Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Julie's Review: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

Summary: Steel Magnolias meets The Help in this Southern debut novel sparkling with humor, heart, and feminine wisdom. Twelve-year-old CeeCee Honeycutt is in trouble. For years, she has been the caretaker of her psychotic mother, Camille-the tiara-toting, lipstick-smeared laughingstock of an entire town-a woman trapped in her long-ago moment of glory as the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen. But when Camille is hit by a truck and killed, CeeCee is left to fend for herself. To the rescue comes her previously unknown great-aunt, Tootie Caldwell. In her vintage Packard convertible, Tootie whisks CeeCee away to Savannah's perfumed world of prosperity and Southern eccentricity, a world that seems to be run entirely by women. From the exotic Miz Thelma Rae Goodpepper, who bathes in her backyard bathtub and uses garden slugs as her secret weapons, to Tootie's all- knowing housekeeper, Oletta Jones, to Violene Hobbs, who entertains a local police officer in her canary-yellow peignoir, the women of Gaston Street keep CeeCee entertained and enthralled for an entire summer. Laugh-out-loud funny and deeply touching, Beth Hoffman's sparkling debut is, as Kristin Hannah says, "packed full of Southern charm, strong women, wacky humor, and good old-fashioned heart." It is a novel that explores the indomitable strengths of female friendship and gives us the story of a young girl who loses one mother and finds many others. ~amazon.com

Review: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is a wondrous novel. It is heartwarming, charming, and funny. It is all the things I like in a Women's Fiction novel. It has vivid, 3 dimensional characters that will resonate with me for along time. It tackles serious issues without being preachy and overbearing. It bring Savannah in the 1960s to life.

Ms. Hoffman covers many issues but the one that permeates for me is that we all need a sense of belonging. We all need to be loved and to love. CeeCee felt loved by her mother but her mother had her own issues to deal with and her father was never around. After a tragic accident, CeeCee is picked up by her great-Aunt Tootie and taken to Savannah to live. Within the arms and hearts of her great-Aunt, her aunt's cook, Oletta and some other very influential women, CeeCee begins to blossom. I don't always take quotes from books, but Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is one that deserves a few.

"As I watched the silent exchange between Sapphire and Miz Obee, it occurred to me that that's what friends should do: cherish the good and pretend not to notice the harmless rest. ~page 181

"It's what we believe about ourselves that determines how others see us." ~page 249

"People is wise 'cause they get out in the world and live. Wisdom comes from experience ---from knowin' each day is a gift and accepting it with gladness. You read a whole lot of books, and readin' sure has made you smart, but ain't no book in the world gonna make you wise." ~page 290

There are so many gems like those in this novel, that this whole review could be quotes.

This book for me was very similar to The Secret Life of Bees, which happens to be a favorite of all time book. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt now goes on that list as well. I can't wait until my daughter is 12 so that I can share with her this magical and powerful novel. If you haven't read it (I know I'm late to the party), I can't recommend this book enough.

I would love a sequel but only if Ms. Hoffman feels that it's right. I'd love to see what they are all up to in 5-7 years. Before CeeCee goes to college. 

Ms. Hoffman has her new book Looking for Me coming out in May and I am fortunate enough to have a copy sitting in my TBR pile for April. After experiencing this story, I can't wait to read her next one.

Final Take: 5/5



Beth Hoffman March 12, 2013 at 4:15 PM  

I'm delighted that you enjoyed CeeCee's story! I loved writing the story and was sad when I finished the book as I had become so close to the characters that they felt real to me. It makes me proud that you want to share it with your daughter when she is older.

Thank you for your lovely review and kind words!

Anonymous ,  March 12, 2013 at 11:32 PM  

I also loved this one very much, and can't wait to read her new one. see my review: http://wordsandpeace.com/2010/12/22/saving-ceecee-honeycutt/

stacybuckeye March 13, 2013 at 11:14 PM  

I loved this one too. And there's no sweeter author than Beth :)

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