Every Day AfterBy Laura Golden
Random House, 2013
About the Book
It’s been two months since Lizzie’s daddy disappeared due to the awful Depression. Lizzie’s praying he’ll return to Bittersweet, Alabama, for her birthday. It won’t feel special without him, what with Lizzie’s Mama being so sad she won’t even talk and the bank nipping at their heels for a mortgage payment.
Daddy expected her to be the best at any cost. But Lizzie claims “that cost me my top grades and my best friend. It’s dumped ’em both square into Erin’s hands. She’s gone batty if she thinks she’s gonna get me carted off to the orphanage.”
While Lizzie waits, she finds comfort writing in her journal. As time passes, she can only picture her daddy’s face by opening her locket. If others can get by, why did her daddy leave? If he doesn’t return, how can she overcome the same obstacles that drove him away?
I loved Every Day After by Laura Golden. I love it not because the characters are oh-so-perfect. I love it because the characters are oh-so-human. Our heroine, Lizzie Hawkins, is flawed but lovable. Every Day After is her coming-of-age story, and it’s a great one.
Every Day After is set in the early 1930s. Lizzie’s father recently abandoned his family because he knew that they were about to lose their house. In addition, her mother has not been the same since he left. She has checked out mentally and emotionally. She has lost touch with reality.
Lizzie doesn’t know why her father left; she even hopes that he will come back and save them all. But Lizzie is determined to be strong and brave and resourceful until then. She will take care of her mother. She will not let her mother be put into a mental hospital. She will not let the authorities put her into an orphanage.
Her father had a simple rule: Never, ever accept charity. To ask for help is to show weakness, and weakness is to be despised. But does Lizzie have to be strong in the same way as her Dad?
Lizzie may feel she has to do it alone. But there are people in her life who do care.
Lizzie has a best friend, Ben, and a worst enemy, Erin. It drives Lizzie crazy that Ben doesn’t hate Erin too. That Ben actually treats Erin with kindness and respect. She thinks that because Erin treats her awful, bullies and teases her, that Ben should hate Erin on principle. But it is not in Ben’s nature to hate anyone. He is gentle and sensitive and compassionate. He sees what Lizzie absolutely cannot: that Erin is in tremendous emotional pain.
I loved the themes of this novel, how Lizzie grew through the story, how she learned about life, love, friendship, and family. What I loved the most about Every Day After was the characterization and the writing. I cared deeply about the characters. Some scenes were very intense and uncomfortable because I felt so much. I adored Ben!