The narrator was amazing, which was made possible by the beautiful descriptions of Savannah provided by the author. I will listen to this book again!
My favorite character is Oletta, the black maid who comes to show CeCe just what love means.
I thought this book had a somewhat similar feel to The Secret Life of Bees and to The Help. For instance, it takes place in the 1950s & 1960s and is told from the perspective of a young white girl. Similarly to those books, the main character CeeCee is simultaneously dealing with what's going on in her own life while making sense of life in the Jim Crow South. But, don't expect this book to be depressing. On the contrary, while there are parts of this book that will make you cry, there are also parts that will make you laugh out loud. Beth Hoffman managed to write a novel with a surprising amount of depth, yet that is thoroughly enthralling and entertaining. This isn't exactly a light read, but it's still a book you can enjoy while on a road trip or relaxing on the beach.
The narrator, Jenna Lamia, did a superb job. The majority of the story is told in the first person. And her southern accent of a young girl was perfect. She also did a wonderful job with the numerous other characters who enter and exit the story.
I really enjoy books that are "stories" and this one is perfect. A peek at mental illness in the 60's and the building of "families". Great narration, I could picture all the scenes in my mind and laughed out loud at some of the characters, who are so real.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
This is one of those stories that is light and entertaining, but not challenging in any way. It's fine for those who want an hor d'oeurvre but don't expect a filling meal. After setting the stage with CeCe's tragic childhood, Hoffmen proceeds to transport her young heroine to a fantasy land of excentric but benign fairy godmothers of the south. I lived in Savannah for several years, and appreciated the descriptions of its charms and the efforts made to reclaim its historic district, recognizing many of the locations. But I don't believe she authentically captured the spirit of the south in that time period. (Her bio says she grew up in Ohio, and I don't see any experience of southern living.) Though no longer appropriate, the social classes in that time and place were much more rigid than depicted, and the cross-racial friendships are not likely to have happened. While heartwarming, it rings false and is a weakness in the story. Other reviewers have already pointed out the overly simple and providential resolutions to all complex problems that cropped up. Plot tension was meager at best.
I have wavered between a 3 or 4 star rating because in spite of the above weaknesses, I found myself growing fond of many of the characters, stereotyped as they were. Comparisons to the flock of women in Steel Magnolias are appropriate. Little depth but plenty of affection. Jenna Lamia's reading was mostly authentic, although a little overly sweet in some cases. I have decided to allow a 3 star for the story, but an indulgent 4 star overall, admittedly out of sentiment. Readers looking for southern sassiness and spunk would do better with Joshilyn Jackson.
Heartwarming story of love.
The relationship that Cece developed with Odette was what makes this book a gem.
Her versatility- that she can sound like a child and an adult at the same time. She brought such life to the characters.
Yes, but I couldn't so it was fun to look forward to the time when I would be turning on the ipod!
What a lovely story about love, loss and finding yourself through family. The characters are so beautifully written and the story uses that to create such powerful images.
I loved Jenna Lamia's performance; loved it! I am not sure I can tease out what I loved more, Jenna's performance or the story. I have listened to so many audiobooks but this was by far the best narration I have heard.
Ceecee , her mother, ...... they were all so beautifully written.
Really enjoyed my time with this book.
I think back to the summary I read before I chose this title. I thought it would be a fluffy, happy book, just the right kind of easy, light listens to make my day. Boy was I wrong! Now let me tell you what exactly I mean by that. It is not, "fluffy" or light by any means. This story has substance! This isn't a cute, fluffy book, it is insightful, wise and rich. I absolutely love the characters, every single one of them!! That doesn't happen to me very often.
Ceecee is a courageous girl. As much as the author portrays the issues she is dealing with we also get to see in her the innocence that is still wrapped within her heart. The story has reminded me of the beautiful women that grace my life. Every chapter seemed to present another time to once again bask in the glow of being a young girl again, or how much someone can love us, or how people come into our lives and make us better women.
The narrator was perfect! I can't imagine anyone else narrating this story, it just wouldn't work. I can't say I've ever heard Jenna Lamia narrate a book before so I cannot speak to any of her other work but she nailed every character!
Truly, I think if you love movies like, "Steel Magnolia's" or "Where the Heart Is" you will fall in love with this book! Thank you Beth Hoffman for making my heart feel so warm. I would love to hear more from these characters!
Not really. The story takes CeeCee from a horrible existence to an almost perfect one. In that way is resembles the run-of-the-mill romance story. It is a Cinderella story and most of my friends have read that already.
I have not read others. She did a good job on this one.
The garden party.
The book was worth reading if you just want some light entertainment.
This is in my top 10 best books ever!
When Ceecee catches her busy body neighbor in her backyard.
When Ceecee finally forgives/accepts her mother illness.
Say something about yourself!
Really enjoyed the entire book. It was warm, sad, and ultimately uplifting. A enjoyable novel.
great character development