Saturday, March 18, 2017

What I Read in May 2016 Part IV. . .

What I Read in May 2016 Part IV . . .

Every Day AfterEvery Day After by Laura Golden--Middle Grades Historical Fiction

Ever since the Great Depression hit Bittersweet, Alabama hard, Lizzie Hawkins has seen nothing but rain. All 1931 and into 1932 there's nothing but rain in her life. First, Daddy left and then Mama stopped talking. Then there's a mean girl, Erin, in school trying to take Lizzie down and the bank wants their mortgage payment. Her best friend Ben is slipping away and turning towards Erin. How much rain can a girl take? Every day after Daddy leaves Lizzie tries to remain proud and strong just as he taught her. She tries to be the daughter he would want her to be and the daughter he loved so much. With the Depression getting worse instead of better and Erin threatening to spill Lizzie's secret, Lizzie is worried sick. Will the doctor take away her Mama to a hospital? Will the sheriff come and take Lizzie to an orphanage?

I had to keep reading to find out the answers to the questions. I actually skipped ahead to the end before I could sleep. I went back and read the middle later. I've seen Annie a million and one times so I know how a Depression-era orphanage might seem to Lizzie. I also read Intruders at Rivermead Manor: A Kit Mystery which deals with orphanages as we so I was rooting for Lizzie to make it all work out. The prose is beautiful and lyrical in spots as well. I loved the writing. This book is told in the first person from 12 year old Lizzie's point-of-view. She is a soul sister to Scout Finch. The author nicely captures that childlike innocence and adoration for her father that Harper Lee did so well with Scout. Lizzie isn't quite as precocious and her issues are more personal. She's still an interesting character though. The other characters are also well drawn. I HATED Erin and wanted to smack her. She got me blood boiling and I would not have been able to keep my mouth shut if I were Lizzie. Even after her problem is revealed, I still didn't feel any empathy for her at all. As Nasty as Erin is, Ben is sweet. He is patient, kind and caring. He's a good friend to anyone who needs him.

The adult characters don't fare as well as the children. They are either disinterested or too interested. Lizzie's dad is absent from most of the book so we only get to see him through Lizzie's childish eyes. As an adult, I wondered about his character and why he would leave his wife and daughter all alone with no support? That's just an awful thing to do. A family needs to face those things together. I did like and feel empathy for Lizzie's Mama. She's in a deep dark place and only has Lizzie to rely on. The character of Mama shows how tough it was during the Depression for women and especially in an era before antidepressants (not that she could afford them anyway). What I didn't like about Mama was the constant references to proverbs. Though "Wit's End Corner" did fit the time period, I didn't like the overt Christian references. The story is set in the South so I suppose it makes sense for the characters.

I recommend this to readers 10+ and especially those who loved the American Girl Kit books. 

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