Sunday, February 3, 2013
Ballad of Jessie Pearl (review)
The Ballad of Jessie Pearl feels very young. I definetly wouldn't classify this as a YA, probably more middle-grade but it even feels young for that. It reminds me of older books, set in an Appalachian past with a main character forced to grow up before her time (and she doesn't have a mother. Maybe this reminds me of a Disney movie).
14-year-old Jessie Pearl has big plans for her life. She wants to follow in her late mother's footsteps, finishing 8th grade before heading off to teacher's college. Unlike her sisters, she doesn't want to marry and have children young. She wants a future of her own. But when tuberculosis strikes her family Jessie is forced to put her dreams on hold. This is a story of a girl forced to grow-up before she should have to, to make the tough choices between helping her family and helping herself.
Overall I liked this book. It felt like it could've easily been a book from my childhood. Being Appalachian, I've always read a lot of stories set in the region. This feels less like a current book and more like an older book. In some ways it's overly simplistic and aside from Jessie the characters aren't very well developed However it's a sweet book about a girl who wants to do what's right for her family, her sweetheart and herself, even though it's impossible.
For younger audience, especially those who like simple sweet books set in the past, I would recommend this book. Sometime's it's nice when a book reads like a throwback to a simpler age and simpler time.