The Education of Dixie Dupree by Donna Everhart: A Review

Young Dixie Dupree and her brother AJ, mother, and father live in rural Alabama.  Dixie's relationship with her mother is strained and always has been and Dixie doesn't really know why.  Dixie always seems to drive her mother into a rage and, sometimes, her mother reacts with violence that Dixie is then asked to keep secret to protect the family.  Dixie's mother is originally from New Hampshire and misses home which causes a rift between her and her husband.  When Dixie's father breaks down and winds up severely hurt, Dixie's Uncle Ray pays the family a visit in order to help the family through their troubled times.  Soon, Dixie realizes that Uncle Ray may be in Alabama for his own reasons.      

One of my reading goals for this year was to read more books by local authors.  Considering Everhart was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, which is about fifteen minutes from where I currently live, I was enticed to read what the book was about.  The synopsis is what hooked me.  I love coming of age stories and this is a great one!

You can really hear the different voices in this novel.  The story is told by eleven-year-old Dixie and it sounds very much like a story told by an eleven-year-old southern girl, albeit one that has been through enough to make her grow up quickly.  The writing will plant you right in the heart of the land of sweet tea, the Piggly Wiggly and the swimming hole.  When you read this book you will feel Dixie's pain and anguish but also her strength and resilience.  The characters were some of the best I have come across.  At first, I felt extremely angry an frustrated at Dixie's mother but she turned out to be a hero in the end, protecting Dixie when it mattered most.

This story can be triggering for some (most) people.  It is about family secrecy but also physical and sexual abuse.  The abuse scenes are detailed and graphic.  They are incredibly hard to read but I do believe that this book is very important.  It is honest about how dysfunctional families tend to operate and how abusers behave.  Everhart is very brave to write about such a horrible part of life in too many families.      

I liked this book and I would recommend it to just about anyone.  Readers that enjoy very complex characters with unique voices will like this book.  Fans of southern fiction will be thrilled with this one.


A Piggly Wiggly in North Carolina
Watch the author describe the book with UNC TV here:





Donna Everhart's second novel, The Road to Bittersweet, is expected to be released in December of 2017.

Reviews of books like this one:
One of the Boys by Daniel Margariel
June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
The Child by Fiona Barton

This book is currently available and can be purchased from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Read more reviews on this book on Goodreads.

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