Then the new teacher announces that she will make a home visit to every student in the class. Evangeline desperately tries to make her life appear normal to the teacher, but her tentative optimism turns to despair and humiliation during the visit because of her father's behavior.
When she and Farrell overhear Ms. Rose tell the school principal she is going to call Social Services about the home lives of some of her students, they are convinced she is talking about them. Feeling unloved, and afraid they both will be sent to foster homes, Eddie and Farrell decide they must take drastic action.
Ebook includes bonus alternate ending and discussion questions.
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About the Author
The Ann Durell Fiction Contest was named for former publisher of Dutton Children's Books Ann Durell, who nurtured the talents of such beloved authors as Lloyd Alexander, Judy Blume, Eleanor Cameron, Walt Morey, and William Sleator. The Grand Prize was awarded to Michele Ivy Davis for the best unpublished novel aimed at readers 8-14 years old. Evangeline Brown and the Cadillac Motel was one of hundreds of submissions that were reviewed by Dutton's editorial staff.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Evangeline Dawn Brown, who used her first two initials to come up with the nickname Eddie, lives with her widowed father in an apartment of the gaudy Cadillac Motel (it actually has the end of an old pink Cadillac automobile sticking out the front) which he owns and operates on Celestial Ave. in Paradise, FL. Unfortunately, her father spends most of his time drinking beer and whisky with his old friend Jesse, who had recently moved to town and works on cars at a nearby garage, and has more often than not been in an alcoholic stupor since Eddie's mother died. It seems as if the only people who care anything about her are Ruby, the motel's housekeeper, and Angelique, a new resident at the motel who begins working some at the front desk. Because it is on the "wrong side" of town, Eddie has few friends at school.
However, the summer before Eddie goes into sixth grade, she and Jesse's son Farrell become good friends, partially because they have several things in common--grieving over dead mothers, having alcoholic fathers, and playing basketball. Things seem to be going a little better until the new school teacher that fall, Miss Rose, starts visiting the homes of her students. Eddie is almost ashamed for her to visit the Cadillac Motel. After Miss Rose had visited both Farrell's and Eddie's homes, the two youngsters overhear her telling the principal that she was going to call social services to get help for some of the families. Farrell had been involved with social services following his mother's death, was in several foster homes before coming to Paradise, and did not want to go back to that. So he and Eddie hatch a plan to run away to Atlanta, GA, and live with Farrell's grandmother. Will they make it, or will something happen to keep them from carrying out their scheme?
The theme of this award-winning book is how children who live with alcoholic, dysfunctional parents in poverty have many challenges to face but can also be resilient when necessary. Both the characters and the plot are well developed, and the narration flows smoothly for easy reading. Parents, especially of children on the younger end of the reading level, should know that there are some cursing and taking the Lord's name in vain, though Eddie does wince whenever she says a bad word because her dad had taught her not to "cuss." There is a definite sadness that runs throughout the book, but in the end there is a positive note of hope. One may not always approve of the choices that Eddie makes, but they are understandable given the circumstances, and there are important lessons to be learned from the fact that Eddie is able to find the help that she needs.
Evangeline Brown and the Cadillac Motel is described as a 'young adult' novel, but this book is an entertaining and heartfelt read for all ages. Eddie and Farrell are real, flawed kids working through tough situations with their own sense of style. I look forward to this author's next book!