Kerr, M. E. Deliver Us from Evie. New York: HarperCollins, 1994. 177 pages.
Parr’s older sister was always a bit different from the other girls in their small town; she dresses in men’s clothes, prefers to help out her father on the farm, and plans to take over running the family’s farm eventually. However, Parr begins noticing changes in Evie’s behavior after the family attends a Halloween party thrown by the Duffs, who own most of the land in Duffton. Soon after the party, boyish Evie begins spending a lot of time with feminine Patsy Duff, much to her family’s consternation. After Parr begins going steady with Angel, the daughter of a strict religious family, rumors begin to fly about Evie’s relationship with Patsy, and Parr’s life is turned upside down. When Parr and Cord, another farmer who has feelings for Evie, destroy her reputation, Evie and Patsy flee and Parr is left feeling guilty in the aftermath of it all. When a flood destroys much of Duffton, including the Burrman farm, Evie returns and the family is able to reconcile after the Burrmans accept Evie’s sexuality.
While homosexuality is an important issue and should be addressed in young adult fiction, Evie is an extremely stereotypical lesbian: she is more masculine than some men, she has short-cropped hair, and listens to lesbian musical artists. Patsy seemed like a much more well-rounded lesbian character, as she was not defined strictly by her sexuality. However, Deliver Us from Evie accurately depicts how families react and struggle to accept family members after they “come out of the closet.”
Even though Parr brought Evie and Patsy’s relationship to the forefront in their small town, the reader cannot hate him for his actions, as he was only reacting to the fact that he was destined to take over the family’s farm by default. Parr narrates the novel, but the story being told is definitely Evie’s, not his, which was disappointing in some ways.
The cover of the novel is stark white with a small picture of an androgynous woman standing on the side of a highway. The cover is not likely to attract much attention because of the large amount of white space.