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Publisher's Summary

"Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." With her grandmother's taunt, Louise knew that she, like the biblical Esau, was the despised elder twin. Caroline, her selfish younger sister, was the one everyone loved.

Growing up on a tiny Chesapeake Bay island in the early 1940s, angry Louise reveals how Caroline robbed her of everything: her hopes for schooling, her friends, her mother, even her name. While everyone pampered Caroline, Wheeze (her sister's name for her) began to learn the ways of the watermen and the secrets of the island, especially of old Captain Wallace, who had mysteriously returned after 50 years.

The war unexpectedly gave this independent girl a chance to fulfill her childish dream to work as a watermen alongside her father. But the dream did not satisfy the woman she was becoming. Alone and unsure, Louise began to fight her way to a place where Caroline could not reach.

Renowned author Katherine Paterson here chooses a little-known area off the Maryland shore as her setting for a fresh telling of the ancient story of an elder twin's lost birthright.

©1980 Katherine Paterson (P)1992 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

  • Newbery Medal, 1981

"A novel of special brilliance." ( New York Times Book Review)
"Simply irresistible." ( Publishers Weekly)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A little slow, but good.

Good narration. Thoughtful storyline but was a little slow paced. This being the abridged version you could tell it was missing certain parts of the story or even felt a bit rushed at times, but I think overall it was well done. I liked most getting into the head of a teenager again and seeing how they think. Can be so interesting.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Beware . This book is shortened. AKA abridged.

What disappointed you about Jacob Have I Loved?

Lost. Then at the end I discovered why... Abridged!!! I'm so sad.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • arlene
  • Murray, Utah
  • 02-08-16

One of my favorite young adult books ever!

I love this story of feeling overlooked and forgotten by God, then realizing he has a plan for you all along.