Friday, May 11, 2012

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt - Beth Hoffman

Summary: Twelve-year-old CeeCee is in trouble.  For years, she's taken care of her mother, Camille, the town's tiara-wearing, lipstick-smeared laughingstock, a woman who is trapped in her long-ago moment of glory as the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen.  When tragedy strikes, Tootie Caldwell, CeeCee's long-lost great-aunt, comes to the rescue and whisks her away to Savannah.  There, CeeCee is catapulted into a perfumed world of prosperity and Southern eccentricity -- one that appears to be run entirely by strong, wacky women.  Both hilarious and heartbreaking, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt charts the journey of an unforgettable girl who loses one mother, but finds many others in the storybook city of Savannah.  (Summary from book - Image from www.bookcloseouts.com)

My Review:  The last book I read, Push (aka Precious), was so harsh and “realistic,” it left me wanting to scrub my brain.  Since I’m fresh out of soothing brain sponges, I opted for the literary version and picked up Saving CeeCee Honeycutt – a heartwarming, feel good novel that has been sitting in my stack for quite a while.   

CeeCee Honeycutt is only a child when her father leaves her alone to care for her mentally unstable mother.  Frightened and embarassed by her mothers increasingly disturbing behavior, CeeCee tries to focus on her schoolwork and disappears into the world of literature.  When CeeCee’s mother dies suddenly, she is sent to Savannah, Georgia to live with her great-aunt Tootie and is soon surrounded by an array of vibrant women who take to mothering her in different ways.  These wise, lovable, and slightly eccentric women help CeeCee heal and come to terms with her feelings of grief, anger, and loneliness. 
     
Although I read this book sitting on the couch in my stretchy pants, the author’s characters were so irrepressibly, delightfully southern that  I felt like I should be reading it in the shade of a magnolia tree on a lazy summer day, sipping ice cold lemonade, eating cucumber sandwiches, and wearing a big floppy hat.  Each scene evoked images of sweet ice tea, fragrant gardens, historic homes, down-home cooking, and southern hospitality.   I’ve never been to the South, but this book certainly made me want to visit.

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt was exactly the story I needed to read to regain my reading equilibrium – sweet, but not syrupy, with moments of sadness and grief that were tempered by tenderness, love, and a message of acceptance.  Overall, I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for a leisurely, feel good novel to read this summer.

My Rating: 4 Stars

For the sensitive reader:  Scattered profanity (a couple handfuls) and a little bit of sexuality (a few neighbors who like cavort naked in their private gardens).

Sum it up:  A down-home, feel good kind of novel.

4 comments:

Melissa Mc (Gerbera Daisy Diaries) said...

Naked gardening??!! May need to read it today! :)

Beth Hoffman said...

Thank you so much for reading my novel and also for your terrific review. I'm delighted that you enjoyed CeeCee's story.

MindySue said...

*GASP* You're welcome!!!

Tribute Books said...

One of my all-time favorite books - glad you enjoyed it :)

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