Parr Burrman and his family face difficult times when word spreads through their rural Missouri town that his older sister is a lesbian, and she leaves the family farm to live with the daughter of the town's banker
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M.E. Kerr is a winner of the American Library Association's Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the 2000 ALAN award from the National Council of Teachers of English. She lives in East Hampton, New York, and remembers clearly the hometown boy who chose not to fight when all the other young men, including her brother, were marching off to war.From Booklist:
Gr. 7-12. In Kerr's personal foreward to Sutton's Hearing Us Out (see review on p.124), she talks about her parents' rejection of her lesbianism, and she discusses the special prejudice (even within the homosexual community) directed at those who "looked it," that is, looked butch. These themes are movingly dramatized in this landmark novel about 18-year-old Evie Burrman and her Missouri farm family.
Her mother is always nagging Evie to act and dress more feminine. When Evie falls in love with Patty, the beautiful, preppy daughter of the local banker, Evie's parents tell her that "it's just a phase" and that she'll snap out of it. But she has always known she's a dyke. When Patty's wealthy father uses his power to try to separate the lovers, they leave town, but they stay together.
Unlike Nancy Garden's Annie on My Mind (1982), the focus here isn't on the lesbian lovers. The story is told by Evie's 15-year-old brother, Parr, the latest of Kerr's tender, smart male teenage narrators. Through his eyes, Evie is a bit too perfect to be true (she's clever, funny, sensitive, poetic, independent, and superbly competent with farm animals and machinery); in contrast, the powerful banker is a fat, waddling, controlling villain. But the other characters, including Parr's religious fundamentalist girlfriend, are more subtly drawn. Even Parr discovers unexpected malice in himself, and his betrayal of his sister will always be a shameful secret. The place is vividly evoked: the daily farm chores, the small-town narrowness and generosity, the roots that give you strength even as you long to escape. In the end the flood that sweeps the area is both a realistic disaster and a transforming power that helps soften the family divisions. It shows what Evie has always said about herself: nature is an irresistible force.
We've come a long way from the stories of homosexual love that end in disaster. No car crashes here. No sin. No victims. Evie has to leave home, and she misses the farm; but then she and Patty get an apartment in New York City, and they fly to Paris and Rome. Patty drives a fancy car, and it doesn't crash.
If Kerr's message is more overt than usual, it's a complicated message, and she has a lot of fun with it. Teens will be swept up in the emotion and immediacy of Parr's fast-paced narrative, his voice perfectly pitched between wit and melancholy. It's a story that challenges stereotypes, not only about love, but also about farmers and families and religion and responsibility--about all our definitions of "normal." Hazel Rochman
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Book Description Harpercollins Childrens Books, 1994. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110060244755
Book Description Harpercollins Childrens Books, 1994. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0060244755
Book Description Harpercollins Childrens Books, 1994. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0060244755
Book Description Harpercollins Childrens Books. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0060244755 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0948236