Book Reviews of Jewel

Jewel
Jewel
Author: Bret Lott
ISBN-13: 9780671740382
ISBN-10: 0671740385
Publication Date: 11/1/1991
Pages: 368
Rating:
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 10

3.9 stars, based on 10 ratings
Publisher: Atria
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

106 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

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Helpful Score: 6
Good book-- if you're sensitive the racism can be disturbing. My friend is black and said she couldn't continue with it. Personally, nothing stops me from finishing a book, and if you look beyond what is really only an attempt to portray the real atmosphere of general ignorance in the early 1900s in the South, you find a touching story.
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Helpful Score: 4
I work with disabled children and I found this book a very compelling story of how a disability affects an entire family.
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Helpful Score: 3
This is a beautiful story about dealing with a handicapped child. Lott touches on all the areas of a families life that are affected with the birth of a handicapped child. He also makes the reader aware of what a blessing these children are to all who are lucky enough to know them. It will make you cry, it will make you laugh. I recommend this book to everyone.
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Helpful Score: 3
This is a very moving story that opens your eyes to hardships and delights of raising children...
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Helpful Score: 2
Engaging look at how a mother's choice for one child affects the entire family. Slow to start but worth the investment of time.
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Helpful Score: 2
A lighter read than Steinbeck but just as good. I hope Lott writes more books.
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Helpful Score: 2
I love this author, and really enjoyed the book. It was extremely touching...
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Helpful Score: 2
Heart-touching story of the emerging South.
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Helpful Score: 2
An "Oprah Book Club" book. This is a wonderfully thought out, honest portrayal of a woman and her relationship with her daughter and God. An absolutely must read!
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Helpful Score: 1
I found this book to be well worth reading - heartfelt and heart rending at the same time.
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Helpful Score: 1
A story of a mother's stuggle with a last-born child with disabilities and her duties to the other members of her family. If you have a child with disabilities and you have other children, you empathize with this mother and the challenges she faces trying to maintain a stable family.....and her sanity.
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Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book -- the scope is wonderful, the story real and inspiring. totally wonderful.
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Helpful Score: 1
Beautiful, luminous and hopeful story about a family experiencing poverty, hardship, the developmental disabilities of their youngest child, disappointment and broken dreams.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book wandered into areas new and uncharted by me. I learned some, felt alot and cared about Jewel and her family.
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Helpful Score: 1
I sometimes wondered where this story was going and felt there was a good deal which could have been left out. However, overall, I enjoyed this one. A heartwarming, heartbreaking tale of a mother's love for her special daughter and the affect her devotion has on her family and friends.
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Helpful Score: 1
Bret Lott delivers an entire life in this beautiful narrative about a special child who's a mother's blessing and curse. The relaxed pace is meant to be savored, not rushed.
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Helpful Score: 1
Touching story of a mother raising her downs-syndrome child in the mid-20th century.
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Helpful Score: 1
A beautifully written, tender and heartwarming novel set in the backwoods of Mississippi, a story of a woman's devotion to her child.
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Helpful Score: 1
Beautifully written Novel about a poor southern woman's devotion to her handicapped daughter...excellent!
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Helpful Score: 1
A sweet and moving story of a family with a daughter who has special needs.
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Helpful Score: 1
What a great heart-tugging story.
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Helpful Score: 1
An intense and moving family saga set in Mississippi and California.
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Helpful Score: 1
I loved reading this book! It is a book about a woman's entire life, her upbringing, her marriage, her multiple children. She has a disabled child long before anyone thought about educating such children in schools, so much is centered around how she advocates for that child. So well written. I was sorry it came to an end.
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Helpful Score: 1
For some reason it took me awhile to get into this book. I really struggled through the first 40 pages, then it started getting better. By page 75 I was hooked. That seems like a lot of pages to struggle through but I am sooo glad I did. I loved this story. The characters and emotions became so real. It was almost like they were real people.
There is one scene that sticks in my mind and my heart... On Christmas Day, Brenda Kay is a few months old and Jewel (her mother) describes how she went out and bought "the most ridiculous red outfit" to dress up Breda Kay for Christmas. For some reason this scene really touched my heart because you could feel the love of a mother for her daugther. Also, by that time they weren't sure if anything was wrong with Brenda Kay besides her sleeping alot. This scene kind of gave me the feeling like something bad is brewing in the background, but you knew that Jewel would love her through and through no matter what happens.
This was such a beautiful, touching story.
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Helpful Score: 1
LOVED this book. Could not put it down.
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Helpful Score: 1
One of my favorite "Oprah" books. Well wrtten and fast paced throughout. Held my interest through 30+ years of Jewel's ordinary/extraordinary life. Filled with moments of triumph and heartache we can all relate to, sorry when I got to the end. Highly recommend.
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Helpful Score: 1
I liked it. Well written. I'd recommend this to a friend!
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Helpful Score: 1
This is the story of a family that has a Down's syndrome baby in the early 1940's and how they all coped with that child. Very well written.
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Helpful Score: 1
