This is a post in my 50 Nifty series, in which I’m reading through 50 books that embody each of the 50 United States. Find out why I’m doing this and which books I’m reading when (so you can read along) by checking out my first 50Nifty post, or else browse all 50Nifty posts by clicking here!
Jacob Have I Loved, Katherine Paterson
—Happy Memorial Day!—
This young adult story of sibling comparison had a greater impact on me when I read it as an adolescent, smack in the middle of constantly comparing myself to both of my sisters, than it did this time around, but I still enjoyed the story. In it, Louise and her twin sister (“the pretty one”) live on an island off the coast of Maryland, and Louise narrates her feelings of sadness and betrayal as her sister seems to get all the (admittedly meager) advantages and benefits of their life there. It’s a reality of many siblings, I’d imagine, not just twins, and so it has wide appeal. The story is about finding one’s own strengths and learning not to begrudge others theirs, which is a lesson that seems to be a lifelong pursuit, at least for me.
I really enjoyed the way Paterson wrote about the island that Louise and her sister live on, too; I felt as if I could picture so many details of the place. It made me want to learn about crabbing and experience a hurricane (if I could guarantee that I’d survive it!). A good pick for the 50 nifty list, too, as so much of it actively takes place in and around the landscape. As a YA novel, it’s also a pretty quick read, which was nice!