Earl in the Yellow Shirt: A Novel

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HarperCollins Publishers, 1997 - Fiction - 264 pages
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The impoverished Scurvy family - the scourge of Swanoochee County in south Georgia - must somehow raise the money to hold a proper funeral for their mother, who has died giving birth to a baby girl. Responsibility for the newborn falls unceremoniously upon Loujean, the only sister among three brothers and a useless father, and the sixteen-year-old accepts the infant as both a pleasant burden and a glimmer of goodness in her life. The other spark of hope for Loujean is Earl - her gangly, chivalrous redneck suitor, who says the wrong things but lives by a good heart. With few prospects for burying her mother, it is up to Loujean's three brothers to come up with a solution. Buck, the eldest, breaks ranks with a generations-long, impassable feud and approaches the local county commissioner (and crook) to earn the money. Pee Wee, a perpetually intoxicated Korean War veteran, means well but can barely fend for himself, much less provide for others. The youngest is Alamand, a sensitive boy whose artistic brilliance makes him incompatible with his native backwoods community, who reacts to his mother's death with a soul-searching retreat. Lastly there is Earl - the boys' aloof companion, looking to win Loujean's heart - who stumbles onto his own unlikely heroism though simple kindness and sacrifice. Dressed up in his good yellow shirt, Earl is at his best as he searches for a way to land on his feet and repair the dysfunction around him.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

An audacious novel, hilarious and moving by turns, offering some sharp and startling variations on southern themes. Daugharty (Pawpaw Patch, 1996, etc.) has always exhibited a special empathy for ... Read full review

Earl in the yellow shirt: a novel

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

"Sister Louella preached her own funeral while she was living," writes Daugharty (The Paw-Paw Patch, LJ 4/15/96) of matriarch Louella Lay, who lived according to Christian precepts that viewed death ... Read full review

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About the author (1997)

Janice Daugharty is Artist-in-Residence at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, in Tifton, Georgia. She is the author of one story collection and five novels: Dark of the Moon, Necessary Lies, Pawpaw Patch, Earl in the Yellow Shirt, and Whistle.

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