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Eli the Good Hardcover – September 22, 2009


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 950L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 295 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (September 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763643416
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763643416
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #708,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 5–8—Eli, 10, spends the summer of 1976 riding bikes with his friend Edie, reading Anne Frank's diary, talking with his Aunt Nell, and watching his Vietnam-vet father experience flashbacks. He observes his mother trying to ride out various storms: 16-year-old Josie's rebellious attitude; the anger between her husband and his sister, Nell (who protested the war); and the flashes of violence and despair that wrack her spouse. Eli is curious, thoughtful, and not above eavesdropping or snooping through personal letters to find out things that his family would prefer to keep private. He learns that Nell came home with cancer; that he and Josie do not share a biological father; and how his father felt after killing a man in the war. Nell nicknames him Eli the Good, and he is. He is a decent kid, just trying to understand his family and the world around him. He makes mistakes, but he learns from them, and simply wants the best for those he loves. House writes beautifully, with a gentle tone. He lays out Eli's world in exquisite detail. A Bicentennial celebration, along with mentions of pop songs and clothing styles, sets the stage, but never takes over the narrative. The story flows along as steadily as a stream, carrying readers and Eli to the end of summer and beyond, into a coda where he is an adult. Eli is good company and children will enjoy accompanying him on his journey.—Geri Diorio, The Ridgefield Library, CT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Silas House is the nationally best-selling author of the award-winning novels CLAY'S QUILT, A PARCHMENT OF LEAVES, and THE COAL TATTOO. He serves as writer-in-residence at Lincoln Memorial University and lives in eastern Kentucky with two daughters and two dogs.

More About the Author

Silas House is the author of four novels: Clay's Quilt (2001), A Parchment of Leaves (2003), The Coal Tattoo (2004), Eli the Good (2009), a play, The Hurting Part (2005), and Something's Rising (2009), a creative nonfiction book about social protest co-authored with Jason Howard. A new play, Long Time Traveling premiered in April 2009.

House serves as Writer-in-Residence at Lincoln Memorial University, where he also directs the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival. He is a contributing editor for No Depression magazine, where he has done long features on such artists as Lucinda Williams, Nickel Creek, Buddy Miller, Kelly Willis, Darrell Scott, Delbert McClinton, and many others. He is also one of Nashville's most in-demand press kit writers, having written the press kit bios for such artists as Kris Kristofferson, Kathy Mattea, Leann Womack, and many others.

House is a two-time finalist for the Southern Book Critics Circle Prize, a two-time winner of the Kentucky Novel of the Year, the Appalachian Book of the Year, Appalachian Writer of the Year (2009), the Chaffin Prize for Literature, the Award for Special Achievement from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and many other honors. Recently House was personally selected by the subject to write the foreword for the biography of Earl Hamner, creator of The Waltons. In 2005 he also wrote the introduction for the new HarperCollins edition of Gregory of Nyssa's Life of Moses.

House's work can be found in Newsday, Oxford American, Bayou, The Southeast Review, The Louisville Review, The Beloit Fiction Journal, Wind, Night Train, and others, as well as in the anthologies New Stories From the South 2004: The Year's Best, Christmas in the South, A Kentucky Reader, Of Woods and Water, A Kentucky Christmas, Shouts and Whispers, High Horse, The Alumni Grill, Stories From the Blue Moon Café I and II, and many others.

For his environmental activism House received the Helen Lewis Community Lewis Award in 2008 from the Appalachian Studies Association.

House is currently working on his fifth novel, Evona Darling.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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I felt like I knew the characters personally.
Joe V. Bailey
This is really the coming of age story of how Eli deals with the overwhelming situations of strife in his young life.
Bobbi Rightmyer
As it is, no matter my timing for this book, I am so glad I did read it.
Tina Says

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Bobbi Rightmyer on October 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Silas House is the bestselling Kentucky author of CLAY'S QUILT, PARCHMENT OF LEAVES and THE COAL TATTOO - all centering around several generations of the same family growing up in the hills of Eastern Kentucky. With this book, Silas tries his hand a writing for young adults and he has ended up with an endearing look at a slice of life from the summer of 1976.

