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Jewel Hardcover – Jan 1 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Atria (Jan. 1 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671038230
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671038236
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.7 x 3.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (291 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #578,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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First Sentence
I WAS BORN IN 1904, SO THAT WHEN I WAS PREGNANT IN 1943 I WAS near enough to be past the rightful age to bear children. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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By A Customer on May 19 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was a great book. I loved the way the author showed the connections each family member had with Brenda Kay. It shows that people with disabilities really do have feelings and can love you just as much as anyone else can. I don't have any children of my own yet, but the book gave me the sense of being there and feeling the struggles that Jewel had with her children. I could really feel the love that she had for them and could tell it was unconditional. I would recommend this book to anyone, especially people who want to know what family life can be like with a disabled child.
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By A Customer on April 16 2004
Format: Paperback
I stuck with this book until the end,and I'm glad I did. Jewel offers readers the chance to look into the lives of ordinary people in an extraordinary situation-- caring for a Down's Syndrome child. The plot and the story were intriguing.
However, as a main character, I found Jewel extremely annoying. It seemed like she had children to satisfy her own ego, not to give out unconditional love. I thought she was very selfish. It was terrible the way she abandoned her other five kids. Bret Lott makes it seem like she had no other choice, that taking care of Brenda Kay was so hard that giving up the five others was inevitable. I couldn't get the warm fuzzies about Brenda Kay and jewel's mother/child relationship because I don't think Jewel WAS a good mother. Controlling and demanding, yes. Caring, no.
Also, this book was so heavy, weighed down with long descriptive phrases, renderings that made no sense, Jewel repeating herself again and again. There was not enough dialogue, and the action (or lack thereof) was insipid and SLOW. The first thing we learned in fiction writing in college is "SHOW, DON'T TELL." I ate up the few action scenes, as well as the family's backgrounds, like a greedy crack addict, dying for something out of Jewel's head.
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Format: Paperback
As an avid reader I really enjoyed this book and was made aware of just how few books there are about the mentally and physically handicapped. Lott's story really opened my eyes and made me sympathetic to those who must deal with similar hardships.
Lott's voice as a countrified woman is fabulously realistic and I have't seen it done so well since Wally Lamb wrote "She's Come Undone." This story is so epic and so touching that it seems more like a memoir than fiction.
In truth, this is one of those books, not unlike "Gap Creek," where the reader is exposed to a whole new world and is able to become almost intimate with all the characters. This novel is filled with hardship, blissful ignorance, and a whole lot of what most of us know as the human condition.
The reason I gave this a lower rating is because I found at least thirty misspellings and typo's. Maybe it is the perfectionist in me, but so many mistakes really take away from the flow of the writing.
If this is a flaw that you can deal with, I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback
....for several reasons. First, though the main character is a woman, the author is a man - yet you completely believe that a woman is telling this story.
Second, Lott's writing style makes it seem as though "Jewel" was written in the 1950's - yet, according to the copyright page it was published in 1991. The country was just starting to get into political correctness around that time, and it's hard to believe that a book that uses this sort of language (implied and explicit) could have been written in 1991. But the fact remains that it was - and it's one of the best books I've read so far in 2003.
Yes, a good deal of the book is depressing - considering the major plotline it can't help but be depressing. But while not every thread of the story is resolved, there's a lot more positive than negative feelings when you finish the last page.
I'm not exactly a fan of Oprah Winfrey's book club, but in "Jewel" she picked a winner.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
What a story! Where does someone get the kind of strength & courage Jewel has? This story gave us a wonderful insight to a family of 6 children, one of them born [mentally handicapped], named Brenda Kay. The nice thing about this story is that it's not just about Brenda Kay; it's about a marriage, it's about all of the children & their triumph's & struggles. It's about what it's like to live in Mississippi in the 40's & 50's. Mr. Lott does fill up the book with a lot of description of the surroundings, or of what Jewel is thinking about, etc. I felt that it wasn't too overwhelming, as some readers mentioned. I really enjoyed Oprah's selection. I am now curious, never having read Bret Lott before, if his other books are just as good.
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By A Customer on Sept. 17 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
How would we rewrite this story? If Brenda Kay had not remained at home to be raised by her family, they probably would never have moved to California. I can understand the cultural shock Jewel went through coming from the life she was accustomed to in Mississippi to a different standard entirely in California, and this being in 1952. Then when she moves back home after 10 years finds things not changed at all. I myself moved from the midwest to Georgia in 1954 and was shocked to find drinking fountains labeled for "white" and "colored" and that the Negro people sat in the backs of the buses. I do feel the rest of her family was terribly cheated in that they had to accept a tougher lifestyle because of Jewel's total absorbtion in her baby with disabilities. Jewel was just not there for them at all and expected their sacrifices uncomplainingly. The fact they were able to succeed in California as well as they did is the highlight of the whole story. No one can second guess anyone else not having been there.
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