Here Today

( 26 )

Overview


Newbery Honor medalist Ann M. Martin's "unforgettable" (Booklist, starred) family story, now in paperback

"In 1963, Ellie's mother, Doris Day Dingman, was crowned the Bosetti Beauty at Mr. Bosetti's supermarket, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and the Dingmans began to fall apart." So begins 11-yr-old Eleanor Roosevelt Dingman's story. Ellie, who is about to start 6th grade in the small town of Spectacle, NY, is the oldest child in her off-center family. Her father works construction jobs, while her ...

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Here Today

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Overview


Newbery Honor medalist Ann M. Martin's "unforgettable" (Booklist, starred) family story, now in paperback

"In 1963, Ellie's mother, Doris Day Dingman, was crowned the Bosetti Beauty at Mr. Bosetti's supermarket, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and the Dingmans began to fall apart." So begins 11-yr-old Eleanor Roosevelt Dingman's story. Ellie, who is about to start 6th grade in the small town of Spectacle, NY, is the oldest child in her off-center family. Her father works construction jobs, while her mother, Doris, has only one dream - to become a rich and famous actress. But when that dream leads to Doris's abandonment of the family, it is Ellie who is called upon to take charge.

In 1963, when her flamboyant mother abandons the family to pursue her dream of becoming an actress, eleven-year-old Ellie Dingman takes charge of her younger siblings, while also trying to deal with her outcast status in school and frightening acts of prejudice toward the "misfits" that live on her street.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Kirkus 10/15/04
Sixth-grader Eleanor Roosevelt Dingman lives on the wrong side of the tracks in Spectacle, New York, in 1963. Bigotry abounds, and there are many acts of vandalism against the lone Jewish family and a pair of elderly women who live together. It's even worse at school, with Ellie and her best friend Holly the victims of endless bullying and hazing. But of most concern to Ellie is the future of her family. Her mother, Doris Day Dingman, is self-promoting, and totally self-absorbed. When she leaves to pursue her show-business dreams, Ellie is devastated, but understands that this outcome was inevitable. Martin has created a sensitive, sympathetic character in a setting rich with detail that place her firmly in the period. Occasional loose ends in the plot put this a step below her best work, but Martin's fans will recognize Ellie's emotional struggle and breathe a sigh of relief at the ending. (Fiction. 10-12)

Horn Book Magazine
(November 1, 2004;
(Intermediate, Middle School) In her small town of Spectacle in 1963, Ellie Dingman has two strikes against her. One, the Dingmans live on a street made up of what the town considers oddballs: "the ladies" (a presumably lesbian couple), a bohemian Jewish family, and an unmarried mother (whose daughter Holly is Ellie's best friend). And two, Ellie's cheaply glamorous, self-centered mother, "Doris Day" Dingman, is desperate to break into show business, heedless of the consequences to her family. Ellie hears the snickers and understands town dynamics better than Doris does, but without fuss she cooks dinner, cares for her younger siblings, and generally holds the family together. A series of "Bad Things" happens on her street (smashed mailboxes, a defaced tree, the poisoning of a cat); while at school, Ellie and Holly are targeted for humiliating physical abuse by their fellow sixth-graders. A story set in 1963 is bound to turn on the assassination of JFK, and this one is no exception. Inspired by Jackie Kennedy's abruptly changed life, Doris decides to make a new life for herself in New York City. The novel shows these painful events from Ellie's perspective, and because she is so resilient, we don't dwell on her troubles any more than Ellie does herself. With her fluidly accessible writing style, Martin evokes family and school life in the early sixties to perfection and creates a number of nuanced characters to surround her very ordinary yet compelling main character. Copyright 2004 of The Horn Book, Inc. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly
(October 4, 2004;

Martin, who explored with such insight the themes of ostracism and family conflict in Belle Teal and A Corner of the Universe, affectingly reexamines them in this third novel set in the 1960s. Eleanor ("Ellie") Roosevelt Dingman, a sixth-grade resident of Spectacle, N.Y., wrestles with her feelings about her family and neighborhood, which is filled with social misfits. ("Every time Ellie neared her street she was struck by two opposing feelings, and wasn't sure how her heart had room for both of them. She felt a tugging fondness for her small house and the four other houses on the street. And she felt a pang of embarrassment at being one of the people who lived on Witch Tree Lane.") Ellie's chief source of anxiety is her mother, Doris Day Dingman, who acts more like a beauty queen than a mother. Tension mounts as Doris becomes increasingly obsessed with becoming a famous actress and grows neglectful of her children. Around the time of Kennedy's assassination, she decides to leave her family to pursue her dream in New York City. Readers may find it unsettling that Ellie fails to make a significant connection with either parent. Her attitude toward her star-struck mother and remote father is as ambivalent at the end of the story as it is in the beginning. But Ellie shows fierce loyalty to her neighbors, especially her best friend,

