The Shiniest Jewel – Book Review

The Shiniest Jewel: A Family Love Story by Marian Henley

Release date: Monday, September 15th, 2008

“The Shiniest Jewel” represents my very first experience with a graphic novel, although actually it is not a novel, but a graphic memoir.  The graphic memoir seems really to be taking off, I have Persepolis in my teetering TBR pile, but I got to this first. I think this format can work really, really well for a memoir, particularly one like this that only spans a year or so.

I really enjoyed Henley’s story.  I was under the impression that it was completely about her experience with foreign adoption at the age of 50, but it was really much more.  The subtitle, “A Family Love Story,” is extremely fitting.  “The Shiniest Jewel” deals with Henley’s relationship with her parents, particularly her ailing father, her marriage-phobic relationship with her boyfriend, and the emotional ups and downs of adoption.  The illustrations are at times both poignant and hilarious, and the story itself was very moving.

This is something I would recommend to anyone, but particularly those who are contemplating or have gone through adoption, particularly foreign adoption.

Buy this book on Amazon.

5 comments to The Shiniest Jewel – Book Review

  • Jen, this was my first graphic novel too – I loved it! I lent it to a friend who adopted from Tanzania about a year ago. She said that Henley’s inner thoughts mirrored exactly what she was thinking (about the adoption), but was reluctant to voice out loud. I agree, this is so much more than an adoption story, though.

  • Being an adoptive parent myself, I’m always interested in stories about adoption. I had been contacted by the publisher of The Shiniest Jewel and hope to get it in the mail soon. I haven’t yet read a graphic novel, but just picked up Persepolis to give it a try!

  • I haven’t read any graphic novels yet–the format doesn’t really appeal to me–but I think I may have to give it a shot. Thanks for the review!

  • In my Readers Advisory class we did a section on graphic novels…I think that they are SO interesting! I’d really like to read Persepolis, so maybe this will get my butt in gear and I’ll go out and get it. I appreciate the variety of genres you cover here, girlfriend!

  • This was my first graphic memoir, too, and I loved it. My husband read it after I did and he thought it was great, too. He thought the story wouldn’t have been the same without the illustrations.