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4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  621 ratings  ·  151 reviews
With Jewelweed this beloved author returns to the same out-of-the-way community as Driftless and introduces a cast of characters who must overcome the burdens left by the past. After serving time for a dubious conviction, Blake Bookchester is paroled. As Blake attempts to adjust, he reconnects with Danielle Workhouse, a single mother whose son, Ivan, explores the woods wi ...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published May 14th 2013 by Milkweed Editions (first published January 1st 2013)
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I can't believe that picking up a book randomly from the library could turn out to be such treat. Jewelweed is an amazing story of ordinary people living ordinary lives,yet told with extraordinary insight. The setting is the Driftless Region of Wisconsin and introduces people who struggle to find a new sense of belonging. Blake Bookchester returns home after serving a prison sentence and seeks to pick up his old way of life. His father welcomes him home, but his former girlfriend will have nothi ...more
Jewelweed had a lot of potential to be compelling, such as delving deep into what the world would be like for Blake after living in confinement for ten years, but Rhodes just never seemed to dig deep enough. The Wild Boy could have been intriguing, but we didn’t get any hints along the way, so my interest in that mystery quickly waned.

The vocabulary in Jewelweed was very simple, as was the plot. There were small parts of the story that reached out toward the bizarre, while other parts, especiall
Oh my gosh, oh my gosh! I think this just went up on Edelweiss today, and I already got approved for my ARC. Totally excited because I loved, LOVED Driftless. Can't wait to finish the ones I'm working on right now so that I can sit down with this one.

Updated 1.18.13:
Much like 2008's Driftless, Jewelweed is a paean to rural Wisconsin. The reader revisits Words, WI more than ten years after Driftless concludes. It's mostly a new cast of characters, though Pastor Winnie is there, too, still struggl
I got Jewelweed from ALA Midwinter and wasn’t sure what to expect since it is a very different style from what I usually read. The wondrously crafted writing drew me in immediately. David Rhodes is such a phenomenal writer that he creates scenes that could easily be boring and commonplace and turns them into revelatory and pensive reflections on life and society. The multitude of themes and interwoven character lines made Jewelweed a pleasure to read.

Jewelweed is a magical book, and there is so
Having just finished reading Driftless, also written by David Rhodes, I immediately started reading Jewelweed. I had read that it is not a sequel, but it does mention a few of the same characters, and the setting, rural Wisconsin, is the same. I had not been impressed with the role of the minister, Winnie, and was somewhat disappointed that she is one of the main characters in this book. However, I started to enjoy her personality a bit better. (I missed reading more about Violet and Olivia, tho ...more
Glenda Christianson
Genre: Literature
Cover Art: The cover art does not do justice to this novel.

Jewelweed is the first book by author David Rhodes that I have read. However, it is actually his second novel based in a small town in rural Wisconsin. The first book, entitled Driftless is set in the same community. Jewelweed is not a sequel and the reader does not necessarily need to read Driftless before Jewelweed. The reader should be warned: Before I had finished the third chapter of Jewelweed, I went out and got a
Jewelweed is set in the same place (southwestern Wisconsin) and employs some of the same characters as appeared in Driftless, a book chosen several years ago as an All Iowa Reads selection, but it is not really a sequel. And, to me, it represents a significant maturation of the author. The characters, which were really interesting in Driftless, are more fully developed here and their stories are more intertwined, making it easier to stay engaged. And I was less concerned about potential stereoty ...more
Just as good as Driftless. I loved it. So imaginative, such articulate characters, and a well-woven and thoughtful plot. Not to mention another lovely description of midwestern life. Bravo!
Dick Vander Woude
The best novel I've read in recent years. Brilliantly conceived, charming charters, applied philosophy, and a deep understanding of life's lessons.
This is really 4.5 stars. I absolutely loved this book! I rolled it around in my mind like I would a perfect piece of dark chocolate in my mouth—until about 3/4 into the story I hit a crack. Maybe it was me, or that day, but a chapter felt incongruent. The story came back but it didn't seem to hold the same magic as before.