Eli Book is a ten year old boy, living like most children of the 1970s - riding his bicycle all over town, splashing in the town creek and enjoying hot summer days with his best friend Edie. This is really the coming of age story of how Eli deals with the overwhelming situations of strife in his young life.

Eli has undying love for his parents, Loretta and Stanton Book, but his growing curiosity of the secrets they both carry is threatening to eat him alive. Eli feels jealousy of his mother's unconditional love for his father - he wants to be the number one love of her life. Eli is filled with uncertainty and longing to understand his father's past as a Vietnam veteran and the nightmares that consume his dreams.

There is also underlying tension from Eli's sister, Josie, as she comes to grips with the fact that her mother was pregnant with her before Loretta and Stanton were married - she is not Stanton's biological daughter, but he has raised her as such. Then there is Stanton's way-ward, wildflower of a sister, Nell, who comes to live with the family for the summer. Stanton has unresolved feelings for his little sister because he feels betrayed that she was a war protester.

And then there is Edie, the sweet little girl from next door who has been Eli's best friend and confidante. Their friendship is pure and an accurate portrayal of childhood innocence of past decades.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Books and Literature for Teens (BLT) on November 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Eli the Good is a beautifully crafted and compelling novel about love, war, and the meaning of family.To me this book felt timeless, something you could read over and over again and still get something new out of it. It brought you back to your childhood and made you remember what it was like being a kid on the edge of discovering a complicated world. Eli had so much wisdom to tell you have to slow down, savor the words, and listen. It's doesn't matter if the setting is in 1976 or that the Vietnam war has long pasted, realistically the world has not changed; we are still fighting wars we cannot end, families are still families, and love is still love.I loved how the book is set in the 70s because it was like taking a peak into what life might have been for my mom, who was sixteen (the same age as Josie) in 1976. I enjoyed the references to songs and artists like the "Rubber Band Man", ABBA, David Cassidy, etc. (I'm actually quite familiar with 70s music because my sister listens to Kasey Kasen every Saturday morning.)Since Eli is a country boy, he lives in small town, rides his bike, and likes trees. (Exactly how I grew up as well.) Because Eli loves trees, House incorporates the meaning of life into this story, something that is all too often forgotten.House is a gifted writer and I wouldn't be the least surprised if one day Eli House became a classic, in fact, I hope it does.Overall, I highly encourage both teens and adults alike to read this earthy and touching American novel. You will never forget it.

[...]
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Lemons on October 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Absolute treasure. I read this book in one glorious afternoon because I could not put it down. I have already put it in the hands of my son and plan to pass it to all the readers I know. This book should make the Newberry list this year.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By La Coccinelle on April 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
Despite this book not having much of a plot (it's more of a "slice of life" story focusing on a 10-year-old boy in 1976), I quite liked it. All of the characters were interesting in their own way, and I wanted to keep reading to find out more. While I wish there had been more of an actual story, I still came away from the book feeling like I had enjoyed it. The events unfold slowly, like a lazy summer's day, but there's still enough history and emotion behind them that they pack quite an emotional punch.

As a character-driven story, it works quite well. If you require the stories you read to have well-defined beginnings, middles, and ends, you may be disappointed.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By JO on February 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Eli the Good is a well written descriptive book. I love the author's writing style. Vivid descriptions fill the pages that help paint pictures in your mind and heart as you read. I would strongly advise reading the book before placing it in the hands of a 5-8th grader, though, as recommended on this site. The themes are mature, language is strong,along with references to topics such as abortion, suicide, abuse, drinking and premarital sex. Eli carries around a lot of stress for a 10 year old, and reading it could be intense for the young age group. This book was not written for children, but would be enjoyed by someone who grew up in the 70's or has family/ friends who fought in Vietnam. Having said that, I thought the book was great...for grownups!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joe V. Bailey on November 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Silas House is the very best writer in all of Appalachia. This coming of age story should appeal to anyone who knew a soldier who came back from the Vietnam War a changed person. House describes 1970's life in rural/small town Appalachia in great detail. I felt like I knew the characters personally. This book took me back. Highly recommended.
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