“Deliver Us from Evie” by M. E. Kerr

This story is told from the perspective of Parr Burrman, a teenage boy who lives on a farm with his family in a very small town.  His sister, Evie, is an eighteen year-old who does not fit in because of her masculine mannerisms.  At school Parr is teased that his sister is actually his brother.    When the founder of the town, Mr. Duff, holds a party, Evie meets his daughter Patsy and soon the two are spending time together.  Meanwhile, Parr develops a strong crush on a girl named Angel and spends some time with her highly religious family.  Parr fears that one day Evie will leave the farm, thus passing on the family tradition of running it to him; he agrees to help a friend post a sign saying, “Evie loves Patsy.”  This stirs up the whole town and even causes Mr. Duff to ask the police to tell Evie to stay away from Patsy.  Evie eventually does leave, hoping to meet up with Patsy in New York City.

Kerr has an excellent way with dialogue, as all of her characters seem very believable and natural.  This story seems like it would be a great read for any GLBTQ teen because it centers on a girl who has to come out to her family in a most difficult environment.  The situation is made even tougher because her parents do not understand anything about homosexuality.  The town in which she lives is backward and extremely religious, as well as small and given to gossip.  Still, Evie is an extremely honorable character as she never gives in to others’ expectations of her.  Her   character is one to which teens may look for inspiration:  She sets the example that they should live their lives as they wish, not as others decree.

I was impressed by Kerr’s pluck when dealing with the subject of lesbianism.  I was pleased that she did not skirt the issue of religion because this is likely the largest factor working against the GLBTQ population in our country.  Although many religions do not react as Angel’s family did in the story, others still see this group as sinful.  Kerr set up an interesting plot that leaves the reader wondering when everything is going to come crashing down on Evie.  However, I was happy that Parr learned an important lesson about life too:  Do not fall in love too quickly.  As he   later saw, Angel was not the person he thought she was.  This story presents a wonderful example of a strong female character to which readers can look up, no matter their orientation.

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