Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Twelve-year-old CeeCee is in trouble. For years she’s been the caretaker of her psychotic mother, Camille— the crown-wearing, lipstick-smeared laughingstock of an entire town. Though it’s 1967 and they live in Ohio, Camille believes it’s 1951 and she’s just been crowned the Vidalia Onion Queen of Georgia.
The day CeeCee discovers Camille in the front yard wearing a tattered prom dress and tiara as she blows kisses to passing motorists, she knows her mother has completely flipped. When tragedy strikes, Tootie Caldwell, a previously unknown great-aunt comes to CeeCee’s rescue and whisks her away to Savannah. Within hours of her arrival, CeeCee is catapulted into a perfumed world of prosperity and Southern eccentricities—a world that appears to be run entirely by women.
While Tootie is busy saving Savannah’s endangered historic homes from the wrecking ball, CeeCee encounters a cast of unforgettable, eccentric characters. From the mysterious Thelma Rae Goodpepper, who bathes in an outdoor tub under the watchful eyes of a voyeuristic peacock, to Oletta Jones, the all-knowing household cook, to Violene Hobbs, the loud-mouthed widow who entertains a local police officer in her yellow see-through peignoir, the women of Gaston Street keep CeeCee entertained and enthralled for an entire summer.
But CeeCee’s view of the world is challenged in ways she could have never imagined: there are secrets to keep, injustices to face, and loyalties to uphold. Just as she begins to find her ballast and experiences a sense of belonging, her newfound joy collides with the long-held fear that her mother’s legacy has left her destined for destruction.
Laugh-out-loud funny, at times heartbreaking, and written in a pitch-perfect voice, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is a spirited Southern tale that explores the intricate frailties and strengths of female relationships while illuminating the journey of a young girl who loses her mother but finds many others.(less)
When I first heard of the book "Saving CeeCee Honeycutt" I thought it was one of those chic books. Then I kept seeing it on the blogosphere and people were claiming it was very good. So, I saw it on the shelf at our local store, it was relatively short and the cover was pretty, so I bought it. Turns out, it IS really good! CeeCee is 12 and she has taken care of her mother who has slowly gone insane, for most of her young life while her father is absent most of the time. When her mother dies in a freak accident, CeeCee's Great Aunt Tootie comes to take her to Georgia. Aunt Tootie is a lovely woman and the most gracious female character I have ever read. She helps CeeCee adjust to a new city, buys her new clothes, and helps her work through her grief. Aunt Tootie has a housekeeper/cook named Oletta who teaches CeeCee a lot about life and takes her on a couple of great adventures. Aunt Tootie has a whole group of women-friends who take it upon themselves to save all the old family homes in Savannah when the city tries to have them torn down. Her neighbors are quite eccentric women, too. There are only 2 men in the whole novel -- one is CeeCee's father and the other is the policeman one of Tootie's neighbors is having an affair with. All the women have unique personalities and are very interesting in their own right let alone how the interact with CeeCee. This novel takes place in the 60's in Savannah, GA, so civil rights is a big issue. If you are interested in that time period, coming-of-age books, and the relationships between women, you will like this book as much as I did. Go pick it up -- and the cover is pretty!!!
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