Donna Everhart

The Education of Dixie Dupree




“There are some lessons you never forget.”

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.

Narrated by her young heroine in a voice as sure and resonant as The Secret Life of Bees’ Lily or Bastard Out of Carolina’s Bone, Donna Everhart’s remarkable debut is a story about mothers and daughters, the guilt and pain that pass between generations, and the truths that are impossible to hide, especially from ourselves.

“Most of the characters in The Education of Dixie Dupree face some kind of hell—domestic violence and abuse, insidious family secrets, alcoholism, loneliness, isolation, depression. But the novel is not a dire read—though it tackles the bad and ugly parts of what it means to be a struggling family in 1960s Alabama, Dixie, the story’s protagonist, has a way of celebrating the good parts, too. Her child-like perception, razor-sharp and unblunted, integrates the story. She makes a child’s sense of her trapped mother’s misery and her remote father’s failure, and in doing so, provides a view of her family’s inner workings that is not at all childish or simplistic. It’s Dixie’s innocent wisdom that is at stake in the story, and that’s what makes the violence against her all the more palpable and distressing.” –Susan Sechrist, Bloom


“[A] harrowing coming-of-age novel set in Alabama…Readers will be drawn to Dixie, who is full of spunk and grit.”– Booklist

“With gravitas and heart…Donna Everhart does a deft job of writing about innocence lost.” – Business Insider, Insider Pick

“Everhart’s debut novel is a beautiful coming-of-age story, poignant in its content and description and written in brutally honest language. The author creates a compelling narrative that will grip readers as it leave an indelible mark on them, thanks to flawed, genuine characters and strong tensions. With a strong beginning to a powerful story and a strong-minded, spunky central character in Dixie, Everhart’s story is one to cherish.”– RT Book Reviews, 4.5 Stars Top Pick

“Young Dixie Dupree is an indomitable spirit in this coming-of-age novel that is a heartbreaking and honest witness to the resilience of human nature and the fighting spirit and courage residing in all of us, and for those who have lived in the underbelly of betrayal and child abuse. A triumphant debut novel which can transform a brokenness, bring forth a wholeness, The Education of Dixie Dupree would make a wonderful resource and academic book as well.” – The Huffington Post (Kim Michele Richardson)

“This debut novel is a page-turner from the very beginning. In a story of a family filled with pain, deceit, lies, and dark secrets across generations, Everhart allows readers to feel everything her young narrator, Dixie, must endure. For me, the mark of a good book is that I find myself thinking about it after I have finished reading, and The Education of Dixie Dupree will be with me for a long while.” – Mary O’Malley, Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville IL

“Please open your heart to Dixie Dupree. With unflinching honesty and a voice that rings with authenticity, she survives the unthinkable. Her story celebrates the resiliency of the human spirit and the triumph of the imagination. An important novel, beautifully written, this is a story to cherish.”—Susan Wiggs, # 1 New York Times bestselling author

“In a powerful coming-of-age story that pitches southern charm against dark family secrets, the voice of 11-year-old Dixie Dupree captivates from the first page to the last.” —Barbara Claypole White, bestselling author of The Perfect Son.

“A searingly honest coming of age story with a heroine unlike any other I’ve met in a long time. I read this book through from start to finish in one sitting, simply unable and unwilling to put it down. Here’s to another beautiful novel from Donna Everhart.” —Holly Chamberlin, author of Seashell Season

“A poignant coming of age novel as gritty as red Alabama dirt. Dixie Dupree will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.” —Colleen Faulkner, author of Julia’s Daughters

“Secrets, lies, peach cobbler, grits, a hot Alabama sun, and a girl named Dixie Dupree who shows courage in the face of betrayal, strength when all falls down around her, and shining hope in the darkness. This is a story you’ll read well into the night.” —Cathy Lamb, author of The Language of Sisters


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