 1981 Newbery Medal, and is written by Katherine Paterson, the award winning author of The Bridge to Teribethia. It was also given the honors of ALA Notable Children's Book and ALA Best Book for Young Adults. This book takes you on a journey with a young girl, as she faces the trials of being a teenager, and discovers her place world.
  • (4/5)
    I think I read this as a kid, but I don't really remember my reaction to it then. Upon reading it as an adult, I liked the story and thought it did a good job depicting jealousy and insecurity.
  • (4/5)
    A coming of age story, somehow both blunt and sensitive, about one girl's growing up on the Chesapeake. The back of my book says, “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. Perceiving the unjustness of her grandmother, this colors her reactions within all her other relationships, as Louise nurses those perceptions and misperceptions, creating for herself a harder childhood than it needed to have been. In the end, those things she learned in her youth stood her in good stead for her calling in life.Katherine Paterson does an excellent job of setting, characterization and story.
  • (4/5)
    Not at all what I was expecting (not sure what I was expecting, but not this!) ... it reminded me in many ways of Little Women, believe-it-or-not. At one point it lurched in a horrifying plot direction, but veered back again, phew, and proceeded in ways I could get behind. Not funny enough, moving enough, suspenseful enough, etc., to warrant the rare 5 stars, but this really was a terrifically-written book.

    (Note: 5 stars = amazing, wonderful, 4 = very good book, 3 = decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. I'm fairly good at picking for myself so end up with a lot of 4s).
  • (4/5)
    I resisted this book at first but it drew me in. Potent characterisation and realisation of that particular island lifestyle. Central character's frustration, bitterness, resilience and heartbreak is very well done.
  • (4/5)
    Paterson is one of the few recipients of two Newbery Medal Awards. This winner in 1981 follows Bridge to Terabithia. While I enjoyed the first, I found Jacob Have I Loved more profound.Set in the 1940's small island located on the Chesapeake Bay, this thought provoking book is a tale of twin sisters, one plain and one beautiful. One is musically gifted with a beautiful voice, the other rough and jagged from the constant comparison leaving her missing the mark and not quite as pretty, as talented, as smart, as alluring.The story is told from the voice of Louise who, from her birth, was treated differently than her twin. As she struggles with second best, the perception is cruelly confirmed in a moment of vulnerability as her bitter bible quoting, misguided grandmother whispers "Jacob have I loved, but Esau Have I Hated."The analogy of the bible reference is woven throughout the book as the family sacrifices for the one, leaving the other to feel emotionally neglected.While Caroline is known for her incredible musical talent, Louise is a tom boy who works with her father in fishing and crabbing.As Caroline develops a sense of self, unconnected to her sister, she leaves the island and finds her own voice.
  • (3/5)
    It was good. I read it awhile ago, and I remember I didn't hate it, but it hasn't stuck with me much. I remember feeling very sorry for the main character. She didn't deserve to be treated the way she was. Not a MUST read, but definitely worth reading at some point.
  • (3/5)
    Such a disappointment. As I read this book, I became involved in the story of a twin who feels as if she's not appreciated or loved as much as her younger sibling. However, the whining and paranoid rants by the teen-aged narrator start to get wearing, and eventually ruined the book for me. It's too bad, as life on the island was interesting, with descriptions of the daily routine of crabbing or fishing well done, and a nice touch. Not recommended unless you appreciate self-involved, pity-me, "it's all God's fault" type of narration.
  • (4/5)
    Beautiful book. Old fashioned language might turn off some readers. Fine for sixth grade on up. Rigorous in terms of topic, subject, and language.
  • (5/5)
    I love this. This is and will remain one of my favorite stories of all time.

    I know my feelings about this particular story are influenced by my great uncle having been a waterman on the Chesapeake and my family having spent so much of our time there. It brought back a wealth of childhood memories. I spent a great deal of my childhood on and in the water and was raised on steamed blue crabs and oysters.

    However, having read three of Katherine Paterson's books in the last 10 days I think she's a great story teller and at this moment my favorite author. I put this on my best-great shelf after I read it but I waited almost three days while reading a couple other books to let the emotion subside before writing this. It hasn't subsided.
  • (4/5)
    This is a complex book of jealousy, sense of self, and family relationships. Louise finds herself always coming short when in comparison to her twin sister. Her perceptions are magnified with every incident of her life. Eventually, Louise comes to accept her own perceptions of being worth less - and then she is able to begin to find out who she is, apart from her twin. Very good
  • (1/5)
    I wanted to like this book, but I did not! The characters were self-absorbed, and I did not care about anything that was happening until page 150 - the book is just over 200 pages. I can't figure out why it ever won the Newbery. Don't waste your time!