~ Warning! Minor Spoilers! Book Review: Jacob Have I Loved by – Katherine Paterson ~


Several years ago, I read The Great Gilly Hopkins and Bridge to Terabithia written by Katherine Paterson. I loved them both and rated them four out of five stars. Quietly, I set out to slowly read all the books written by this author. However, since I never wrote this down as an actual goal, I never got around to completing it. I saw a copy of Jacob I Have Loved on Bookoutlet and decided to buy it. It took some time, but I finally picked it up but as an e-book instead.

I went into this completely unaware of the plot. In short, it’s about Sara Louise Bradshaw, who is a child living on a struggling island and is jealous of her twin sister, Caroline. Reading reviews, I noticed a lot of people disliking the main character. I actually didn’t mind her. I think that Sara Louise’s feelings were valid and authentic. She felt lesser than her musically talented sister and stuck on an impoverished island with parents and a grandmother who didn’t show her the affection she needed. Yes, she was mean and let her jealousy fester in a bad way, but it came off as real to me. Nonetheless, her sudden change and out of nowhere goal of wanting to be a doctor was weird, but I guess that was her arc. Even more perplexing was her dreaming big of being a doctor but abruptly settling on nursing because someone at her university told her she, a young woman, couldn’t. I don’t know if that was the best path to show her redemption. Frankly, this was a very middle of the road kind of book. It wasn’t entertaining and became boring to read. Yet, since it was so short, I ended up finishing it. I must note: there were certain subplots and conflicts that didn’t age well.  

Originally, I was going to give this, three stars, but I have to knock off half a star for all the stuff that didn’t sit well with me. I was extremely disgusted that our main character’s first crush was a man older than her grandmother. That was awkward, unnecessary, and lasted way too long. I was also outraged at the village she moved to because martial abuse was so bad and common that the excuse of it’s the way of life there came to play. That’s terrible – let’s not be abuser apologists. Talking about abuse, I was appalled at everyone ignoring the grandmother’s behavior. Honestly, looking back at these three keys points that pissed me off, I have decided here and now to knock off a full star. Thus, 2/5.

In retrospect, I don’t think I can ever reread The Great Gilly Hopkins and Bridge to Terabithia because older and more aware me might have issues with it. Honestly, there were too many situations that didn’t sit well with me in Jacob Have I Loved that I think it’s best to not pursue anymore of this author’s older books. Let me simply remember this author for the two books of hers that I enjoyed.