A Slipping-Down Life Analysis

Form and Content (Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

A Slipping-Down Life is a realistic tale of the awkward and sometimes painful movement of a teenager, socially handicapped by the stigmas of shyness and obesity, to a moment of decision to end her obscurity, which ultimately leads her on a true journey to maturity and a strong sense of self-worth.

From the moment that Evie Decker, a seventeen-year-old from the small town of Farinia, North Carolina, hears the disembodied voice of nineteen-year-old local musician Drum Casey sounding his need to get out of Farinia for good, Evie is called to action. After years of endlessly waiting for her colorless existence to be touched by drama, Evie hears something in the voice of this stranger on her radio that inspires her to seek him out in the hope of finding the answer to changing her life. Author Anne Tyler has created a situation that could easily occur in any town or city across the United States: A teenager, unsatisfied with her life, searches for someone to show her a better way of surviving. While Tyler’s protagonist, as with many heroines of realistic young adult literature, does not live “happily ever after,” the novel is ultimately positive because Evie survives her journey through adolescence and learns much along the way.

The story of the novel, while dealing with the complex feelings and unpredictable actions of adolescence, is straightforward and easy to follow. Evie has no mother, an amiable but distant father, and only one...

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A Slipping-Down Life Bibliography (Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

Bail, Paul. Anne Tyler: A Critical Companion. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1998.

Croft, Robert W. An Anne Tyler Companion. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1998.

Evans, Elizabeth. Anne Tyler. New York: Twayne, 1993.

Kissel, Susan S. Moving On: The Heroines of Shirley Ann Grau, Anne Tyler, and Gail Godwin. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1996.

Petry, Alice Hall. Critical Essays on Anne Tyler. New York: G. K. Hall, 1992.

Petry, Alice Hall. Understanding Anne Tyler. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1990.

Salwak, Dale. Anne Tyler as Novelist. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1994.

Stephens, C. Ralph. The Fiction of Anne Tyler. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1990.

Sweeney, Susan Elizabeth. “Anne Tyler.” In The History of Southern Women’s Literature, edited by Carolyn Perry and Mary Louise Weaks. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2002.