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Publisher's 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.

©2010 Beth Hoffman; (P)2010 Penguin Audiobooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
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Lacks tension, perfect for preteen girls though

Is there anything you would change about this book?

More dimension/depth to the plot.

Have you listened to any of Jenna Lamia’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes, she narrated part of The Help. Her voice was authentic for a twelve year old girl.

Was Saving Ceecee Honeycutt worth the listening time?

Yes.

Any additional comments?

I was hopeful about this book because reviews compared it to The Help, which I loved. But what I discovered was Pollyanna on steroids. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman is the story of a twelve year old girl who moves to Savannah in the sixties to live with her aunt after her psychotic mother runs in front of a truck and dies. CeeCee’s father, who had traveled on business her whole life to escape his crazy wife, willingly gives his daughter over to his sister-in-law and all but disappears from the story.

In Savannah, CeeCee finds herself in the lap of southern luxury in a piucture perfect house in a picture perfect town with a perfectly loving (and extremely wealthy) aunt and a perfectly cliche housekeeper who becomes CeeCee’s surrogate mother. During her first Summer in Georgia, CeeCee encounters a cast of eccentric characters – all women. Whereas in Pollyanna, the cast of characters are all changed by the young girl’s optimistic and joyful approach to life, in Saving CeeCee Honeycutt the cast of characters are not changed at the end, which should have meant it was CeeCee who would be changed by the characters, but by the end the only person that seems to change CeeCee is the housekeeper, Olletta Jones. The title doesn’t make much sense to me because the only thing that seemed to ‘save’ CeeCee, was her mother’s suicide, because it moved her to a better station in life. And that’s an odd message to portray.

Because her mother dies very early in the story, we learn about the relationship she and CeeCee shared through flashbacks – which should have left me with empathy for CeeCee, but a lack of depth left me apathetic. There are two situations in this entire book that could be considered a climax, but instead of allowing the situations to create tension and drama, Hoffman tidies them up and puts them perfectly back in place. This is also true of the story’s ending in which CeeCee’s life becomes ever more perfect, and tries to convince the reader that CeeCee was ‘saved’ over the course of one summer after supposedly caring for her crazy mother since she could remember, and living in fear she would become her mother.

All that being said, this book would quite possibly have been a favorite book of mine when I was twelve because what twelve year old didn’t wish at some point they could be whisked away to the lap of luxury, meet a bunch of interesting people, eat a lot of really good food, and basically not have a care in the world?

In my opinion, this novel should have been marketed to young girls, not adults.

I am giving this story 3 stars. The writing is decent, and Hoffman did create a place I would like to ‘visit’, but her plot line lacked tension, drama and authenticity. This could easily have been a 5 star novel if Hoffman had perhaps given CeeCee a secret she carried with her, or a continuation of the story past her first summer, and perhaps into her teen or adult years, or maybe even a past/present novel where CeeCee looked back on childhood, or an actual descent into psychosis – supposedly her biggest fear – that she had to be actually ‘saved from’. This novel doesn’t deserve the word Saving in the title.

My Rating: 3 Stars

Quality writing, charming setting, inadequate and immature story line, forgettable, cliche at times, and not worth a re-read, but perfect for a pre-teen!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great Story, Great Performance, Loved It!

A young girl does a lot of growing up, and it is a great story. Jenna Lamia did a fabulous job reading. I was thoroughly entertained and there were several emotional, "feel-good" moments, and they all lived happily ever after. Good strong relationships, wise adults, and this was everything I want in a good book!

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  • Laura
  • Sacramento, CA, United States
  • 10-17-12

Ceecee Honeycutt is down home beautiful

At the beginning I wondered why it started out on such a down note, but when Ceecee went from the depths of despair to the comfort and love of her new Southern family, I was cheering for her and all of them. Someday soon when I need to feel homey, I will relisten to this poetic book. And the sweet, young-sounding voice actor did a superb job!

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One of three best listened to this year.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes

What was one of the most memorable moments of Saving Ceecee Honeycutt?

When she realized her mother always had more value that she had thought.

What does Jenna Lamia bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Love her ability to change her voice for each character.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

No

Any additional comments?

No

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wonderful story, brought to life by narrator

This was such a heart-warming story - brought to life by the narrator. Would highly recommend!!! I would agree with those who categorize this as a coming of age story with roots in Southern customs and charms. Also, the narrator sounds young enough to make the first person account very engaging.

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Fun listen

Would you listen to Saving Ceecee Honeycutt again? Why?

This was a treat. The narrator's southern accents and different voices for each character made this story easy to listen to. I liked the relaxed feel of the story--it's just what a northerner loves about the south.

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  • Jana
  • IRVINE, CA, United States
  • 10-02-12

Great chicklit

Would you consider the audio edition of Saving Ceecee Honeycutt to be better than the print version?

The narrator was so excellent with the Southern accents that I can't imagine the story without her voice. Old characters sounded old, young ones young, and the black cook was so good, I almost laughed every time "she" spoke.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Saving Ceecee Honeycutt?

I don't want to give away the story, so I'll just say that the story was a melange of happy, sad, funny, traumatic, and tender moments. It's all about female bonding across races and ages.

What about Jenna Lamia’s performance did you like?

What a gifted actress Lamia is! Every character has its own voice and is readily distinguishable. Listening to her was the best part of the story.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Both.

Any additional comments?

This is a delightful story that's not offensive in any way. There's no violence or profanity, just a touching story about a girl growing up and coming to grips with her parents.

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GREAT BOOK!!

What made the experience of listening to Saving Ceecee Honeycutt the most enjoyable?

The endearing nature of the characters. The good feelings created after Cee Cee is forced to move with her relatives.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Cee Cee Honeycutt because she is a survivor and because she finally finds a true loving home.

What about Jenna Lamia’s performance did you like?

Very believeable perfomance

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Delightful!

This book has a wonderful blend of humor and pathos. A perfect coming-of-age story. The narration added to the enjoyment of the book.

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a delightful tale

Any additional comments?

This is a really good story, well told, and will take you to another time and place. No foul language, no gratuitous violence or sex. You will enjoy it.