Publishers Weekly
"Martin, who explored with such insight the themes of ostracism and family conflict in Belle Teal and A Corner of the Universe, affectingly reexamines them in this third novel set in the 1960s," PW said of this tale in which a girl's mother abandons the family to pursue a career as an actress. Ages 10-14. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
"Doris' presence was huge, as if she were an inflating balloon, taking up all the air and space." That sums up one of the most self-absorbed mothers to appear in children's literature. Modeling at the department store and being a local beauty queen whets her appetite for the big time, and Doris takes off for New York. Ellie, the eldest daughter, long ago assumed the responsible mother role in the family and she continues to care for the house and her younger brother and sister. Meanwhile, Ellie and her best friend endure cruel hazing at school. This is a bittersweet novel where the characters you root for emerge strong and able to face the future. Ellie is completely engaging. The father seemed underdrawn at first but as circumstances require it, he does what needs to be done. At just over 300 pages this is a real family saga with room for characters to grow and plots and subplots to develop. 2004, Scholastic, Ages 10 to 14.
—Beth Guldseth
From The Critics
In Here Today, Ann M. Martin addresses the problems of social ostracism, broken families, and one girl's struggle to define who she is. Eleanor Roosevelt Dingman is a sixth-grade girl living in the small town of Spectacle, New York. She practices the art of camouflage to escape the cruel taunts of the Sparrows, the popular clique of girls at school. Her mother, Doris Day Dingman, is the prettiest woman in all of Spectacle, the star of local plays, and the Bosetti Beauty. Everything begins to change when John F. Kennedy is assassinated. Doris decides that life is too short and leaves for New York City to pursue her dream of acting on Broadway. Ellie is left to care for her brother and sister, all the while struggling to discover who she is and why her mother could leave her behind. Here Today is an engrossing story about the strength inside of us all. This book would be appropriate for sixth- to eighth-graders and for anyone student who is struggling with divorce. 2004, Scholastic Press, 308 pp., Ages young adult.
—Karolinde Young
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-A poignant story set in the 1960s that tells of a girl coming to accept her mother's inability to parent and to realize her own strength and separateness. Ellie Dingman, 11, has a beautiful mother who is always looking for her big break into show business. She has renamed herself Doris Day Dingman and insists that her children call her "Doris" rather than "Mom." Her immature delusions of grandeur in their small Hudson River Valley town are a source of deep embarrassment to Ellie, who is painfully aware of how cheap most people find Doris. She is often not home; much of the care of her younger siblings falls to Ellie, whose father works long hours. When mean girls target her best friend, Ellie and Holly try to be as inconspicuous as Doris is conspicuous. After President Kennedy is assassinated, the aspiring starlet realizes that life is short; she leaves the family, heading to New York City, where Ellie finds her months later, not living glamorously but working in a department store. Doris returns home only once, to gather all her things and move to Hollywood. Martin paints a well-articulated picture of the times, but it is her memorable child and adult characters that shine here. Like Hattie in A Corner of the Universe (Scholastic, 2002), Ellie is a perceptive and compassionate protagonist who ultimately comes into her own.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Sixth-grader Eleanor Roosevelt Dingman lives on the wrong side of the tracks in Spectacle, New York, in 1963. Bigotry abounds, and there are many acts of vandalism against the lone Jewish family and a pair of elderly women who live together. It's even worse at school, with Ellie and her best friend Holly the victims of endless bullying and hazing. But of most concern to Ellie is the future of her family. Her mother, Doris Day Dingman, is self-promoting, and totally self-absorbed. When she leaves to pursue her show-business dreams, Ellie is devastated, but understands that this outcome was inevitable. Martin has created a sensitive, sympathetic character in a setting rich with detail that place her firmly in the period. Occasional loose ends in the plot put this a step below her best work, but Martin's fans will recognize Ellie's emotional struggle and breathe a sigh of relief at the ending. (Fiction. 10-12)First printing of 50,000
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439579452
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/28/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 425,865
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.48 (w) x 10.98 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author


