Every Day After
In Every Day After, sixth-grader Lizzie Hawkins is having a bad time of it. Growing up in Bittersweet, Alabama, during the Great Depression, Lizzie must face a myriad of problems. First, her father has disappeared, leaving behind only a note for her mother and a locket with his picture in it for Lizzie. Her mother is not taking abandonment well; she sits on the front porch rocker or stays in bed all day. Lizzie must cook the food, do the laundry, and make sure her mother eats and stays clean. As if that isn’t enough, Lizzie’s nemesis, Erin, is tormenting her in school because Lizzie has the highest grade average. Erin is determined to get Lizzie out of the way so she can take the number one spot. Erin also has her mind made up to steal Lizzie’s best friend, Ben.
Through Lizzie’s first-person viewpoint, we see the cruelty of grade school juxtaposed against the larger problems adults face. And, though Lizzie has a lot on her plate, she is a less-than-perfect kid herself. The author has tried to portray a child who needs to learn how we should treat each other. However, Lizzie’s attitudes are irritating, and I found myself rooting for Erin at various points in the story. And the ending, which reveals a surprise about Erin, ultimately seems forced.