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Here Today [Hardcover]

Ann M Martin
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Oct. 1 2004 Booklist Editor's Choice. Books for Youth (Awards)
"In 1963, Ellie's mother, Doris Day Dingman, was crowned the Bosetti Beauty at Mr. Bosetti's supermarket, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and the Dingmans began to fall apart."

So begins 11-year-old Eleanor Roosevelt Dingman's story. Ellie is the oldest child in her off-center family. Her father works construction jobs, while her mother, Doris, has only one dream--to become a rich and famous actress. But when that dream leads to Doris's abandonment of the family, it is Ellie who is called upon to take charge.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Description

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-8–A poignant story set in the 1960s that tells of a girl coming to accept her mother's inability to parent and to realize her own strength and separateness. Ellie Dingman, 11, has a beautiful mother who is always looking for her big break into show business. She has renamed herself Doris Day Dingman and insists that her children call her "Doris" rather than "Mom." Her immature delusions of grandeur in their small Hudson River Valley town are a source of deep embarrassment to Ellie, who is painfully aware of how cheap most people find Doris. She is often not home; much of the care of her younger siblings falls to Ellie, whose father works long hours. When mean girls target her best friend, Ellie and Holly try to be as inconspicuous as Doris is conspicuous. After President Kennedy is assassinated, the aspiring starlet realizes that life is short; she leaves the family, heading to New York City, where Ellie finds her months later, not living glamorously but working in a department store. Doris returns home only once, to gather all her things and move to Hollywood. Martin paints a well-articulated picture of the times, but it is her memorable child and adult characters that shine here. Like Hattie in A Corner of the Universe (Scholastic, 2002), Ellie is a perceptive and compassionate protagonist who ultimately comes into her own.–Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 5-7. "In 1963 Ellie's mother, Doris Day Dingman, was crowned the Bosetti Beauty at Mr. Bosetti's supermarket." This opening line sets the tone for Martin's sharp, tender story, told from the viewpoint of Ellie, 11, who is caught between love, shame, and fury when her self-obsessed mother eventually leaves their small-town home to search for stardom in New York. The Dingmans live on Witch Tree Lane with a "knot of outcasts" like themselves, and Ellie and her neighbor and best friend, Holly, are cruelly bullied at school, just as hate crimes threaten the adults on the street. There's also a strong sense of the times, including the furor when Kennedy is shot. There may be too much going on for one novel, but as in her Newbery Honor Book, A Corner of the Universe (2002), Martin takes on themes more common in YA fiction, bringing them close for middle-grade readers without oversimplifying any of the characters. The family story is unforgettable. The quiet surprise is that Doris may think she is the center of attention, but it's really Dad, who is beautifully drawn as he moves from the background to take charge of his kids and find home on his street. Like Ellie, he must let Doris go. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

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3.0 out of 5 stars The book Here Today March 2 2006
By John
Format:Audio Cassette
The title of the book is Here Today. Ann M. Martin is the author. This is a realistic fiction story.
Ellie is an 11 year old girl who lives in Spectacle witch is near New York. She has a brother, a sister, a father and a mother. Ellie’s life is falling apart. Her mother does not care about anyone but herself. School is the worst part of all. Students hurt Ellie treat her with no respect. But she does not fight back or say anything, she just takes it. What will happen? Will she pull her life back together?
This book is moving and disturbing at times. If you are between the ages 10-14 I recommend this book to you.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A heartbreaking and real, but ultimately hopeful story Dec 10 2004
By Teen Reads - Published on
Ellie tells how her family and life fall apart in the year 1963. Ellie is a Spectacular. She lives in the town of Spectacle where her mother, Doris Day Dingman, yearns to be the constant center of attention --- a Spectacular spectacle. Doris wins the Bosetti Beauty award, which gives her five free shopping minutes at the Bosetti Grocery Store, by stuffing the box with twenty-five forms. She then revels in the attention of the audience, and continues wearing the tiara long after the contest is over.

Ellie's family lives on Witch Tree Lane, along with the other fascinating misfits in town. Ellie has many friends on the street, some of whom function as substitute mothers during Doris's many classes in dance, acting, and singing. Doris believes in making things happen. She has changed her name to that of the movie star, Doris Day. She talks the local A&P market into letting her be the Lehman's Spam Spread girl.

Doris is gone five hours the afternoon she heads off to talk the local clothing store into a fashion show (starring herself, of course). In response to her absence, Mr. Dingman is too quiet, Ellie's brother Albert is furious, and her sister Marie cries. When Doris comes home late --- and drunk --- she and her husband argue loudly.

As Ellie and her best friend Holly start sixth grade, they're impressed with their young cute male teacher and with the new girl, Tammy White, who is not in awe of the popular girls --- the ones who delight in torturing Ellie and Holly. Doris appears in Ellie's classroom dressed in a tight red dress and very high heels, with her hair in a bouffant tower. Ellie is humiliated, but Tammy is intrigued.