Rhodes described the experience of a newly released prisoner so deeply, I was captivated. An older man's list of what he'd miss when he's gone inspired me. There were numerou
Laura Weldon
This is a marvelously written book. It's told from many viewpoints---a chronically ill child, a wary young mother, a minister, an ex-con, a long-distance trucker, and many more. Each character reveals him or herself in quietly brilliant observations. Here are a few examples.

Winnie, the minister. "Winnie cherished Jacob's need for passion from her, and sometimes imagined that his consciousness consisted primarily of an awareness of his own sexual instinct--his own gateway to rapture. Thankfully G
Catherine Stickann
I won this book on Goodreads First Reads giveaway and I thank Milkweed editions and the author for my copy.
David Rhodes has written an interesting book that I am sure I will ponder for many days. The title is a bit misleading to those picking a book to read. It is not a title that hints at what the book is about. I will not elaborate here as that would make this review a spoiler.
I have watched a video of the author speaking about this book. From that I know the main themes in the book were abou
Lydia Presley
I started Jewelweed by David Rhodes right in the middle of a move from central Illinois to the beautiful island of Oahu. The result was that I read this book slowly, more slowly than usual for me. It turned out being a marvelous thing. Why? Because I got to chew over the developments and think them through and good grief, this was an epic story and then some.

Jewelweed is the name of a small, weed-like plant that is best left unpicked. This theme is constant throughout Rhodes' story, and with def
Denisa Howe
This emotion stitched writing lived in my heart throughout the whole book. It reminded me of a patchwork quilt. It was sewn together by friends, family and a few visitors with a certain pattern of which, it does not stick to. And yet they with love, compassion, humor and acceptance make it work anyway. This story is the lives of magnificent authentic characters that became real to me. I loved them, hated a few, smiled and desperately wanted to help many and long for their return. The quilt sewn ...more
I loved Driftless and Rock Island Line so much that I was apprehensive about whether or not Jewelweed would live up to its predecessors! I shouldn't have worried; David Rhodes is a master and in his hands, this story, which shares its setting, some characters and themes with Driftless, stands shoulder to shoulder with his other work but unique and complete in itself.

