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Posted November 8, 2013
Lizzie Hawkins' life is going way downhill. Her daddy left her, her mama won't do anything other than sit and stare, the bank is nagging for the mortgage on the house, and the pressure of having the best grades in school is killing her. Then, a spoiled brat named Erin comes in and tries her very hardest to make Lizzie go to the orphanage and her mother to a mental asylum. On top of that, Erin tries to snag Lizzie's best friend Ben. How is Lizzie supposed to handle all this stress? I liked this book quite a bit. Lizzie is a really likable character and almost all of her reactions are something along the lines of what i would do. Ben was also a good character, but he trusts a bit too easily. Each character has their own flaws and problems, which makes them all very well described. The book took place right after the Great Depression, and they described everything perfectly. The book did not have any unnecessary parts in the story, which is really good. Its written in first person, which is really nice. The flow was a bit tedious in the beginning, but evens out and becomes very well written. I really enjoyed this book, and I recommend this to teens ages 11-15.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 31, 2013
I enjoyed reading this book. The only reason I didn't give it five stars was because the fighting between Lizzie and Erin really wore on me, especially when they did it right in front of adults. I know the author wanted to paint Erin in a bad light, but I can't believe she didn't have one ounce of good in her. Just seemed a bit much as times. But, otherwise great book!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 11, 2013
If you like children's historical novels, check out this Depression-era story of a determined 12-year-old girl, Lizzie Hawkins, set in the particularly hard-bitten south. Lizzie's voice was in my head from page one, and never let go throughout. The book has an innocence to it, yet is full of the fire of its main character, as well as the grit of the unimaginably difficult situation facing her: holding her life together, and her mama’s, after her adored daddy—the family breadwinner—has left. You can bet situations like this were not uncommon at that time, which makes the book all the more poignant. This is real stuff, which according to the author’s bio, she gleaned firsthand from family elders who actually lived it.
Lizzie is feisty and headstrong, admirable in her determination and resourcefulness, which makes her very likable—a good thing, as at times, she’s also downright annoying. And yet the author still manages to make her likable. We see Lizzie's flaws and witness the reasons her friendship with the lovely Ben begins to fall apart, while she blithely tells events the way she sees them—often very differently from the way we do, (except when it comes to the horrid Erin Sawyer). This dichotomy is hard enough for an author to pull off in a third-person narrative, IMO, but Laura Golden somehow manages to make us see Lizzie as she is, even though Lizzie herself is blind to the faults that keep leading her into hot water.
Though Every Day After reflects a very specific time in history, it’s also woven with issues which are as relevant today as they were then: poverty, bullying (including an understanding of why this book’s bully is as she is), abandonment, mother-daughter role reversal (Lizzie having to fend for her mom, who’s become almost comatose with grief at the dad's departure). Yet for all the emotional weight in this book, it never becomes heavy, and for and all Lizzie’s flaws, one thing she can’t be accused of is being self-pitying, or dull, or pessimistic. Her courage had me rooting for her all the way.
Which of us sees ourselves clearly? We like to think we do, which is precisely one of Lizzie’s flaws; but it’s only when realization dawns—as with any of us—that she’s able to make the most of her strengths and pull together a positive ending (without, however, being sappy; some circumstances don’t change, after all). Lizzie is a character who will inspire readers her own age to begin to look at themselves and find similar flaws—and, more importantly, gifts.