Eli the Good

Eli the Good

by Silas House


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The summer of 1976 should have been the best of times for nature-loving Eli Book, but instead it is filled with terrible changes. His sister begins to hate her country. His beautiful but distant mother is caught between his traumatized Vietnam War vet father and his former antiwar protester aunt, who has come to live with them. And the only person with whom he can be himself, his best friend, Edie, begins to turn inward when her parents split up. Watching from the sidelines while his world falls apart, Eli must take his first courageous steps toward truth-telling and adulthood.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455801169
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication date: 02/28/2011
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Silas House is the nationally best-selling author of Eli the Good as well as the award-winning novels Clay’s QuiltA Parchment of Leaves, and The Coal Tattoo. He is an associate professor at Berea College and lives in eastern Kentucky.

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Eli the Good 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
Elsie_Brooks More than 1 year ago
Eli and I were 10 in 1976. Silas House's novel took me back to the bicentennial, hometown parades, and the fear and loathing of Vietnam Vets that plagued our nation. House's writing is so personal and descriptive you feel like you are part of the memory. His references to television shows and pop music were lend historical perspective to the work. From House's description of his father's service station, I could almost smell the Texaco station my uncles owned during my childhood. My 11-year old daughter is reading the book now. I think it will give her insight into her parents' childhoods. It is difficult to believe the same man penned Eli the Good and A Parchment of Leaves; though, I loved them both.
lisagibson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book tells a bittersweet tale of a family trying desperately to hold on to their beliefs and one another. Set in 1976, it¿s absolutely relatable for me. Eli Book is looking back remembering the summer everything changed for him. We all reach a point in life when we realize our parents are people too. They are fragile and scarred from life¿s tribulations. Oftentimes we don¿t reach these conclusions until near or well into adulthood. This particular summer Eli discovered the adults in his life were grappling with large issues. His father was clinging to sanity, desperately trying not to give in to the nightmares and flashbacks plaguing him from Vietnam. His war-protesting aunt is fighting cancer and trying to repair her relationship with her brother. His mother caught between the two, trying to hold the entire family together. Eli Book manages to find solace amongst the branches of a birch tree.At one point, Eli realizes that the Vietnam War has affected every member of his family and in many ways they are still fighting this war every day. He knows they are all victims of the Vietnam War whether they fought in uniform or not. I liked this book and felt Silas House did a wonderful job with description and the overall story. You knew Eli was a young boy who worshipped his father, but was getting a bitter dose of reality. I enjoyed the character development and loved that there was a sense of closure in the end with details from his adulthood. I give this one four tender kisses.
annettemills on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Eli the Good takes place the summer of 1976, when Eli was ten years old. I was 14 years old that year, and I could relate to the period represented in this book. I, however, did not have to face the difficult bi-centennial summer that Eli did.This book was beautifully written. Silas House could write about any time period and make it come alive. The descriptions were lyrical and when he talked about the oppressive heat of the sun, I almost broke a sweat.The first paragraph of the book sums up Eli¿s summer. His Aunt Nell comes for a visit bearing a secret. His father¿s ability to deal with his experiences in Vietnam is failing, and this is causing many problems for the family. Eli¿s neighbor and best friend, Edie, is having family problems of her own, and Eli doesn¿t help much in her time of need. And Eli¿s sister Josie¿s teenage rebellion is much more than it seems.This is a book about secrets and how one family deals with them. It¿s mostly a beautiful, easy, story to read, but there¿ sadness, tension, and humor mixed in. Eli¿s a kid, and the world that should be so simple for him isn¿t simple at all. Eli is good, just like the title says. He wants to help everyone, but he doesn¿t know how, and he¿s human too, and makes mistakes.Once again, I feel compelled to include a few quotes, because I think they are so eloquent:It was a turning point in our lives. Strange, how such a small realization can affect everyone¿s life forever. In movies, there is always a carefully staged moment¿a big crescendo of music, close ups of the actors faces, the camera slowly pulling away to let all this sink in for the viewer....But in real life, most all of the extraordinary things happen with no more loudness than a whisper. P. 36.Years later I would realize that this was one of the world¿s great problems, that people often allow themselves not to think. They choose to not think, and that¿s how the whole world gets into trouble. My only excuse that day was that I was a child. P. 195The war slid right back down his body as if he were stepping into a new set of clothes. P. 254This book is heartwarming and thought provoking. I think this would be an excellent piece of literature for a classroom read--lots of potential for discussion here. It may be a hard sell to the average young person, but history buffs, boys or girls, will like it. It¿s an easy, interesting middle school book about a period of time in our nation¿s history that needs some attention. I won¿t hesitate to push this one.
