I loved, loved, 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 novel, 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!!!
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews