A critic once observed that "Jewel Gibson is a writer with two tongues, one for each cheek." Gibson's rollickingly funny first novel, Joshua Beene and God, first published in 1946, revealed a writer whose handling of the earthy and comic was as deft as her remarkable ability to capture the colorful sights, sounds, and language of East Texas life. Praised as superb satire by critics and damned as wicked by more than one Texas community, this novel follows one curmudgeonly religious leader's crusade against Spring Creek's Baptists, Holy Rollers, and nonbelievers. Joshua Ebenezer Beene, as chief elder of the Church of Christ of Spring Creek Community, president of the school board, justice of the peace, and self-appointed game warden, regularly summons God to seek advise on how to carry out his crusade--which, as the novel opens, has taken on a special urgency. Alerted by the Biblical admonition that "The days of our years are three score years and ten," Joshua believes he has one final year among the living to claim victory in his long-running battle with the town sinners before claiming his heavenly reward.Gently satirical without being mocking, Joshua Beene and God has been called "humorous--but surprisingly reverent" in its comic portrayal of religious and political struggle in a small East Texas town. Now once again again available with a foreword by Sylvia Ann Grider, this provocatively funny and entertaining novel by one of Texas' leading women writers invites rediscovery by today's readers.
Jewel Gibson (1904-89) wrote a second novel, Black Gold, nine plays, a musical, as well as a number of newspaper feature stories. She taught for forty-three years at the high school and college levels, raised a family, and enjoyed sixty years of marriage. Interviewed by a reporter in 1971, she said, "I feel that God and I understand each other."