Ann M. Martin's The Baby-Sitters Club series sold over 176 million copies and inspired a generation of young readers. Her novels include the Main Street series, BELLE TEAL, the Newbery Honor book A CORNER OF THE UNIVERSE, HERE TODAY, A DOG'S LIFE, and ON CHRISTMAS EVE, as well as the much-loved collaborations P.S, LONGER LETTER LATER and SNAIL MAIL NO MORE with Paula Danziger, and THE DOLL PEOPLE and THE MEANEST DOLL IN THE WORLD, written with Laura Godwin and illustrated by Brian Selznick. She lives in upstate New York.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 26 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(19)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 3, 2009

    Here Today, Don't Leave Tomorrow!

    Ann M. Martin tells a story of Eleanor (Ellie) Dingman, a girl living in the 1960's. Her mother, who is struck by fame, abruptly leaves for New York, where she thinks that she will further her acting career. Now, what does an eleven year old girl do with no mother, a father who is a workaholic, and a younger brother and sister? She takes on the role of her mother. She cooks, cleans, and watches out for her siblings. Hearing about Mrs. Dingman's abandonment of the family, the children at school quickly make the Dingman children outcasts. They are abused verbally and even physically by their peers. Luckily, Ellie has Holly, a girl in the neighborhood also with a single parent. Ellie and Holly become best friends, and fight the torment at school together. This determines Ellie to reunite her family, and she takes a trip to the Big Apple. Although not the quite outcome she expects, Ellie gets the family bond that she had been thirsting for since her mother left. In my opinion, this story is fabulous, and Ann M. Martin has amazing writing talents. One thing I liked was the twist at the end. You are expecting one out of two moods- sad or happy. But most never anticipate that it could end as a mixture of both. Another element of the story that I thought was well thought out, was Holly. I think that if the story did not include Holly, the mood and tone would be very dark and depressing. Ellie would virtually have no friends, and would be alone through her 6th grade year. Everyone should read this book, teens to adults, boys and girls, because it makes you think. It makes you realize how different society was just 40 years ago, and it gives you a better understanding that you are very fortunate to live in the community you do today. I would give this book 5 stars, because it is an exceptional read, and it is written creatively. It is a tasteful book with courageous characters and an interesting plot.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2013

    Hi

    It took an hour to read. Is a good book. It made me cry.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Really good book

    This book is really good for people how like historical books. I really like this author. She has such a good taste of words.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2008

    So Good It Could Be True

    At the end of this story i felt like I've learned something and i felt good. I picked this book randomly but it was so good it almost seemed real. With the the true fact of JFK dying it seemed this could be a girl with her share of problems. I didn't expect to learn anything when i finished but i really did. This book has it's moments when you think a character changed their mind about a decision they made or it wasn't a resolution you thought was all great but it makes sense to just feel what this girl Ellie is going through. It starts off slow but just keep going give it a shot because it's worth it. It's like your walking in another person's shoes.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2013

    This is a great story but I thought in the beginning of the stor

    This is a great story but I thought in the beginning of the story it was very confusing to understand

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2008

    this is the best book

    this is my officially favorite book and i know good books i dont like the preveiw because it doesnt show the excitment and the emotion that this book truly holds i have read it a gazillion times and it is just so good i think everyone would fall in love with it one way or another

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2008

    Gone tomorrow

    Here Today was a good book, but had little moral. If you do not enjoy family novels do not read this book. After reading this book four or five times 'for a book report' I have gone through all the book, read every detial, I say the book was good. But not wonderful or great.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2008

    a reviewer

    Ellie is wonderful. All here life she really has had alot of responsability. Her mom does not relize how lucky she is with the family she has. So..Ellie ends up really taking over the job her mom is supposed to do-be a mother. Ellie cleans, cooks, and cares for her two younger siblings. All this for a tween. And to think.. how the kids at school treat her :( If I was her I would be SO overwelmed. What a brave girl.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2007

    went through the same thing as elinor

    this book made me cry because i had some events happen to me like this.I'd read this book again!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 29, 2014

    Although story plot was very depressing, especially to children

    Although story plot was very depressing, especially to children around the age 8 or 9, it was a very good book. Reading the first couple pages, it seems like an interesting story. An 11 year old girl named Eleanor going in to 6th grade lives in the 60's with a mother who wants to be famous. As I was reading this, I knew that something bad would happen, involving the mother because she seems to drift farther and farther from her family throughout the book. You know that it's gonna happen, but you don't know what "it" is yet. Then you read about Ellie and Holly how they are tormented by the Sparrows, and you just feel bad for them. It seems real and it's a very good book. It makes you think about how you would feel in the situation, and it has a very nice way of writing and how it transitions through each problem. I recommend this book to everyone, it's probably one of my favorite books I have ever read. I feel like everyone, from children to adults can read this book. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2014

    Favorite book in the world!!!

