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The Ballad of Jessie Pearl
     

The Ballad of Jessie Pearl

5.0 3
by Shannon Hitchcock
 

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It's 1922, and Jessie has big plans for her future, but that's before tuberculosis strikes. Though she has no talent for cooking, cleaning, or nursing, Jessie puts her dreams on hold to help her family. She falls in love for the first time ever, and suddenly what she wants is not so simple anymore.
Inspired by Shannon Hitchcock's family history, The Ballad of

Overview

It's 1922, and Jessie has big plans for her future, but that's before tuberculosis strikes. Though she has no talent for cooking, cleaning, or nursing, Jessie puts her dreams on hold to help her family. She falls in love for the first time ever, and suddenly what she wants is not so simple anymore.
Inspired by Shannon Hitchcock's family history, The Ballad of Jessie Pearl wraps you like an old quilt in the traditions, tastes, and dialect of rural North Carolina.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hitchcock’s debut novel introduces 14-year-old Jessie Pearl, who endures more than her fair share of hardships, beginning with the death of her mother. Opening in 1922, the story follows the daily activities on the family’s North Carolina tobacco farm. The youngest of three sisters, Jessie hopes to attend a teachers’ college and escape the monotony of becoming a wife and running a household. But when her sister Carrie contracts tuberculosis, Jessie puts her life and future plans on the line. Carrie’s dying wish is for Jessie to care for her newborn son, Ky, and while Jessie loves the infant (and falls in love with a neighbor boy), she agonizes over which path to choose—follow her dreams or stay and support the family. Hitchcock’s story is gently and lovingly written, with elements drawn from her own family history. Its detailed honesty about the particular struggles of the period, especially for strong women (Maude, a no-nonsense midwife, is particularly memorable), is significant. The book spans several years, and the question of what Jessie will choose should keep readers invested. Ages 10–up. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Jean Boreen
Jessie Pearl wants to follow her heart's desire: go to college and become a teacher. But that is not the easiest goal to achieve for a girl growing up in rural North Caroline in the early 1920's. When her sister, Carrie, is diagnosed with tuberculosis (a death sentence for many in the early 20th century), Jessie must take over the family chores as well as nurse her sister. In doing so, Jessie essentially has to give up her studies and her friends because of concerns about contagion. When Carrie dies, Jessie has to deal not only with her loss but with Carrie's expectation that Jessie will help raise her son, Ky, until her husband remarries. Jessie's response to these various life changes as well as her eventual realization that she has fallen in love with her longtime friend, J.T., complicates the choices she must make for her future. This is a beautifully written book based on the author's family history and gives teen readers an interesting glimpse at a time in our history when medical interventions were not as sophisticated as they are now and the impact of these limitations on families. Reviewer: Jean Boreen, Ph.D.
Kirkus Reviews
Jessie, 15 and living on a rural North Carolina tobacco farm in the early 1920s, dreams of graduating from high school and then attending teachers' college. All of that becomes very unlikely after one of her elder sisters falls ill with tuberculosis, forcing Jessie to leave school to nurse her dying sibling and later to become surrogate mother to her sister's infant son. Jessie loves her nephew, but she's torn between staying on the farm and cultivating her growing relationship with J.T., a neighbor three years her senior who would happily marry her when she gets a little older, or satisfying a deep-seated urge to make more of her life, if she gets the opportunity. Told in a believable first-person, present-tense voice that emphasizes the immediacy of Jessie's problems and her sometimes raw emotions, Hitchcock's debut also neatly captures a full flavor of the setting and period. The aspects of many characters are also effectively revealed, mostly through authentic-sounding dialogue. A satisfying tale for readers who don't require a fully happy ending. (Historical fiction. 11-18)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781608981427
Publisher:
namelos
Publication date:
02/01/2013
Pages:
140
Sales rank:
885,278
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.33(d)
Lexile:
HL560L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 13 Years

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The Ballad of Jessie Pearl 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a pleasure to read a book that chronicles part of my own life in the country. The book is exciting and uplifting. Thanks to the author for a wonderful book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
C.C.Willis More than 1 year ago
The Ballad of Jessie Pearl is a beautiful, moving, and compelling historical fiction story about the conflicts and heartaches of a young woman struggling to reconcile her loyalty to her family with her own dreams. Set in 1922, strong and independent Jessie must cope with the horrors and sacrifices of tuberculosis. She struggles and stumbles, but endures. In the end, both Jessie and the reader understand what it means to love and to hope in a world where life and death can never be taken for granted.