I expected way more out of this book than I got. The start was slow, the story was touching, but I was left with some disappointment.
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Helpful Score: 1
Fabulous, just really enjoyed it!
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Helpful Score: 1
This book started off slow, but really pulled me in. I loved it.
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Helpful Score: 1
This is one of the Oprah's Book Club selections. It is a story of a womans struggle with the hardships of her life in Mississipp in the 1940's. It is a touching story.
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Helpful Score: 1
Fascinating novel based in the Southeastern U.S. I found the conversations true, the narrative engaging.
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Helpful Score: 1
Great story of a Southern mother and developmentally disabled daughter who is both her test and her greatest blessing.
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Helpful Score: 1
Jewel is a wonderful touching story of a mother's love for a special child in an age that downs syndrome children were not as accepted nor understood. I loved the book, a real page turner!
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Helpful Score: 1
A story of a courageous mother raising her daughter who is developmentally disabled.
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Helpful Score: 1
(Oprah's Book Club) The depths of love a mother has for ALL her children. Set in Mississippi in the 1940's. Very touching story.
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Helpful Score: 1
This was a really good book. Its a story of a mothers devotion to her child. There are several really sad parts as well as joyful parts.
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Helpful Score: 1
This is the story of one womans gift - and burden - her child. This is a journey of a family which focuses on the mother-daughter relationship and just how quickly life can change. How an unforeseen event can alter ones life so profoundly.
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Helpful Score: 1
A powerful book. It gave meaning and sense to one of the big "why" questions.
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Helpful Score: 1
A story about a mother and her mentally retarded daughter and their struggles
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Helpful Score: 1
I think Lott has a wonderful eye for a person's inner working. However, I did find the way he writes difficult to read at times. This story does grip you and you constantly wonder where it is going.
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Helpful Score: 1
A first person epic of a poor southern woman's life and relationship with her retarded daughter who is both a burden and a point of strength. The story which spans over many years is very nicely written.
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This book was excellant reading. A full life in print.
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awesome! awesome! awesome tale of a mother's never-ending love for her child! very inspiring and sometimes tearful!
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A great read. I enjoyed it very much!!! I read it a while ago so I forget the details. But I do remember liking it a lot.
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I enjoyed the book a great deal.
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Beautiful story!
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An Oprah Book and NYT Bestseller. In the backwoods of Mississippi, Jewel and her husband are blessed with five fine children. When Brenda Kay is born, Jewel's life quickly changes and a mother-daughter relationship of matchless intensity and beauty is born. Characters are compared to those by Steinbeck and Harper Lee.
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This is a very interesting read! The characters in this book are very well-written and real. You really feel like you know them. You may not like what they choose to do, but it feels real. I really enjoyed this one.
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SYNOPSIS
Each of Jewel Hilburn's six children is a blessing. But her youngest, Brenda Kay, who was born with Down syndrome, is also a burden. The smallest accomplishments are milestones in Brenda Kay's life, and Jewel must devote her complete attention to the child. Set in 1943 in backwoods Mississippi, Jewel is a haunting tale of heartbreak and the redemptive powers of love. Drawing from the real-life experiences of his grandmother and aunt, author Bret Lott spins a masterpiece of truth and triumph, capturing the joy of Brenda Kay's first steps and the strain the dependent child puts on the rest of the Hilburn family.
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BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN
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I just LOVED this book...and I'm pretty picky!!
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Better than the cover makes it look. This is the journey of a mother whose last daughter is handicapped. Touching and well-developed characters, a broad exploration of changes in a family.
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In the backwoods of Mississippi, Jewel and her husband 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 quckly a life can change; how 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 marchles intensity and beauty, and one of the finest, most indomitable heroines in contemporary American fiction.
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Story of a mother's love for a beautiful daughter and her fight to protect her from evil.
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the backwoods of Mississippi, Jewel and her husband 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 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.
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Good book about family life
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IN THE BACKWOODS OF MISSISSIPPI, JEWEL AND HER HUSBAND ARE TRULY BLESSED; THEY HAVE FIVE FINE CHILDREN. WHEN BRENDA KAY IS BORN IN 1943, JEWEL GIVE THANKS FOR A HEALTHY BABY, LAST BORN AND MOST WELCOME. JEWEL IS THE STORY OF HOW QUICKLY A LIFE CAN CHANGE. HOW AN UNFORESEEN EVENT CAN SET US ON A COURSE WITHOUT REASON OR COMPASS. IN THIS STORY OF A WOMAN'S DEVOTION TO THE CHILD WO IS BOTH HER BURDEN AND GOD'S SINGULAR WAY OF SMILING ON HER. BRET LOTT HAS CREATED A MOTHER DAUGHTER RELATIONSHIP OF MIATCHLESS INTESITY AND BEAUTY AND ONE OF THE FINEST, MOST INDOMITABLE HEROINES IN CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN FICTION.
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Poignant story of a family that discovers they will have a mentally handicapped child in backwoods Mississippi in 1943. It's an beautifully written story.
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A mother fights for the dignity of her youngest daughter against the backdrop of a pure and simple way of life in the backwoods of Mississippi in 1943
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This is a story of how quickly life can change. It is the story of one womans devotion to the child who is her burden and G-ds singular way of smiling on her.

