Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
Published October 2010 by Penguin Group
Source: bought this one myself

What would it be like to grow up the daughter of the laughingstock of town? For Cecelia Honeycutt, her reality is that her father is rarely home and she is left to care for a mother who is slowly losing her battle with bipolar disease. CeeCee is only saved from this friendless life by the tragic death of her mother. When CeeCee's father agrees to let her great-aunt Tootie take CeeCee away to live with her in Savannah, she is angry with her father and sad to be leaving her next-door neighbor, Mrs. Odell. CeeCee has no idea that it will turn out to be the blessing she's been waiting all of her life for.

In Savannah CeeCee will find the love, laughter, and happiness that she's been longing for all of her life. Surrounded by strong, colorful, and distinctly Southern women, CeeCee will face for the first time racism and come to terms with her mother's legacy.

Lovers of Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees will also enjoy this one; if fact, they share many of the same themes. They also share a build up of racial tension that fails to deliver a real punch. As with Bees, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt presents the reader with formidable African-American women and Hoffman gives the reader a glimpse into their lives as they struggle to survive in a part of the country they love but which doesn't always love them.

Hoffman brings the reader the South in the way that Karen Allen and Sarah Addison Allen do - she brings the South she clearly loves alive. As someone who loves history and strongly believes in saving our past, I wanted to hop in my car and drive back in time to help Aunt Tootie in her work to save the old homes of Savannah. And oh, those flowers - I swear I could smell them as Hoffman described the gardens that Mrs. Odell and Aunt Tootie so love. For those who love reading about the softer side of the South, those who love reading about strong women, and those who love a book that tugs at your heart strings, this one's for you.

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