Thursday, November 11, 2010
Jewel - Bret Lott
When you pick up a typical Oprah Book Club pick (and by "typical" I mean not when she's trying to get people to buy the classics), you know you're in for an emotionally heart-wrenching ride. You also know that just when you think things can't get any worse for the downtrodden main character, it definitely will. While Jewel is not filled with the physical and sexual abuse common in many of Oprah's picks, it is the story of an abandoned and unloved woman trying to find meaning in her life. Jewel, already a mother of five, finds herself pregnant again in her late 30s. Thrilled at the prospect of yet another baby, she finds that this time around, she will be challenged more than at any other time in her life. Her new baby requires all her time and attention - and she does everything she can for the child - to the detriment, it seems, of her marriage and her other children. Throughout the book, she expects everyone else to put their lives on hold for her daughter, and becomes resentful when this doesn't happen. I wasn't exactly sure what message the author was trying to send, as Jewel never seems to come to any realization as to what she has lost in her blind sacrifice for her youngest child. While I didn't expect much more from this book than a good, easy to read story (which I basically got), I did find myself consistently annoyed by Jewel's selfishness in her selflessness. I expected more from the ending, and felt unfulfilled when I finally got there. Good for a rainy afternoon by the fire, but not much more.