megtall on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Eli the Good was an excellent story of coming of age during a somewhat turbulent time in his family's existence. His father is suffering flashbacks/PTSD from his stint in the Vietnam War, leaving his mother stressed and distant. Eli's sister is suddenly anti-patriotic, and Eli feels lost in the mix. The one person he can always turn to is Edie, his best friend. That is, until her parents split up. The story is wrenching at times, feeling the pain and confusion that Eli feels. It was a really great book and I am definitely passing it along to another reader!
spartyliblover on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Eli begins the first part of growing up the summer he was 10 as he comes to terms with his father's Vietnam War scars, his sister and mothers relationship, his aunt coming home and his best friend's family falling apart. While I loved the characters and the story, I'm unsure what age group I would give this book to. Most kids like to read books with characters around their age, but the subject matter of the war and some of the scenes seemed a bit much for a 10 year old to me. I do realize that the book is listed for 12 and up, so perhaps that younger teen population will enjoy it. Overall I did enjoy the story and found it to be well written with characters that were engaging and easy to relate with and plot that was interesting. This book was received as a part of Early Reviewers.
smmorris on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Eli Book is ten years old the year the United States turned 200; Bicentennial 1976. It was a time when most people were happy and proud to be in America. Vietnam had ended just over a year before, leaving Eli¿s father in the trenches. His best friend, neighbor Edie, is a girl, (please don¿t tell). They do most everything together, including sharing of secret hideaways, under porches and in large bushes. Then one day, showing off in front of the guys, Eli hurts Edie and their friendship dissolves. Eli lives in a house-of-cards with everyone holding onto his or her own secret, including Eli. The big Fourth of July parade and town celebration becomes the breaking point for the family when the fireworks of secrets threatens the family. One person nearly self-destructs. Eli the Good is a good Southern flavored story about the costs of war to a family. Eli¿s father was like any other until he voluntarily joined the army, thinking he will have an adventure, only to be sent to Vietnam where he saw and did unspeakable things. He brings the war home with him in the form of PTSD, a psychological disorder Vietnam vets are disproportionally affected. Eli¿s mother is the only line of defense when the soldier returns to the war. Eli is a brat. He eavesdrops on every conversation he can, borrows the letters his father wrote to his mother from Vietnam ¿to understand what happened over there,¿ then deeply hurts Edie simply to be a big shot in front of a group of boys he was not even friends with (not that this would have excused his behavior). Reading this was not the usually experience. At times, it seemed mundane, just as life can be. At other times, the story popped with excitement. The entire time, the story took me back to a timer when I was younger and did not understand war or the men who fought them. Eli¿s quest that summer is to figure out his father and the war he never came back from. Mixed in are secrets each character holds that has influenced their actions. Eli tries to become privy to each with his snooping. In the end, Eli wants his father to return home and love him as he thinks a pre-Vietnam father would love his young son. Throughout the story Eli is loved by both parents; he simply cannot feel it because of a wall built by the war, that no one can transverse. It is odd how fragile, sad stories can lift you and renew your spirit. In this way, Eli the Good is an odd novel I¿m glad I read. It is now available in paperback.Early Reviewer
ejmam on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
How do you say "I love you"? Just by talking or by cherishing someone with your actions? I'm a strong believer in actions -- filling my kids' bureaus with clean laundry, coming up with (cooked) food for them, dragging them from Plants vs Zombies and forcing them to read with me, that's how I tell them I love them. Oh, I'll throw words at them fairly often; all the parenting books tell me too. But I don't think words mean much compared to actions, as I tell my youngest when he whispers sweet nothings to the cat complaining about an empty food bowl.But I acknowledge that some people need words. Silas House's Eli the Good has a character who only believes in words, who needs words so much that he sneaks about eavesdropping at every opportunity and plots to steal his parents letters so he can see words they sent to each other before he was born. The book covers Eli's tenth summer, the summer of the USA's bicentennial, and the people he loves most are changing about him in ways he doesn't always comprehend. He wants to be good, which is often harder than being great, but finds himself often coming up shorter than his dreams yet still managing to keep his connections to his family and therefore to himself.The book feels quiet to me, even when describing family traumas such as the bitter fights between his sister and his mother, or his father and his aunt, because the story is filtered through the adult Eli's memories of that summer, keeping us at a distance. But the intensity of the feelings shine through, from the horror of the Vietnam war memories to the moment when Eli truly believes in his mother's love for him (because she tells him, words always speak louder than actions for Eli). B
tjsjohanna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the beautifully told story of a family coming to terms with the far reaching consequences of the Vietnam War. The narrator is 10 year old Eli and his view of the summer when the tensions in his home come to a head is both innocent and wise. Mr. House has a wonderful way of evoking scenes and feelings - his use of prose is beautiful. One thing that struck me was the sense of nostalgia present in a time period that I haven't thought of as past - the 70's. And yet it was brought home forcefully that my childhood is so far past as to be the subject of reflection! A book to be re-read and savored.
