Jacob Have I loved, by Katherine Paterson, is not the tale of love but of love lost between teenage twin sisters from the Chesapeake Bay area in the 1940s. The title is a Biblical reference to Jacob and Esau, particularly the favored status of Jacob, the younger.
Sara Louise struggles with her identity, her circumstances. She is further weighed down by bitterness towards her twin.
The last thing I needed to hear that day was the story of my sister’s life, in which I, her twin, was allowed a very minor role.
In addition, she has an unmet need for affection and encounters unexpected emotions as she becomes a young woman.
But I had never caused my parents “a minute’s worry.” Didn’t they know that worry proves you care? Didn’t they realize that I needed their worry to assure myself that I was worth something?
This quote aims a sobering spotlight on the profound affect unspoken sentiments can have on children. And even spoken words can be received much differently than intended.
Sadly, though Sara lives in what is labeled a Christian community, Biblical truths are not offered as the comfort and help she needs. Instead, the Bible is wielded as a weapon to beat her over the head (both figuratively and literally).
This story prompted coulda, woulda, shoulda thoughts. How could characters have behaved differently? What would I have said to Sarah Louise? What should have been talked about?
What questions will it prompt in you?
Copyright © Gienah Beaty, bookshelfbriefs.wordpress.com, 2016. All rights reserved. (Public Domain image courtesy of pixabay.com)