Foreword Reviews

The Education of Dixie Dupree

The Education of Dixie Dupree is a compelling tale of survival, convincingly driven by the voice of Dixie herself.

Fans of southern fiction take note: The Education of Dixie Dupree by Donna Everhart combines atmosphere, skilled narrative, and a strong central character to deliver a memorable—if often harrowing—coming-of-age novel.

Set in small-town Alabama in 1969, Dixie’s reality is more Old South than new, a place where stretches of poverty remain untouched by social programs and each unhappy family is left to be unhappy in its own way. The story is told in diary form by eleven-year-old Dixie, youngest in a family of four that exhibits every form dysfunction imaginable.

Although the abuse is piled on a little too thick, the book is saved from being a mere parade of lament by well-developed characters. Neither Dixie’s mother, older brother, nor father are one-dimensional villains, or beyond the reach sympathy. Rather, all suffer even as they inflict suffering on others. Dixie’s well-earned reputation as a liar stems more from her need to fabricate a bearable family image than from genuine deceitfulness, yet when victimized by a relative outside her nuclear family, her reputation bars the path to rescue, forcing her to a higher level of self-awareness and responsibility.

Told in simple, straightforward style, Dixie’s voice is believable throughout, and her resilience in the face of calamity keeps the pages turning. Although the book appears on many young adult lists, parental guidance is strongly advised due to the subject matter.

The diary format is perfectly suited to audio presentation, giving the story a smoothness and continuity multiple-character stories sometimes lack. Expertly read by professional actress Melissa Bentley, listeners will feel they’ve made a personal connection with Dixie, a heroine not soon to be forgotten.

The Education of Dixie Dupree is a compelling tale of survival, convincingly driven by the voice of Dixie herself.

Reviewed by Susan Waggoner

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the publisher for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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