dalzan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
OvertheMoonBooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Eli the Good is a simple story about a 10 year-old boy's summer. It is also a treatise on friendship, family, war & peace, eavesdropping, and love. Eli is surrounded by people who are also good, in their ways, and not always so good, as we humans can be. Scenes of war and weather fairly crackle with intensity, then we are released into the exuberance of dancing with abandon to the music of the 1970s. And sometimes, we get to just sit on the porch in the gloaming, listening to the sweet sounds of the summer night - cicadas, crickets, and Eli's family softly singing the songs of belonging.The natural world runs through this novel like a river, inviting and reminding us to pause for a drink from its restorative waters. For anyone who has had the good fortune to be comforted by a tree, this book will serve as a tribute to that tree.
LCBrooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Eli and I were 10 in 1976. Silas House's novel took me back to the bicentennial, hometown parades, and the fear and loathing of Vietnam Vets that plagued our nation. House's writing is so personal and descriptive you feel like you are part of the memory. His references to television shows and pop music were lend historical perspective to the work.From House's description of his father's service station, I could almost smell the Texaco station my uncles owned during my childhood. My 11-year old daughter is reading the book now. I think it will give her insight into her parents' childhoods. It is difficult to believe the same man penned Eli the Good and A Parchment of Leaves; though, I loved them both.
Tinasbookreviews on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Eli is your typical 10 year old boy, one who loves to climb trees, play until dark and lives in a time when children could play outside without the fear of predators hiding in every corner. Its 1976, the end of the Vietnam War and a fragile time when Americans were happy with 50¿s values, yet just on the cusp of change with the culture social movements at the time.Eli the Good is a story about the aftereffects of war and examines father/son relationships. When Eli¿s father returns home from Vietnam he brings home PTSD, depression and complex emotions that Eli cant understand, most of the plot revolves around Eli trying to figure out what happened to his father and wishing for the dad that was, before he left for war. Even with the slow pace of the novel and the overall mundane details of Eli¿s life, I found this coming of age story very entertaining.
QueenAlyss on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful novel, I truly did love reading this! It was heart wrenching and honest in all ways that a child can be (and from the view point of a grown adult). I recommend this to the thinker... someone who analyzes his/ her daily life and wonders about the good in the world. An overview, it follows the daily life of Eli during one summer in 1976 when it seems that the Vietnam War has entered back into his family's life. Eli deals with the dizzying amounts of information and changes that occurs in his life during this one summer and what it all means to him. At the same time, he finds a certain peace of mind and grows up like the fox he senses in the forest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I will do anything for anyone if they can find Lila Opal or Skylar pls
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enters as the body shots begin. "When will it be my turn?"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walks in
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Whats a body shot?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I grin and laugh. You wanna see it thst bad?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She grinned. "Sure!"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Tess. I've tried everything to stop you. All's that's left to do is to join you. So see you on the other side." I grimly raise a vial filled with an enigmatic green liquid before going back to res 5.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She stands on her tippytoes to kiss you on the lips.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great author-this book takes you back to seventies childhood!