Eyerly, Jeannette 1908-2008 (Miriam Carlock, Jeannette Hyde Eyerly, Jeannette Griffith, a joint pseudonym, Jeannette Hyde, Linda Lee, Sandy McTavish)

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Eyerly, Jeannette 1908-2008 (Miriam Carlock, Jeannette Hyde Eyerly, Jeannette Griffith, a joint pseudonym, Jeannette Hyde, Linda Lee, Sandy McTavish)


See index for CA sketch: Born June 7, 1908, in Topeka, KS; died August 18, 2008, in Des Moines, IA. Publicist, health-care executive, novelist, and author. Eyerly was a fifty-something mother of adult daughters when she began to write novels for young adults. She had worked at her local library as a publicity director and as a board member and president of the Des Moines Child Guidance Center. She ventured into fiction writing with firsthand knowledge of teenagers and, at least indirectly, the serious challenges faced by many teenagers at the middle-mark of the twentieth century. That is what she wrote about. Eyerly's novels were typical of their time as cautionary tales for adolescent girls, but they stood out from the rest in several ways. Eyerly was one of the earlier novelists to veer away from the relatively frivolous issues of boys and report cards and parents who don't seem to understand. She wrote about the very serious issues that have always traumatized young people, but were only beginning to attract adult attention in the 1960s: drugs and alcohol, teenage pregnancy and abortion, parental and sexual abuse, depression and suicide, and an increasing school dropout rate, among others. Eyerly reached out to young people directly, embedding her moral messages in stories that she hoped would entertain more visibly than they preached. Not all critics rated her efforts as literary masterpieces, but many recommended them as insightful educational resources with engaging plots that teenagers would enjoy reading. Eyerly won a Christopher Award for Escape from Nowhere (1969), about a girl who attempts to escape the emptiness of her home life in the artificial embrace of marijuana. For boys, she wrote See Dave Run (1978), the story of a runaway who ultimately chooses suicide over life at the margin of his peer group. Other novels appealed to both boys and girls. Drop-Out (1963) urges teenagers to stay in school, and More Than a Summer Love (1962) reminds young people not to grow up too fast or marry too young. Eyerly wrote more than fifteen novels, many of them based on information gleaned from troubled girls in treatment or guidance programs. Her last young adult novel was Someone to Love Me (1987), a story of teenage pregnancy. Eyerly's few later writings consisted of nonfiction intended for adults. Several of her pieces appear under the pseudonyms Jeannette Griffith (a joint pseudonym with Valeria Winkler Griffith), Miriam Carlock, Linda Lee, and the male name Sandy McTavish.



St. James Guide to Young Adult Writers, 2nd edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.


New York Times, August 30, 2008, p. A15.