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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
  • 5 Stars
    2,090
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    1,174
  • 3 Stars
    434
  • 2 Stars
    104
  • 1 Stars
    48

Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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    24
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Story

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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  • 2 Stars
    68
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Wonderfully Told Story

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.

Loved it!

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  • Story
  • Debbie
  • POMPANO BEACH, FL, United States
  • 09-23-12

Sweet 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.

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  • Janice
  • Sugar Land, TX, United States
  • 09-21-12

Southern rose tinted glasses

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.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

I loved every character Cece met.

If you could sum up Saving Ceecee Honeycutt in three words, what would they be?

Heartwarming story of love.

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

The relationship that Cece developed with Odette was what makes this book a gem.

What about Jenna Lamia’s performance did you like?

Her versatility- that she can sound like a child and an adult at the same time. She brought such life to the characters.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, but I couldn't so it was fun to look forward to the time when I would be turning on the ipod!

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  • Marco
  • Great Barrington, MA, United States
  • 09-13-12

Really great book

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

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.

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

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.

Who was the most memorable character of Saving Ceecee Honeycutt and why?

Ceecee , her mother, ...... they were all so beautifully written.

Any additional comments?

Really enjoyed my time with this book.

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One of the best novels I've heard this summer!

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!

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OK

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

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.

If you’ve listened to books by Beth Hoffman before, how does this one compare?

I have not read others. She did a good job on this one.

Which scene was your favorite?

The garden party.

Do you think Saving Ceecee Honeycutt needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No.

Any additional comments?

The book was worth reading if you just want some light entertainment.

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You will love it!

Where does Saving Ceecee Honeycutt rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

This is in my top 10 best books ever!

Which scene was your favorite?

When Ceecee catches her busy body neighbor in her backyard.

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

When Ceecee finally forgives/accepts her mother illness.

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Great read, definitely worth the credit.

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

Really enjoyed the entire book. It was warm, sad, and ultimately uplifting. A enjoyable novel.

What did you like best about this story?

great character development

Which scene was your favorite?

n/a

Who was the most memorable character of Saving Ceecee Honeycutt and why?

Ceecee Honeycutt

Any additional comments?

no

  • Overall
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I loved this book

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

Did nnot read it<br/>

Who was your favorite character and why?

Her Aunt

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

I loved her narrative and timing

If you could rename Saving Ceecee Honeycutt, what would you call it?

Nothing it was fine

Any additional comments?

This is a book I recommend EVERYONE. It ranks up there as one of my favorites and I will keep it for ever. it is one I have recommened to my tweens, teens, young adult, adults and old folks. I think it connects to all ages.<br/>