In 1969, Dixie Dupree is eleven years old and already an expert liar. Sometimes the lies are for her mama, Evie’s sake—to explain away a bruise brought on by her quick-as-lightning temper. And sometimes the lies are to spite Evie, who longs to leave her unhappy marriage in Perry County, Alabama, and return to her beloved New Hampshire. But for Dixie and her brother, Alabama is home, a place of pine-scented breezes and hot, languid afternoons. Though Dixie is learning that the family she once believed was happy has deep fractures, even her vivid imagination couldn’t concoct the events about to unfold. Dixie records everything in her diary—her parents’ fights, her father’s drinking and his unexplained departure, and the arrival of Uncle Ray. Only when Dixie desperately needs help and is met with disbelief does she realize how much damage her past lies have done. But she has courage and a spirit that may yet prevail, forcing secrets into the open and allowing her to forgive and become whole again.
Sometimes, a story captivates you and you don’t know exactly why. After only a few pages, The Education of Dixie Dupree had already won me over. There was something about it that made it special… or perhaps it was simply that everything seemed to click.
I’ve always loved southern stories, mostly in films (I don’t think there are more quirky southern films for me to watch… Ya-ya Sisterhood, Fried Green Tomatoes, Now & Then… I’ve seen them all), but I’d love to read more books set in this particular location. The Education of Dixie Dupree was narrated by an eleven-year-old kid from Alabama, and that is probably the main reason why I loved it so much: Dixie was absolutely delightful and I found her an incredibly strong main character, with her virtues and flaws, both realistic and unforgettable.
So what is it about? In a word: Abuse. If you want me to develop it a bit more, I’d say that this is the story of a young girl who starts lying to protect her mother (a woman who doesn’t know how to control herself) and so she earns a reputation as a liar. But what happens when she really needs help? Will people actually believe her?
By reading the blurb and my review, you can easily figure out what’ll happen to Dixie, can’t you? But don’t let that discourage you: this novel is a true gem. There aren’t many books that manage to make you laugh out loud and two pages later feel completely horrified. This is why I found this so unique. Dixie is sassy, smart and brave but deeply innocent at the same time, something which made me suffer a lot.
I’m going to be completely honest: this is not an easy read. No matter how lovely the cover is, there are some graphic scenes in here and they’re not nice to read. The Education of Dixie Dupree will make you feel uncomfortable, but I will recomend it anyway. However, if you have problems reading about violence towards kids and sexual abuse, you should keep this in mind.
The book had already earned my 5 stars, but then I finished reading the writer’s epilogue and I fell even more in love with it. I won’t mention what exactly (because of potential spoilers), but basically, the author stated not all stories about child abuse are the same and I simply loved her choice of perspective.
Kensington Publishing Corp 2016