BookBrowse Reviews Miss Jane by Brad Watson

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Miss Jane

by Brad Watson

Miss Jane by Brad Watson
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  • First Published:
    Jul 2016, 224 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2017, 288 pages

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Jane's rich inner life overcomes the limits of her physical body.

National Book Award Finalist Brad Watson returns with an intimate novel about one woman's journey to live her life to its fullest. Hopeful, despite the challenges she carries, Miss Jane captured the hearts of our member-reviewers: 22 out of 24 gave it a 5-star rating.

Watson, inspired by his great-aunt, weaves a moving tale about Jane, who is born in rural Mississippi in 1915 with a genital birth defect (Sue J). A must-read! The writing in Miss Jane is beautiful and almost poetic – terse and imaginative. Born with a genital affliction that could have made her bitter, reclusive, and joyless, Jane showed extraordinary gumption. She was her own person and an inspiring one at that. In her quiet way she forged a full life for herself despite being "different." I loved the book and unequivocally recommend it (Florence K). The quiet flowing rhythm of Watson's words describing the landscape, the people in Jane's life, and the dignity she maintains throughout is remarkable (Laurie R). The book inspired and challenged me to reflect on how I've dealt with adversity in my life (John W). Reading this book is enveloping yourself in a cocoon of images and sensations (Linda P). It is not often that you happen upon a book so eloquently written, interesting in subject matter and overflowing with emotions. Simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking, this wonderful novel tapped every single feeling possible (Aleksandra E). It took me so long to write this review because I read Miss Jane as slowly as possible to savor it. It is a beautiful story with sadness, but tenderness and bravery as well (Barbara B). Never maudlin, Miss Jane is a memorable story of courage in the face of adversity (Anna S). This is historical fiction at its best (Lynne B).

Readers were especially taken by the rich language Watson uses to illuminate the equally rich landscape of the story:

I'd give this book six stars if I could. The language is sensual, and filled with beautiful descriptions of nature. The writer does a remarkable job presenting Jane Chisolm and her physical deformity with grace and dignity. The reader will appreciate the slow pace of this book with its beautiful language (Barbara O). I loved this book from the very beginning. The prose itself is astounding, especially with the descriptions of nature. I grew up in south Mississippi and it took me back to my youth (Carol N). Miss Jane is an exceptionally well-written book. The prose is beautiful and the novel has a gentleness about it. I especially enjoyed Jane's love of nature, inside of which she seemed to flourish (Meredith K). A portrait of the south that appealed to me through its gentle approach to the people and their land. Watson is a storyteller of great power and finesse (Claire M). A beautiful book. Calm as a deep river that flows on despite the occasional turbulence (Maggie R).

The characters in Miss Jane are exceptionally drawn:

This book is beautifully written with characters so real that I cared for each of them: Jane, the main character born with a birth defect that made her life different; her mother, who was beaten down by the hardness of farm life and her own personal loss; her hard working father, who was trying to do the right thing; and the caring gentle doctor who takes care of Jane (Donna W). The characters – from the loving, gentle doctor who delivered Jane and was a mainstay in her life, to her independent and brash sister Grace, to the solemn man of few words who was her father – were wonderful (Cam G). The author has created interesting and multi-dimensional characters in Jane's parents, sister and the doctor. Even the minor characters are interesting and add to the texture of the story (Susan R).

Our readers wholeheartedly recommend the novel:

I recommend this book to anyone who loves a good character study (Donna W). I can't wait to recommend this book to my book group. There is much to discuss and explore. Thank you Mr. Watson for a mesmerizing, thought-provoking book (Cheryl M). I loved this book for its simplicity and would highly recommend it to my book club and others who enjoy a good read (Meredith K). The story is one of a kind and I would definitely recommend this book to my book club, as I am sure the story would lead to discussion in many different directions. Well done, Brad Watson! (Laura E)

This review was originally published in July 2016, and has been updated for the July 2017 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.



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