Jacob Have I Loved

Jacob Have I Loved

by Katherine Paterson

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Overview

The remarkable Newbery-winning classic about a painful sibling rivalry, and one sister’s struggle to make her own way.  

Sara Louise Bradshaw is sick and tired of her beautiful twin Caroline. Ever since they were born, Caroline has been the pretty one, the talented one, the better sister. Even now, Caroline seems to take everything: Louise's friends, their parents' love, her dreams for the future.

For once in her life, Louise wants to be the special one. But in order to do that, she must first figure out who she is . . . and find a way to make a place for herself outside her sister's shadow.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780064403689
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/02/2003
Series: A Trophy Bk.
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 99,892
Product dimensions: 5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.54(d)
Lexile: 880L (what's this?)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

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.

Read an Excerpt

Jacob Have I Loved SNYChapter One

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 couldalways 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 portwashboard, 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. got some mysterious illness and doesn't want to be a burden to him."

"Who?"

"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."

Jerked his head around to give me one of his looks, but the washboards of a skiff are a precarious perat 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'thave 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?"

"Huh?"

"Wee paws for station identification," I would whoop.

"Yeah?"

"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."

"No."

"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"

"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...

Jacob Have I Loved SNY. Copyright © by Katherine Paterson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Jacob Have I Loved 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 176 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story is a bittersweet tale of persistence and patience in a time of despair. Sara Louise Bradshaw portrays a girl who never quite got what she deserved. She was a hard worker, obedient daughter, and benevolent friend. But her sister takes all the glory with her melodic voice and charming disposition. Throughout her life, Sara lived in the shadow of her younger sister. The book's plot revolves around Sara and her struggle to become her own person. The end result is satisfying and rewarding. I would surely recommend this book to any potential buyers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book back when I was in the 6th grade and loved it. I have read it every year since then. (I am 28 now) The things she has to go through, the life she lives to finally have happiness. This is a great book and will be my favorite forever!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As someone who has read thousands of books, it can take a lot for me to reccomend a book, but this novel is beautiful. I found this book on my book shelf last summer and instantly fell in love with it. Katerine Patterson has a beautiful way with words that will make you want more. A truly wonderful, yet sad book. I highly reccomend.
wildflowersnhoney More than 1 year ago
As an avid reader, a bit of a poet, a lover of slow truths, a daughter, a sister, and a girl on the brink of adulthood... I love everything about this book. Katherine Paterson is easily my favorite author-- in her writing, she somehow finds a way to marry all that is so present in a certain age, a certain time.. That uncomfortable feel of seagrass you can feel itching against your skin, that time when nothing is right before life starts... It's beautiful. I think it's probably one of her best works. A definite read for any real reader
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book... nice plot... very descriptive... i reccomend for an advanced 4th grade reading level :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book as a teen and couldnt put it down. My Aunt this book for me and she could not have picked a better book for me!
Mia Petty More than 1 year ago
i think this book was awesome. at first it is shaky and uneven and you might not even understand but it was a great book. i am only 13 and i loved it
Anonymous 4 months ago
Katherine Paterson is one of those authors who doesn't mind showing her protagonists' flaws. Real flaws, too, not the strategic kind that actually make the character even more wonderful. Louise, this book's protagonist, lives with a largely self-created sense of being ignored and unloved next to her twin sister Caroline. (Louise, who narrates the book, starts in on the inferiority stuff right away: her father, a crab fisherman on a small island called Rass in Chesapeake Bay, needed sons, which represented wealth and security: "What my mother bore him was girls, twin girls.") It would be easier and more crowd-pleasing if Caroline was a spoiled, self-centered brat, nasty to Louise, but she isn't, really. Sure, she gave her the not-nice nickname "Wheeze," but I think that was the result of her not being able to say "Louise" as a small child. Louise, however, is eaten up with jealousy, sure that everyone loves Caroline more, that Caroline has been stealing love from her starting with their birth, when Louise was born first, then bathed and put in a "forgotten basket" while Caroline emerged, seemingly dead, and everyone