I found the book inspiring and a good read.
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In the backwoods of Mississippi, Jewel and her husband are truly blessed, they have 5 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.
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This is fine reading, a wonderful story of a backwoods Mississippi woman with five healthy children who God blesses with a sixth that has Down's Syndrome. A beautiful story of how quickly a life can change and the determination of a splendid character to overcome this hurdle.
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Featured in Oprah's Book Club.

Taken from the cover "In the backwoods of Mississippi, Jewel and her husband 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 a story of how quickly a life can chance; how an unforeseen event can set us on a course without reason or compass.

In this story is the woman's devotion to the child who is both a blessing and a burden, Brett Lott has created a mother-daughter relationship of matchless intensity and beatury, and one of the finest, heroines in contemporary American fiction."

I loved this book!! It is a whopping 535 pages and worth every single minute of it. A true story of a woman's courage in raising her disabled daughter in a time when disabilities were shunned.
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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 unforseen 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 relationhip of matchless intensity and beauty, and one of the finest, most indominitable heroines in contemporary American fiction.
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I just couldn't get into this book. It moved VERY slow. I read about the first three chapters and decided to post it because it didn't hold my attention. Maybe it just wasn't what I thought it was going to be.
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This is an engaging story of a family and everything they endure. Really liked it.
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I read this year's ago for a book club and remember it being a very riveting and moving book that was definitely worth my time.
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A REMARKABLE WOMAN BUT THE STORY WAS TOO SAD FOR ME.
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In 1943, an all-American family must cope with the birth of a Down's syndrome child. The focus is on Jewel, the mother, whose honest, individual, feisty voice tells a story that is ultimately a triumph of family feeling.
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It was okay.
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Bret Lott's Jewel is a beautifully crafted first person epic of one poor southern woman's personal duel with God. This is a voice we don't want to stop hearing.
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A previous review pasted that her black friend was unable to finish the book due to the racism in it - I encourage anyone who is offended to keep reading it. The main character eventually starts to change the way she speaks and feels.
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from oprah's book club
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I loved this book!
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I liked this book. Like the most of the books from Oprah's Book Club.
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Well written book. Will recommend it often to friends.
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great book!
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OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB
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Wonderful Story
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Oprah liked it - I did too!
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Wonderful book about a Mother's love ...........
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Oprah's book club selection
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This book was very good. A nice wholesome novel. It is an Oprah Club book.....In the backwoods of Mississippi, Jewel and her husband are truly blessed; they have 5 children. When Brenda Kay is born in 1943, Jewel gives thanks for a healthy baby, the last born and most welcome. This is the story of how quickly life can change, how an unforeseen event can set us on a course without reason or compass. This is a story of a womans devotion to the child who is both her burden and God's singular way of smiling on her.
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Wonderful book about a Mother's love for her Down's Syndrome daughter
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Oprah's Book Club selection.

