cover image Deliver Us from Evie

Deliver Us from Evie

M. E. Kerr. HarperCollins Publishers, $15 (177pp) ISBN 978-0-06-024475-0

Kerr (Linger; the Fell books) skillfully evokes the gritty realities and narrow horizons of farm life in this sensitive portrayal of the lesbian daughter of a rural Missouri family. Narrator Parr Burrman, a high school junior, is thankful that his mannish sister Evie, 18, is an enthusiastic farmer, for he has little desire to join the family business. However, Evie's interests begin to change after she meets Patsy, daughter of the town's leading citizen, at home only for a rare break between boarding school and summer camp. Suddenly Evie's listening to ``women's music,'' taking off on the weekends for ``lunch'' with Patsy, and wearing the expensive man-tailored clothing Patsy has given her. In vain Mrs. Burrman tries to set Evie up with a smitten hired hand named Cord, and exhorts her to ``fix herself up'' and wear more feminine clothing. A drunken attempt by Parr and Cord to expose the girls' relationship backfires and causes Evie to run away to New York. Kerr pulls off a fairy-tale resolution to the girls' relationship by adroitly balancing against it a natural disaster and Parr's own bittersweet romance. The small-minded and the conformists tend to get lumped together here, but Kerr's exploration of different drummers is, as always, subtle and thought-provoking. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)