The Education of Dixie Dupree (Donna Everhart)

28814312.jpgIn 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.

Similar recommendations:
The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (Rebecca Wells)
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt (Beth Hoffman)

Other reviews:
Bookish Regards
The Deb Chronicles

Kensington Publishing Corp 2016

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In a past life, I was probably a tortured police detective with a dark and traumatic past. Right now, however, I'm just a twenty-something bookworm who loves to listen to old songs and watch 90s movies. I enjoy mystery and crime, southern coming of age stories and historical fiction set in the last century.

46 thoughts on “The Education of Dixie Dupree (Donna Everhart)

    1. I understand the topic is serious, but the book gives a unique perspective and it’s not depressing once you finish it. It gives you hope, that’s what I’m trying to say 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I understand. I guess it’s just I’ve got so much to read, that I tend to favour books that don’t touch on topics I prefer not to read about. It’s not that I’m blind to what goes on, and I’m not shying away from dark topics – I’ve spent too long in this world to know what the reality is. I read plenty of dark stuff when I was younger, so I suspect it might just be changing tastes as much as anything.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. No. I totally get it! I just wanted to let you know that even though it’s a dark topic, it’s not a depressing book.

          I, for example, never read about people with cancer… don’t like those themes 😅

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand, but it’s not a depressing book. What I tried to say at the end is that not every book about this topic has to have a MC with long-term issues 🙂

      It’s a wonderful read ^^

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great review as always and this intrigues me. I like books set in the South too. I see you have compared it to The Secret Life of Bees which I also like. The cover reminded me also of The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Thanks for the warning about the heavy themes. I would still read this one especially due to the setting and characterization. It has a diversity feel to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your review has me adding The Education of Dixie Dupree to my TBR list. I hadn’t realized that there was so much to this novel, so thank you. Warnings appreciated, but they only make me more interested, plus I always enjoy books set in the south.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such a lovely review. I have a thing for southern quirk as well 😉 Yes to Fried Green Tomatoes. This seems like one of those rare books that could definitely bring me out of the normal genres for a good read.


  4. Great review and thanks for the warning. I do read books on occasion with tough topics, but I’m not so sure I’d make it through graphic abuse with children. Books like this really need to be read though because it does happen in real life.


  5. How have I not heard about this one?! This book seems right up my alley. I do tend to be sensitive to child abuse, but I think these books are so very important to read, even if they are uncomfortable. Great review Annie!


    1. I hope you decide to read it! The voice was so unique and I don’t know, I just loved Dixie so much. I’ll be thinking of this one for a looong time

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow! You hooked me. It’s such an important topic and although I haven’t read much on child abuse this one seems like it’s such an important and good one to read. Adding this to my TBR because I think it’s a definite To Be Read! Amazing review!


  7. I like the sound of this one Annie, despite the fact it is going to be a difficult read. It is hard to get child character’s right, but when it works, as this one seems to, it can be exceptionally powerful. Thanks for sharing I will be looking out for The Education of Dixie Dupree

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m intrigued! I love that there seems to be a contrast between the child’s character and the events, and that despite the happy color, this story sounds painfully heavy. Fab review!


      1. That’s good, because sometimes I feel authors feel compelled to give a dark ending to a heavy story. Guys, sometimes the sun shines and it’s okay to give your readers a not-so-dark ending!


  9. I have read this book, with lots of hesitation. Your review is spot on. I’m glad that I read it, I might compare it with the book “Room” not a lot of happy, but still after reading it several years ago it has stayed with me. I understand that it isn’t for everyone.


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