Elizabeth Varadan | The Children’s Book Review | March 13, 2015
By Laura Golden
Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (June 11, 2013)
What to Expect: Wry humor in the writing and heart-wringing moments, as Lizzie copes with her mother’s depression and a competitive classmate with problems of her own.
Lizzie is an over-achiever thanks to her dad, whom she idolizes. Before he went away, he urged her not to just be good at her studies, but to be the best. Then the depression hits their small Alabama town and he loses his job at the steel mill. Some of his own spark goes out, and finally he leaves to find work. Lizzie knows he’ll come back, and she still stands on tiptoe, trying to please him and be top in her class. But at home she has her hands full: Her mother has withdrawn from life, unable to function. In addition to studies, Lizzie has to do everything at home – laundry, cooking, shopping, even getting her mother up and dressed for the day. Not surprisingly, her grades start to slip.
To make matters worse, Erin, a mean-spirited girl at school, has a strange grudge against Lizzie. Erin is determined not just to surpass her, but to make her fail. She threatens to expose how ill Lizzie’s mother is, so that Lizzie will end up in an orphanage. Then Lizzie discovers mortgage payments on their house have lapsed. She and her mother may become homeless unless Lizzie can find a way to earn money.
Lizzie’s quirky way of looking at the world and thinking about people makes her an endearing protagonist. She’s stubborn, a trait that complicates her already daunting life. She’s smart, and can size people up in a heartbeat. She’s resourceful, which helps her come up with solutions, though some are misguided. And she cares deeply for her flawed parents.
But Lucy isn’t the only person who may lose her home. The author captures the realities of the depression of the thirties and the way it forced businesses to shut down and families to break up. A deft rendering of a bygone and sad era, showing, through the eyes of the sixth grade Lizzie, the various ways people coped.
“That loudmouthed banker. Didn’t he know it wasn’t professional to go around announcing his customers’ business to the entire church congregation? I wasn’t God or anything, but I didn’t think he’d exactly go to heaven for that.”
This book will appeal to middle grade readers who like spunky protagonists, are dealing with difficult family situations, and who like learning about earlier eras in America, (in this case the depression in the 1930s).
Add this book to your collection: Every Day After, by Laura Golden
About the Author
LAURA GOLDEN loved listening to older generations spin tales about “the good ol’ days.” She was inspired to write this story based in part on her family history.
Every Day After, by Laura Golden, was reviewed by Elizabeth Varadan. Discover more books like Every Day After by following along with our reviews and article tagged with Historical Fiction Books and Great Depression Books.