|Plot Summary of The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio|
|"Evelyn Ryan is a mother of 10 children in the 1950's in the small town of Defiance, Ohio. Her husband Kelly is an alcoholic and drinks away most of his small paycheck, so the family is very poor. Evelyn uses her writing skills to enter the many contests of that era. From writing Burma Shave ads, to finishing jingles for products like Dial soap, or naming different bug sprays, Evelyn manages to win small cash prizes as well as tv's, toys, knives, as well as a supermarket shopping spree. She also writes poetry and stories which help keep her family afloat. Meanwhile, she has to deal with being the only reliable parent. When her husband has a nervous collapse and sinks into a depression, she has to convince him to go back to work because her contest wins aren't enough for the family's survival. She also has to reassure her daughter (the author of this book) when her teachers assume that because their family is poor it means that she's dumb. Meanwhile, Evelyn finds a group of other eager contestants around the state and becomes pen pals with them. "
Angela Tircuit, Resident Scholar
|"Evelyn Ryan is a housewife in a small 1950s Ohio town. Her life would be described as "awful" by an outside observer: she lives with an alchoholic husband who is frequently out of work and spends much of his earnings on booze, and she has 10 children who keep her constantly busy with their various adventures. Although Evelyn showed much promise academically, her marriage to Kelly Ryan ended her dreams of writing for a newspaper.
However, Evelyn refuses to give up and wallow in her depressing circumstances. Instead, she channels her creativity into entering contests which were quite popular in the 1950s. Most involved writing brief rhymes or essays, and the prizes varied from luggage to bug spray to free groceries to trips and cars.
Evelyn's genius comes through in the many creative entries she writes, and consequently in the constant stream of prizes which arrive at the Ryan home, often just when needed (she constantly seems to win a new appliance just when the old one has stopped working).
Susan Braun, Resident Scholar
|Review Analysis of The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio|
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Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Kind of living:
- general poverty story
Special relationship with
Period of greatest activity?
Subject of Biography
Is this an ordinary person caught up in events?
- American (!)
How sensitive is this person?
- sensitive to others' feelings
Sense of humor
- Strong but gentle sense of humor
- Average intelligence
- Smarter than most other people
- average physique
How much descriptions of surroundings?
- 2 ()
Small town people:
- nice, like Andy/Opie/Aunt Bee
- mostly 3rd
- mostly 1st
Accounts of torture and death?
- no torture/death
- generic/vague references to death/punishment
Book makes you feel?
- very happy
Is book humorous?
Writer's slant towards subject:
- very favorable
Story of entire life, or part?
- story of nearly entire life
- story of set of events during life
- A lot 11-15 B&W
How much dialogue in bio?
- roughly even amounts of descript and dialog
How much of bio focuses on most famous period of life?
- 76%-100% of book
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Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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