FROM THE PUBLISHER
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.
SYNOPSIS
Each of Jewel Hilburn's six children is a blessing. But her youngest, Brenda Kay, who was born with Down syndrome, is also a burden. The smallest accomplishments are milestones in Brenda Kay's life, and Jewel must devote her complete attention to the child. Set in 1943 in backwoods Mississippi, Jewel is a haunting tale of heartbreak and the redemptive powers of love. Drawing from the real-life experiences of his grandmother and aunt, author Bret Lott spins a masterpiece of truth and triumph, capturing the joy of Brenda Kay's first steps and the strain the dependent child puts on the rest of the Hilburn family.
FROM THE CRITICS
Chicago Tribune
Bret Lott's Jewel is a beautifully crafted first-person epic of one poor southern woman's personal duel with God....This is a voice we don't want to stop hearing....Some of the tenderest scenes of family love since those in Dickens....
Judith Freeman - The New York Times Book Review
In this sweeping and beautifully written book, Mr. Lott has given us something unusual -- an unsentimental account of the life of a woman from rural Mississippi who transcends poverty and ignorance to become part of a pioneering movement in the treatment of children with Down syndrome. . . .He has written a story that portrays one family's devotion to the weakest of its members, and in the process he has created a parable for our age.
Boston Globe
Bret Lott has a gift for making the ordinary seem luminous. In Jewel, he applies his art to a broad canvas and produces what may stand as his masterpiece....Lott matches the honest strength of his characters with that of his prose. His Jewel is a force of nature, her story rising out of a perfect, seamless union of teller and tale.
LA Times Book Review
Lott is one of the most important and imaginative writers in America today. His eye for detail is unparalleled; his vision -- where he looks -- is like no one else's in this country.
Publishers Weekly
Jewel Hilburn, the strong-willed narrator of this haunting novel set in rural Mississippi, lavishes the parental love she never received upon her own child, who is afflicted with Down's syndrome.
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Very touching story of a mother's Love ..........
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'brett lotts, JEWEL, is a buetifully crafted first person epic of one poor womans [personal duel with God...this is a voice we dont want to stop hearing...some of the tenderest scenes of family love since those in dickens' in this story of a mothers devotion to the child who is both her burden and Gods singular way of smiling on her.
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The year is 1943 and life is good for Jewel Hilburn, her husband, Leston, and their five children. Although there's a war on, the Mississippi economy is booming, providing plenty of business for the hardworking family. And even the news that eldest son James has enlisted is mitigated by the fact that Jewel, now pushing 40, is pregnant with one last child. Her joy is slightly clouded, however, when her childhood friend Cathedral arrives at the door with a troubling prophecy: "I say unto you that the baby you be carrying be yo' hardship, be yo' test in this world. This be my prophesying unto you, Miss Jewel."
When the child is finally born, it seems that Cathedral's prediction was empty: the baby appears normal in every way. As the months go by, however, Jewel becomes increasingly afraid that something is wrong with little Brenda Kay--she doesn't cry, she doesn't roll over, she's hardly ever awake. Eventually husband and wife take the baby to the doctor and are informed that she is a "Mongolian Idiot," not expected to live past the age of 2. Jewel angrily rebuffs the doctor's suggestion that they institutionalize Brenda Kay. Instead the Hilburns shoulder the burdens--and discover the unexpected joys--of living with a Down's syndrome child.

Bret Lott has written a novel that spans decades, follows the lives of several characters, and cuts back and forth between Mississippi and California. Given these challenges, a lesser writer might lose focus. Lott, however, has wisely chosen to keep his eye trained on Jewel--a narrator who is smart, perceptive, and above all, honest. He has also bucked the trend toward political correctness by allowing his characters to think, feel, and talk the way white Mississippians of that era would have. ("Mongolian Idiot," "nigger," "cracker," and "buck" are just a few of the epithets sprinkled throughout the text.) The language may be discomforting to some readers. Few will deny, however, that Bret Lott has crafted a clan that is all heart in this bittersweet paean to the enduring strength of familial love. --Margaret Prior
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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 a story of how quickly a life can change; how like lightening, an unforseen event can set us on a course without reason or compass. In this story of a woman's devotion to a child who is both her burden and God's singular way of smiling on her, Brett Lott has created a mother-daughter relationship of matchless intensity and beauty, and one of the finest, most indomitable heroines in contempoary American fiction.
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Didn't read this one.
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In the backwoods of Mississippi, Jewel and her husband 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 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.
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Based in Mississippi, Jewel and her husband, Leston have five healthy children. When Brenda Kay is born in 1943, Jewel gives thanks. Jewel is the sstory of how quicly life can change, how an unforeseen event can quickly change a life. In this story of a woman's devotion to the child who is both her burden and Gods's singular way of smiling on her, Bret Lott has created a mother-daughter relationship of matchless intensity and beauty, and one of most indomitable heroines in contemporary fiction. (Oprah's Book Club book)

Wonderful, wonderful story. Both daughter and mother are heroines. As a mother who has been through the 'long hospital thing' with a sick child, I could relate to so much of this story.
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oprah bookclub
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From the back cover..."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 life can change; how, like lightning, an unforseen 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."
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An Oprah's book club selection.
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Oprah's book club selection, first person epic of one poor southern woman's personal duel with god
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Each of Jewel Hilburn's six children is a blessing. But her youngest, Brenda Kay, who was born with Down syndrome, is also a burden. The smallest accomplishments are milestones in Brenda Kay's life, and Jewel must devote her complete attention to the child. Set in 1943 in backwoods Mississippi, Jewel is a haunting tale of heartbreak and the redemptive powers of love. Drawing from the real-life experiences of his grandmother and aunt, author Bret Lott spins a masterpiece of truth and triumph, capturing the joy of Brenda Kay's first steps and the strain the dependent child puts on the rest of the Hilburn family.
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Very well-written.
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this paperback is also registered on bookcrossing :)
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One of Oprah's best recommendations!
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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 lightening, un unforeseen event can set us on a course without reason or compass.
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Oprah's Book Club selection
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An Oprah Book Club selection
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This is an autographed copy.