28 September 2010

Sexy Book Review: Deliver Us From Evie

As I said in my Sunday Salon, this weeks' reads and reviews are focused on sex, the positive, life-affirming, chills-inducing good stuff, the stuff people want to remove from our libraries so as to not "corrupt" our youth. Well youth be warned...and let the sexy begin...

Title: Deliver Us From Evie
Author: M.E. Kerr
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: 18 August 1995
Date Finished: 25 September 2010

Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid

Challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge, Reading Resolutions, Women UnBound, YA Reading Challenge, GLBT Challenge, Hogwarts Reading Challenge,

The Short and Sweet of It
Parr's fifteen years old but he knows a few things. One, he doesn't want to be a farmer like his brother Doug and sister Evie. Two, he likes Angel Kidder. Three, his sister is a lesbian. Told from Parr's point of view, the story reveals all three of the Burrman kids' love lives: Doug and his slightly uppity girlfriend, Evie and her rebellious girlfriend, and Parr and his religious girlfriend. Evie's journey is at the heart of the story even as we - for obvious reasons - get more details about Parr's.

The Sex of It aka Why It's Banned
No surprise here, the primary reason your typical book banner would get in a huff over this one is homosexuality.  Issues of homosexuality are directly addressed time and again throughout the story. Evie's mother berates her for not dressing more feminine, espousing the theory that if Evie is going to be gay, she should at least try to hide it. Evie replies the only way she can:
Some of us look it, Mom! I know you so-called normal people would like it better if we looked as much like all of you as possible, but some of us don't, can't, and never will! And some others of us go for the ones who don't, can't, and never will.

Cord, who has a crush on Evie, succumbs to the "lesbians just haven't met the right man" theory, and has this wonderful tidbit to offer:
"Do you think being a dyke is sinful?" [Parr] asked him.

"Hell no! It's not serious enough to be a sin. It's kid stuff. Two women is...Now two men - that's another matter. That's sin in the Bible."

The book is full of little scenarios like this, lines and actions and thoughts that remind readers of the stupid little falsities and generalities revolving around homosexuality. With this book, however, we have a two-for-one deal because not only would book banners get their grandma-style panties in a bunch over the homosexuality, but the 15 year old boy and his hymn-singing girlfriend get a bit frisky too:
Parr and Angel have just left a dance; once they get in the car together...

Angel was all over me, or I was all over her, or we were all over each other. We'd never really been off alone together, and we just let go.

I had to say, "Hey, wait!"

"For what?"

"Didn't you ever hear boys get excited?"

"Girls do too."

"It doesn't show though."

"I like it showing." She laughed.
Why that naughty girl....

Overall Recommendation
I found the juxtaposition of homosexuality and farming quite interesting. Kerr dispels common misconceptions about both groups. I found it rather refreshing that Kerr manages to raise the issues of each without harping on them in some soapboxy or melodramatic fashion. That being said, the book almost felt more about farming than it was about lesbianism. Telling the story from Parr's perspective seemed like a bit of a cop out; as if having Evie tell the story would have been too dramatic. Overall, I can't put my finger on exactly how I feel about this book (speaking of cop outs right?).

This Book Around the Web
If I've missed your review, let me know!

AfterEllen; GoodReads;
I think the wonderful Cass from Bonjour Cass! is putting up her review of this book today as well.

A Sexy Question: What's the sexiest kiss you've ever read about in a book?

Sexiness Kiss Quotient:


  1. Sounds interesting, but you are right, like Evie's relationship and homosexuality doesn't get as much as we would get as if the story was from her point of view. But I wonder if that difference makes it unique, instead of her struggles we see how her brother relates to her? Or is it still just not done super well?

  2. Fascinating! The title suggests Evie might be evil, but no? Just a lesbian, then, huh? Oh the horrors. The farming might bore me, though. (don't tell my friends who are farmers, no disrespect intended.)

  3. I also find it interesting that this book shifts focus between homosexuality and farming. Those two things seem a little incongruous, so I would be interested to read this and see what I make of it. I really liked your review and despite the fact that I had never heard of this book before, I am looking forward to trying it now!

  4. So I'm wondering what came first, the title or the character's name?

  5. M.E. Kerr has been around for ages and has written many books with gay and lesbian characters. Nite Kites; Gentle Hands; Hello, I Lied, to name a few. Most of them have secondary gay characters with a hetero narrator. That was much more typical of YA books back when she started.

  6. This sounds like a good choice for the GLBT challenge! I am not familiar with it so I will have to see if my library has a copy.

  7. Amy - I think it was done well, and I definitely think that it offers a unique perspective... I just can't seem to form any definitive opinion.

    Care - LOL! No worries. I married a farmer, and I still get bored by it from time to time.

    Heather - I really hope you do read it! I need to see if anyone else can articulate my half-formed thoughts about it.

    Jill - Too funny. I had the same thought. I wondered if the author got clever with a phrase and then organized a book around it.

    C.B. - It makes sense that using hetero pov would be a stepping stone for gay-focused literature. I'll have to check out her other books.

    Stephanie - I really hope you read it. Since I'm so back and forth on my feelings about it, I really want to read other peoples' reviews!

  8. I used to read a lot of M.E. Kerr books but don't remember this at all.

    And as far as kisses ... I'm drawing a blank. So sorry!

  9. Jenners - Read it and tell me what to think about it. I'm sick of thinking for myself. :)

  10. I'm definitely going to read this soon! I think the sexiest kiss I've read in a book might come from Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden, which is another banned book.

  11. Vasilly - I will have to check that one out. There's nothing quite like a sexy kiss.


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