worked desperately to revive her, then were overjoyed at her first weak cries. And since then, Caroline has grown into a pretty blonde with a heartbreakingly beautiful singing voice, while Louise is the "plain," untalented brunette. Sometimes Louise just comes across as surly, determined to see herself as a victim, but it's not all in her head. Her mean, bitter grandmother likes to taunt her with the Bible verse of the title: "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." Louise, the elder twin like Esau, is hated while Caroline, like Jacob, is the treasured twin. Well, okay, Louise's grandmother is a hateful b-word, but Louise seems to think the old woman's malice is shared by everyone else. It isn't. Yes, Caroline is pretty and talented, eventually going to Juilliard, but Louise is no ugly duckling, and she's got talents of her own. Her parents loved her all along, they never favored Caroline over her, they just nurtured Caroline's talent because it was remarkable. Louise,when she breaks free of Rass to pursue a medical career, learns from her mother that her parents will miss her even more than Caroline. Louise doesn't get to be a doctor as she hoped, but she becomes a nurse specializing in midwifery. She gets married and has a son she names Truitt, after her father. At the end of the book, she attends a birth that turns out to be twins. The first baby is a healthy boy. The second is a tiny girl, weak and bluish, seemingly not wanting to live. Louise works to save her, and the father comes in, saying that "it" should be baptized before "it" dies. Louise says firmly, "She will not die!", but nonetheless hastily wets her hand and places it on the baby's head, baptizing her as "Essie Susan." And the baby lives...but Louise, sudenly remembering the first baby, does not want history to repeat itself and so makes sure he is held and loved by his parents. Caroline may have a beautiful singing voice, but Louise saves a baby's life, and she finds happiness.
Omrythea on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
aimless22 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
andersonden on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
tjsjohanna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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
MissBoyer3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sara Louise Bradshaw is sick and tired of her beautiful twin Caroline. Ever since they were born, Caroline has been the pretty one, the talented one, the better sister. Even now, Caroline seems to take everything: Louise's friends, their parents' love, her dreams for the future.For once in her life, Louise wants to be the special one. But in order to do that, she must first figure out who she is . . . and find a way to make a place for herself outside her sister's shadow.
marsap on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Newberry award winner--telling the tale of two twins and angst of being the twin in the shadow. Generally I enjoyed the book--but did think that the resolution came too quickly. I would give this book 3 out of 5 stars.
KatieKirk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
msjessicamae on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
radical_rachel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
callista83 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
Whisper1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
debnance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
Samanthasrai on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
egelantier on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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?
rheasly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Set in the small island of Rass in Chesapeake Bay during the 1940s, Jacob Have I Loved is a story about Louise, who is struggling to find herself as she feels constantly overshadowed by her twin sister Caroline. Louise lives with Caroline, her parents, and Grandmother. She helps her father with his fishing and regularly contributes to her family's funds so that Caroline may get voice lessons on the mainland. Louise resents her sister for having a true talent that gives her a ticket off the island. She struggles to find her own courage to leave everything she has known, because while she does not want to stay on Rass, she has a fear of leaving her home. This book is good for anyone who feels at odds with both hating and loving their home and family. Katherine Paterson writes honestly about the complicated emotions that one feels as the come of age. Easily relate-able for anyone over the age of 12.
nittnut on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
Hamburgerclan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the tale of Sara Louise Bradshaw, a teenager on a small island in Chesapeake Bay, who comes of age in the early 1940s. It's not a pleasant time in her life--not that she would consider any time in her life particularly pleasant. Her 13-plus years have been spent in the shadow of her twin sister, the delicate, beautiful and talented Caroline. Louise yearns for her own space, her own identity, but such things seem hard to come by in their small community. I found the tale of Louise's struggles a bit tedious, yet for some reason her character reached out and grabbed my interest almost from the beginning. In the end, I was less than satisfied. I guess I wanted a typical heroic/fairy tale ending where Louise triumphs over all her foes. Instead, Ms. Paterson treats us to an ending that's more like real life, where you find satisfaction in a direction slightly different than your original dream. --J.