Jewel

Jewel

by Bret Lott
3.9 36

Hardcover

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Overview

Jewel by Bret Lott

In the backwoods of Mississippi, a land of honeysuckle and grapevine, Jewel and her husband, Leston, are truly blessed; they have five fine children. When Brenda Kay is born in 1943, Jewel gives thanks for a healthy baby, last-born and most welcome. Jewel is the story of how quickly a life can change; how, like lightning, an unforeseen event can set us on a course without reason or compass. In this story of a woman's devotion to the child who is both her burden and God's singular way of smiling on her, Bret Lott has created a mother-daughter relationship of matchless intensity and beauty, and one of the finest, most indomitable heroines in contemporary American fiction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780671038236
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 01/19/1999
Series: Oprah's Book Club Series
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 6.45(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Bret Lott is a native of Los Angeles, California. His parents were raised in Mississippi and East Texas and relocated to Los Angeles in the 1950s. It is this Southern heritage — going all the way back to the War Between the States — that Mr. Lott has drawn on in writing Jewel. He is the author of five highly acclaimed novels, The Man Who Owned Vermont, A Stranger's House, Jewel, Reed's Beach, and The Hunt Club, as well as two collections of widely anthologized short stories, A Dream of Old Leaves and How to Get Home, and a memoir, Fathers, Sons, and Brothers. He lives with his wife and two sons near Charleston, South Carolina, and teaches at the College of Charleston and Vermont College.

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Jewel 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jewel Hilburn's life story is not one that is particularly exciting or remarkable. She was a wife and a mother, and from the birth of her sixth and last child on, she became the full time caretaker of a developmentally disabled child. What makes the story worth reading is that we see the sheer effort involved in caring for a child who will never advance beyond a six year old mentally, and how it impacts an entire family in various ways. This story takes a long time in the telling, in part because it spans Jewel's entire lifetime, in part because it is told in a sometimes agonizingly slow pace. There was a second story going on here, one between the white and black races, and I would have liked to see more development between Jewel and Cathedral and their families. Was I the only white person who cringed every time I read the "N" word? I was glad that Jewel, once exposed to a world outside her sheltered "cracker" (as she called it) Mississippi upbringing began to see that the way black people were treated and regarded wasn't the way it should be. And I also thought it realistic that Leston never seemed to develop a different point of view--this because while Jewel provided virtually all of the day to day caring for Brenda Kay was exposed to black people who were regarded differently. Leston simply was not. But, I could not help but draw a correlation between the unfairness in the way black people were treated and Jewel living day in and day out struggling with how her own child's life would never be fair, and I didn't see her make that connection. Maybe I missed something, but I just didn't see her grieve much for Cathedral and the travesty of losing her child to racial hatred, and her unwitting role in it. Instead, I saw simply that it was another reason to move back to California. But all in all, this was one woman's life, warts and all, a good person, but far from perfect.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book came highly recommended so I bought it for my mother who loves to read good literature. I was surprised when she admitted that she really did not care for the book. I decided to read it myself and found it absolutely captivating right up to the birth of Brenda Kay, at which point it really took a strange turn. I found myself just slogging throught it, hoping it would get better. Sadly, it never did. Such a disappointment for a book that really did a great job of drawing the reader in right from the start. It began as a page-turner, but ended as something I almost dreaded to finish.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read all the time and never keep my books when I'm done unless it's one of the classics. Once I've read them I see no reason to read them again. However with Jewel, I can't part with it. It has earned a place on my classics' shelf. It is one of the best books I've ever read. It was written well and the story captured me. When I got to the end I locked myself in my room so I could be alone with the family I got to know so well. I am not an emotional person, but the depths of love and family commitment in this book brought me to tears more than once. Wow!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I wasn't sure when I first started Jewel how much I would like it. But as the story unfolded, it got better and better. It's great in our day and time to read a story about a multi-faceted character who is coping with a huge heartbreak -- with commitment and love -- rather than drowning in our her own angst and loss. I found this book inspiring and would recommend it. Also, the sense of place evoked is wonderful.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was the most accurate and poignant story I have ever read that attempted to describe the absolutely overwhelming feeling of love and sense of total responsibilty that a women feels for her children. I did not feel that it was especially about Down's Syndrome, but rather about the sacrifices women make for their husbands and the family as a whole. The time period was accurately shown, and the way Jewel grows throughout the book, including the way she comes to realize her subtle forms of racism as unacceptable, are incredibly moving.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bret Lott has an incredible way drawing the reader into this novel about a woman who is completely devoted to her family. I laughed. I cried. I could not put this book down. I, too, was amazed that a male could write the role of a woman so well. When I finished this book, I felt as though I was leaving a friend behind. Jewel will warm your heart with each turn of the page.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a great story of a womans long life devoted to her family and her special daughter. I was very encouraged and motivated by how patient she was with her husband and her children. Her outlook on life broadened my own and also helped me to be a more loving and patient wife.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bret Lott did a wonderful job drawing his readers into the story. I felt like I knew Jewel and could share her pain along with her joy. I had a hard time putting the book down!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although this book was long I would not have left out a thing. By the time the end came I was crying because I felt I were losing a friend. I have never read such vivid descriptions of feeling and I too could not believe that a man wrote this book. I even went back and read the last 2 chapters again to make sure I did not miss anything and again was very emotional. I have never seen such depth given to a character and even though the other characters were not as detailed I feel enough information was given to continue the flow of the book. I can not recommend highly enough!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
couldnt put it down. great insight of a woman with a special needs child. Very thought provoking
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the most well written novels I've ever read. The slow pace of the writing kept me engaged and right there in the lives of all of the characters. From the simplicity of a retarded child looking to her devoted mother for direction and unconditional love to an often distant father who thought far more than he spoke. The author did a wonderful job of weaving Jewel's own story together in such a way as to keep the story current, moving and at the same time, reflective.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I agree with the other reader who stated that this book is very wordy. I found the author to be very "long winded" and throughout the book I found myself wanting him to get to the point. But as I began to get more into Jewel's character I began to appreciate the time he took to allow us to notice the little things. Things that often go overlooked in life. I hope the author reads these reviews. I want to say to him that it is not necessary to use the "N" as often as he did. I think if he used it once or twice we would get the point. I noticed that to add balance he often tried to use the word "cracker". I just don't feel that those words brought anything to the story. They just didn't add anything to the character's storyline. Overall, I think he is a great writer who wrote a good, not great, book. The book was very realistic of the slow paced South, which for some readers of fiction can be considered drab.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was an excellent book that did a very good job on the topics and I felt like I could relate to everyone in a certain way.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed Jewel. It did drag however in book two. The attitude of Jewel's father was appauling, but I guess correct for the time. The author had great insights into personalities of all the characters.