Told from the perspective of Evie’s brother, sixteen-year-old Parr, Deliver Us from Evie is about a lesbian living on a farm in rural Missouri who refuses to change who she is or feel ashamed of her sexual identity. Though frequently gossiped about for her masculine clothing and hairstyle, Evie has kept a low profile in her rural town until she meets and falls in love with Patsy Duff, the daughter of the town’s banker.
Parr is one of the first to suspect Evie’s romance with Patsy when he spots a telling postcard in the mail box. While he is very curious about Evie’s sexual identity he is also almost immediately accepting and questions the prejudices around homosexuality. When his mother tells him that it is against the law he responds: “Maybe something’s wrong with the law” (p. 67).
Evie’s mother also inadvertently discovers evidence of Evie’s sexual orientation and approaches Evie directly. When confronted Evie is unwavering and unapologetic:
“Evie,” Mom said, “I wasn’t born yesterday. I’m not unfamiliar with lesbianism. Gays. Whatever you call it. Is that what you claim you are?”
“Its not what I claim I am. It’s what I am.”
“You don’t know that for sure, honey.”
“I know it. For sure. I’ve always known it.” (p. 85)
Evie’s sexual orientation is not a surprise to her mother whose reaction is based less on anger than it is on fear for her daughter and the hardships which her sexual orientation will bring. Evie’s mother tries to hide the truth from her husband, since, as she explains to Parr, “Douglas is not a sophisticated man. He won’t understand this…”(p. 66), but he also uncovers the truth, which leaves him “heartbroken”. Though he does not kick Evie out of the house or react violently, he begins to avoid his daughter and the close relationship which they previously shared deteriorates.
The story takes an interesting turn when Parr fears that Evie will leave town and the family farm, forcing him to give up his dream of going to college. In desperation he helps post a sign which outs her to the entire town. Parr’s plan is unsuccessful and he immediately regrets his actions, but in the aftermath of this event we see Evie’s parents stand up for her, and recognize that they have not abandoned their daughter. Eventually Evie does leave the small community and moves to New York and then Paris to be with Patsy, but by the story’s end Evie’s parents have worked through many of their own issues and welcome her back into the family.
Deliver Us From Evie is about an incredibly inspiring young woman who refuses to compromise who she is and a loving family that must overcome their own prejudices and fears so they can come to terms with Evie’s identity and offer their acceptance and support.
Kerr, M.E. (1994). Deliver Us From Evie. New York: Harper Collins.
1994 Best Book Honor Award (Michigan Library Association)
1995 Best Books for Young Adults (ALA)
1995 Recommended Books for Reluctant Young Adult Readers (ALA)
1995 Fanfare Honor List (The Horn Book)
1995 Books for the Teen Age (NY Public Library)