Thanks to Women's netWork member Marion Rorich for providing this book review.
JEWELL by Brett Lott
I picked this book up from the Eastpoint, Florida public library book sale as I needed a "beach read". I found it a powerful story of a family in the deep south of Mississippi in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. The story evolves over several decades and the reader experiences the social changes taking place in education, medical treatment, as well as racial and gender relations. The family struggles with a five children the last child born with Down Syndrome. The author is graphic in the description of race, treatment of the mentally retarded, and gender roles but is honest in the use of terms which are often hard to read and accept as common language of the time. This book explores the strength of maternal/parental love, marital struggles, racial enlightenment, and educational reform for the mentally retarded. I found this book an enjoyable and informative read much more than a "beach read".