As time goes on, Ellie can't sleep at night. She knows something terrible is going to happen. What will it be, and when will it come? In the meantime bad things are happening to Ellie and Holly at school, and to the residents of Witch Tree Lane. The world is shocked and saddened by President Kennedy's assassination, but self-involved Doris is angry because the Harvest Parade is called off and she won't get to be the Harvest Queen. Finally, inevitably, the something that Ellie has been dreading comes to be. It's so huge and devastating that it changes her world forever. Will she survive?

Ellie's story is heartbreaking and real. At various times while reading HERE TODAY, I felt sad, angry, and frightened. I'll remember Ellie for finding strength when life battered her, and for leaving me with an uplifting surge of hope. Highly recommended.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars AN UNDERSTATED YET POWERFUL READING Dec 14 2004
By Gail Cooke - Published on
Format:Audio Cassette
Broadway actress, Tony Award Winner, accomplished voice performer, Judy Kaye's accomplishment are many. Add to that list her thoughtful reading of this story of an 11-year-old girl trying her best to keep her life together in the turbulent sixties.

While many moms baked cookies, shepherded school field trips, Eleanor Roosevelt Dingman's mother most definitely did not. That was really low down on the agenda for this mom who has taken the name of Doris Day Dingman and longs to be a star. This dream is awfully hard on Ellie as she realizes that Mom (who insists she be called Doris not mom) is actually rather showy, in fact, cheap. The kids at school taunt Ellie, and there are times when she thinks they're right. Solace is found with Holly, her best friend and neighbor.

Since Doris is most often away from home pursuing her hopes of fame and fortune and Dad works very long hours, much is left for Ellie to look after. Too much for a girl her age. Eventually, Doris really makes a break and runs away to New York City. Is she discovered by a talent scout? No, she's discovered behind the counter of a rather dingy department store.

Throughout the upheaval in her family Ellie learns one of life's important lessons. Ms. Martin has again painted a poignant picture of growing up.

- Gail Cooke
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Aug. 13 2005
By Green Marker Girl - Published on
Here Today is a perfect example of a classic Ann M. Martin book. Ellie's thoughts, struggles, and emotions are clearly portrayed and explained through Ms. Martin's clear, well explained words, analogies, and explanations. Many children can relate to the sadness, anger, fury, lonelinesss, confusion, and fear that Ellie experiences throughout the book. Being the mother role to her young brother and sister is hard on Ellie, as is being picked on mercilessly at school, and her mother packing up and moving away for a "better life" away from her family. This book is very clear and holds attention, and is a very good choice.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Here Today Book Review June 22 2006
A Kid's Review - Published on
Ann M. Martin graduated from Smiths College with two degrees: one for psychology, and one for children's education. She worked in an elementary school first, where she helped children with problems. This helped her in writing Here Today, for she understood how people with difficulties felt, and the main character in this book had many problems. Ellie's mom leave her and her family to become a star in New York and her classmates bully her. Ellie has to take care of the rest of her family while facing the teasing and bullying from her classmates. I think that this book is very interesting because the main character's reaction to her problems are quite different from the reactions of normal people. For example, if my mom was irresponsible and selfish like Ellie's mom, then I would've had a big argument with her about how she's not responible enough. However, Ellie reacts to her mom's irresponsibility by taking up her mom's responsibilities and becoming a mini mom. Reading a book about someone who has different reactions from the reader helps make the book less predictable, and more interesting.The book is very good because all the things that happen make sense, and the story is very real. For example, Ellie's mom goes to New York because she wants to become famous there, which makes sense, and things like this can happen in real life too, which really helps us imagine how Ellie must feel. Some parts of the story are boring. For example, the part where Ellie and her friends are eating popsicles could be omitted, because it isn't very important, and reading about people eating popsicles is boring too. I recommend this book to people at the age of eight and above who want to read an emotional reality fiction.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Here Today: A Heartwarming Story of Adversity and Triumph Feb. 6 2006
By Karen Bickett - Published on
The year 1963 was one of many trials and tribulations for eleven-year-old Eleanor Roosevelt Dingman, better known as Ellie. After her fame-seeking egocentric mother deserts the family to chase her acting dreams in New York City, Ellie is left to take on the maternal role for her younger brother and sister. At the same time, Ellie must endure the pangs of being seen as an "outsider" at school and the terrorizing acts of bigotry towards the "rejects" who live on Witch Tree Lane. In the end, Ellie must come to terms with the one thing she has been dreading. Will Ellie overcome this devastating blow in her life? Most importantly, what will come of this troubled young girl, who lives on Witch Tree Lane, in the small town of Spectacle?

Once again, Ann M. Martin captures her readers through sharing the heartrending and genuine story of Miss Eleanor Roosevelt Dingman. While reading this beautifully written novel, I found myself riding along-side Ellie on the "emotional roller-coaster" she calls life. Ellie seized my heart and inspired my soul. As a result, I highly recommend HERE TODAY.
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