Just hearing the anecdote behind Every Day After by Laura Golden put the book on my To-Read List. Her editor, Michelle Poploff, told the story to workshop participants at the WIK 13 event of Southern Breeze Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Laura’s husband insisted that she submit it after she met Michelle at a previous conference. Another draw for me was its setting in the Depression Era South. Historical fiction remains my favorite genre with a special preference for Southern writers who tell it true.
If you’ve grown up in the South as I have, you have either a mother, grandmother, favorite aunt or all three plus a few neighbors with a “saying” for every situation. These sayings prevent pride, toughen weakness, ease anxiety, inspire achievement, and soften sorrow.
In her debut novel, Laura Golden begins each chapter with one of these sayings as its title, hinting about upcoming issues for protagonist Lizzie Hawkins.Her first chapter title is “A Gem Is Not Polished Without Rubbing Nor a Man Perfected Without Trials.” Her last chapter is “Misfortune Is a Good Teacher.” Sandwiched in the middle is one of my favorites “He Who Makes a Mouse of Himself Will Be Eaten by the Cats.”
It would seem that Lizzie had trouble enough with the deprivation of the Depression, making sense of her father’s desertion, and trying to hide the mental state her mother has slipped into. But newcomer Erin Sawyer piles on more trouble when she appears on the scene determined to better Lizzie in school, steal her best friend, finagle a way to send Lizzie to an orphanage, and expose the secret about her mother. The sayings in the beginning of each chapter with liberal sprinklings inside help Lizzie turn some “mighty sour lemons into lemonade.”
Closing the last page with reluctance, my thoughts ran . . . Every Day After, debut novel . . . Laura Golden, Southern writer who tells it true . . . maybe a sequel or a second book . . .