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.
©2010 Beth Hoffman; (P)2010 Penguin Audiobooks
Avid reader and foodie. I read mostly fiction but thanks to my awesome book club I am branching out and finding some great books!
The reviews really led me wrong on this one. This was so saccharine sweet and silly... I just couldn't like it. Every time there was a moment where you thought, oh, look! Some conflict! Nope, it was cleared up in 5 minutes. Whew! Back to sunny and cheery.
I thought this was just too fluffy to like. If you're looking for something in this vein, I'd stick to The Help.
The narration was great- the story was lacking.
Maybe a few years ago I'd have appreciated this more- but now I need at least SOME substance and I just didn't get it from this book.
CeeCee Honeycutt has had a tough life in her 12 years she had a father who travels alot and leaves her home alone with her mentally ill mother. Her mother doesn't beat her or anything however she thinks she's back in 1951 when she was the Vidalia Onion Queen she parades around town in prom dresses and her tiara and can't be pulled back into the present no matter how hard CeeCee tries.
As events unfold CeeCee ends up living with her Great Aunt Tootie in Savannah, which is where she begins to heal from her past.
This is a story of love, loss, forgiveness, friendship and strong women. We watch as CeeCee comes to grips with her past and finally allows people in on what she has been through with her mother.
I loved this book Beth Hoffman brings these characters to life you end up loving them all. If you loved The Help you’ll love CeeCee.
I highly recommend this book definitely a must read!
The above review is from Feb. 2010 it is now Feb 2012 and I have re-read this book and loved it just as much as I did the first time. I listened to it on audio this time narrated by, Jenna Lamia who as always does a fantastic job at the narration.
The characters in the book stay with you so long after you're done reading I read this 2 years ago and it felt like catching up with my old friends Oletta & Mrs. Odell and of course CeeCee. I just loved it all over again! I am so glad these characters are in my life book!
Definitely still 5 stars and still on my favorites list
I could say this was a sad story and indeed CeeCee Honeycutt, a 12 year old girl has a very sad life when compared to most girls her age. However, her story does end well for her as you might guess by the title. She is fortunate to encounter many loving people who help her enjoy a good outcome. I really enjoyed the character descriptions, the dialog, the narrator and the plot flow. Highly recommend!
If you enjoyed "The Help" or "The Secret Life of Bees", you'll enjoy this book. A nice mix of sass,and spunk!
A sweet book, appropriate for readers of all ages. The narrator did a very good job of representing the characters with various voices and accents.
I really enjoyed this story. It is almost a two part adventure (before and after CeeCee was saved). Both parts are intersting and CeeCee is a great character. Her mother's situation is sad and her father is a loser - but CeeCee is wonderful. I loved all the characters in the "second part". It is well worth the purchase.
I just gobbled up this wonderful story. I loved absolutely every minute. I think anyone who liked "The Secret Life of Bees" or "The Glass Castle" would enjoy this book immensely. The reading by Jenna Lamia is perfection.
Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy
This book is truly a listening delight. The narrator, Jenna Lamia, was just perfection with all of her varied characters. Her many voices fascinated me.
Ceecee's story was one of the best coming of age novels I have had the pleasure of listening to. The women who peopled Ceecee's world were so entertaining, each and every one of them!
In summary, Ceecee is raised by a mentally ill mother, most likely with bipolar disorder, who does not take her meds as prescribed. As a result, her mother is delusional most of the time and Ceecee becomes a parentified child who is missing out on life while she takes care of her mother. Her father has left the home, unable to cope with the mother's delusional behavior. When Ceecee is 12, her mother is suddenly killed by a truck. Her Aunt Tootie from South Carolina, with whom she had no history, comes to get the child with the intention of raising her niece. Most of the story revolves around the child's adjustment, adventures, and growth in the home of her Aunt.
I don't want to go into more details. You should just bite the bullet and get this audiobook. It is sad, funny, and always entertaining.
Best of southern feminine fiction comes alive in this story of a twelve year old girl blossoming in Savannah, Georgia. Cee Cee was in a sad state while living in Ohio. Her out if place, mentally ill, Southern Bell mother was run over by an ice cream, and her father was barely at home anymore. So her Great-Aunt Tootie drive up in her luxury car to take Cee Cee home with her to Savannah.
Cee Cee's life suddenly went from loneliness and neglect to a whirlwind of new friends and an exuberant life with Oletta---Tootie's black housekeeper, and all of Tootie's numerous flamboyant neighbors. Cee Cee's "life book" became filled with many new found experiences, including racism, elaborate southern traditions, and great new friends. She learned to forgive others and accept the "perfectness" of who she could be.
Characters were well developed and wonderfully interesting. Messages were deep, but couched in loads of charm and humor. Difficult situations were eluded to, but we're not dealt with in a heavy handed manner. Terrific read!!
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
First of all, I LOVE stories set in the south, and this one is set in Savannah, Georgia . . . People in the south are a little eccentric . . . a little off their rockers . . . and I'm speaking from experience . . . an Alabamian, transplanted from Kentucky . . . Hillbilly southerner . . . It's the HEART of southerners that you almost have to live in the south to understand . . . and this book portrays it perfectly. CeeCee Honeycutt moves from "up north" down to Georgia to her Great Aunt's house after her mother, who is as crazy as a loon, walks in front of an ice cream truck and is killed. Her father, who is not a winner either, and has been having an affair, chooses to pawn her off and continue his traveling salesman job, which as fate would have it, is the best thing he could ever do for CeeCee. Living with her Aunt Tootie turns out to be quite an adventure . . . where CeeCee makes her first true friend in Aunt Tootie's black maid, Oletta. While some in Savannah are still stuck in prejudice and racism, Aunt Tootie and her friends are not, and Oletta and her black friends are also Aunt Tootie's friends. Set in the 1960s, this book is a wonderful listen, full of grace, kindness, understanding and acceptance of a much-damaged twelve year old CeeCee. If you love southern literature, you can't miss with this one.
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