    Loved this book. If you don't like realistic fiction... Dont read this! Loved Ellie and Holly. Love Ann M. Martin!!! Must read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2013

    Anonymous

    One of my favorite books ever!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2007

    Tammy moves to town and Ellie¿s mother runs off to become a movie star. Now what?

    Eleanor Roosevelt Dingman¿s life has now been officially messed up. Her mother, Doris, stirs up the town by organizing beauty pageants, parades, and cover girls, with herself as the star. As Doris fusses over her looks and skills, Ellie is caught in a heap of trouble at school. Nancy, Maggie, and Donna, the most popular 'and meanest' girls in school were bad enough, but when Tammy moves to town and joins the group, trouble as it was would now seem like none at all. Tammy preaches to the whole grade that Ellie is ¿weird¿ and ¿the enemy¿. She teaches them the art of ¿slamming¿, so now, wherever she goes, Ellie is plowed over and pushed to the ground. When Tammy has her fill, she snaps her perfectly manicured fingers and just like that, Ellie¿s classmates decide she is invisible. Just when Ellie chooses to tell Doris about her ¿slamming bruises¿ and the unbearable invisible-ism at school, Doris is up and running to New York City to be a star. ¿It¿s where I belong,¿ she says. So now, motherless, Ellie and her brother and sister are forced to give up the things they love to get what they need the most. This book might start off slow and confusing, but it gets WAT better. The situations in this book could happen to anyone, and anyone could relate to it. Watch out, because Here Today is here¿ today!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2007

    This Book Is Great!

    This was an excellent book! I loved it and couldn't put it down. The great story will keep the pages turning and your eyes glued to the pages. I loved and now I'm hooked on Ann M. Martins books!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2006

    a SAD yet HAPPILY SURPRISING book

    this book is full of surprises and is sad. but the main character over comes fear and makes the ending happyer than ever! I'm even doing a book report on this book!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2006

    One of the Greatest Books I've Read in a While

    I always link Ann M. Martin to the Babysitters Club, and I thought of the series as realistic and great to read. But when I finished reading Here Today, I didn't see Ann M. Martin the same way. I guess it's sort of a shock when you picture someone who's written short, not-exactly-novels-but-good books. And then you read something as touching, realistic, original, and incredible as Here Today. There's no happy ending, but instead a bittersweet one, which is a relief, because the happily-ever-after thing is so cliche. After typing this review, I only have three words for you: read Here Today.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2006

    :O)

    this was a good book! a little sad...happy...funny...it was a really good book!! i liked it alot!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2006

    Here Today

    This was a great book. It was very suspenseful. It was very sad in some parts, but in others, happy. If I do find any other books by this author I will read them. I gave this book five stars.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2006

    Read Here Today Here, Now, Today

    The book that I am reviewing is Here Today by Ann M. Martin. This book is about a girl named Ellie with a mom who only cares about shopping and who has a cheap sense of style. Ellie also has a hardworking father who works long hours. Ellie is very responsible unlike her mother who dreams of being a star. One day Ellie¿s mother leaves to go to New York City. It is very hard on the family because Ellie¿s father works long hours. Since Ellie is the oldest she is in charge of her younger siblings. At this time there is a lot of pressure on Ellie but she tries to hold it all in. This book deserves four stars because it is a really interesting book. I recommend this book to people who don¿t like drastic adventures and love happy endings. Other books by this author are the Baby Sitters Club Series and A the Corner of the Universe.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2005

    Very good book, Very bad mother

    Here Today takes place in the sixties, when president Kennedy got shot. The main girl is Ellie, whose life is definitly not perfect. An outcast in school, Ellie resorts to the love of her neighborhood, which is not the nicest. Her mother is known throughout the town as an attention- seeking wannabee who will do anything to get her big break. Ellie, who is the total opposite of her mom, must deal with her mom's very important descision. Great charachters and an interesting plot makes this book a must-read and a soon to be classic.

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