The inner lives of Rhodes' characters, their fears, dreams, hopes and motivations, are woven into a tapestry of community life. Rh
I love books where multiple story lines intersect. This book is a little slow going but pulls you in if you give it time.
Jill Olswanger
David Rhodes just keeps getting better. His writing is exceptionally beautiful but never fussy or over-done. His characters and the world he has created draws you in and enfolds you. I broke out sobbing on 3 separate occasions while reading this fabulous book. What a treasure.
This book may not have been quite as good as Driftless, but it was still filled with beautiful writing and interesting relationships. In both books, I thought, "this could be my town." Like Driftless, I wanted to start reading it again when I finished it.
What a great read! Loved the characters and Rhodes' fantastic ability to make them come alive. Will look forward to reading his other books!
Loved it. Beautiful, raw, thought-provoking. I'm making a point to read all of his other books now. A very satisfying read.
I read this immediately after Rhodes' earlier book, Driftless, and recommend reading them in order. In this book, characters' integrity, views of isolation, self-worth and faith captivated me. When I get old (and no matter what you think, I'm not yet there!) I'm going to follow Wally's example and write down everything I will miss about this life when I leave it. I'll also try to emulate Wally's active role is his own life. I loved the people in this novel, all the while realizing I might not ap ...more
Pat Mckee
Needing a new book to read and finding none on my list at the local library, I spotted Jewelweed in the new books section. Not only the name but the beautiful cover attracted my attention, so I took a shot in the dark-- and what a great shot it was. David Rhodes' writing style and use of words is fascinating. The characters he builds in the book-- from the pastor Winnie to the parolee Blake and his father Nate-- are delightful. Set in Wisconsin, the story intermingles the lives and events of the ...more
Bonnie G
Rhodes has a great ability to make me care about a little spot on earth and all who live in it. I appreciated that this book was more upbeat than Rock Island Line, while still referring to July, a central figure in that book. I especially love the two little boys, August and Ivan, who are not in a mold of mediocrity. They explore their little world and ruminate on life in a sweet way. The simplicity of the town and its buildings and the richness of the landscape are in stark contrast. It made me ...more
This book was such a pleasant suprise! I enjoyed the first few chapters but it was so slow, I just plodded through them, using this as my send me to sleep book. Then the grace in this book just crept up on me. The character development is stupendious with characters deep, quirky, and believable, the dialogue is spot on, the plot is over aching, and the setting perfect. I believe this is one of those wonderful books that comes along rarely and when it does, is savored, like fine wine. I can't rec ...more
This is one of those books I want to turn right around and start reading all over again now that I’ve finished it. Set in the same fictional southwestern Wisconsin community as Rhodes’ earlier book (Driftless) this one has many of the same characters, and each chapter focuses on one of them and the way events are unfolding from that person’s point of view. So the book isn’t just one story. It’s many individual stories all happening at the same time in the same place and each character is importa ...more
Ellen Rohwer
Jewelweed is one of my favorite reads of 2014. I loved David Rhodes' Driftless, and this picks up with some of the characters from that novel. The stories are of both people and place. That is, they are character-driven, but the location of Southwestern Wisconsin small towns are part of the story. The story is beautiful and engaging, but it is the beauty of his writing that makes Jewelweed so wonderful. I read it front-to-back twice, because there are certain finely-crafted scenes that justify a ...more
Apr 13, 2014 Terry rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Leesa, Lisa, Grace, Tessa, Shelley
Shelves: fiction, favorites
The decision-makers who award Guggenheim Fellowships did a great service when they made it possible for David Rhodes to write Jewelweed. Rhodes has populated this novel with people I want to be real. The unlikely friendship of Ivan, who will be repeating 5th grade, and August, a year younger but with a vocabulary and style of speech many years older, is sheer grace for both of them and a joy to read about. Dart, Ivan’s mother, is prone to awful decisions, but I have to root for her, though guard ...more
Gregg Sapp
In the first chapter of "Jewelweed," after a conversation about familiar tastes and the memories that they bring back, a waitress in a greasy spoon warns one of this book's protagonists to "Leave the past alone." If every character in this novel followed that advice, they'd have all wound up miserable, dead, or in jail. So much for leaving things be.

For a novel that has themes of redemption and second chances, "Jewelweed" oddly takes place in a community where folks are generally not too keen on
I like the Midwest tone of the book-- the occasional rainstorms, the landscapes, the rural towns, the characters. Also with a touch of magic realism. This book is almost like several novels in one, in that the back stories of major characters are well fleshed out. All of the characters connect, but each has a story in themselves. Characters include three boys, all around age 12, their parents, an ex-prisoner on probation, a hermit, a Wild Boy, a giant snapping turtle, and a pet bat.

Rhodes is go
Stephen Rynkiewicz
David Rhodes puts his appreciation for roadside spendor front and center, with a cast as tightly knit as the title flower tellingly known as Touch-me-not. Blake Bookchester struggles in his transition from prison to the equally intimate but more forgiving southwestern Wisconsin community of Words. Blake is given to fits of philosophy thanks to his reading in stir, which makes him fit Rhodes' world of still waters running deep. His circle of wounded warriors includes his father and aunt, who shar ...more
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As a young man, David Rhodes worked in fields, hospitals, and factories across Iowa. After receiving an MFA in Writing from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1971, he published three acclaimed novels: The Last Fair Deal Going Down (1972), The Easter House (1974), and Rock Island Line (1975). In 1976, a motorcycle accident left him partially paralyzed. In 2008, Rhodes returned to the lite
More about David Rhodes...
Driftless Rock Island Line The Easter House The Last Fair Deal Going Down Solaris Operating Environment Boot Camp

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