Friday, March 5, 2010

Review: "Saving CeeCee Honeycutt" by Beth Hoffman

12-year-old CeeCee Honeycutt has been all but abandonded by her traveling salesman father, and left home alone with her mentally ill mother, who still thinks it is 1951 when she was crowned the Vidalia Onion Queen. CeeCee has no friends other than her elderly neighbor, Mrs. Odell, because her mother is known to go around town wearing old prom dresses from Goodwill, and no person her age wants to be associated her. When CeeCee's mother dies suddenly everything changes and CeeCee is whisked away from her home in Willoughby to live with her Great-Aunt Tootie, a woman she doesn't remember and has had no recent contact with.

Aunt Tootie's home in Savannah, Georgia is like nothing CeeCee has ever seen before. Aunt Tootie is clearly a woman of financial means, and once CeeCee settles herself in she discovers that she just may like it in the South. With the help of Aunt Tootie, Aunt Tootie's cook and friend, Oletta, and Aunt Tootie's controversial neighbors Miz Goodpepper and Violene Hobbs, CeeCee begins to not only feel at home, but she begins to deal with the shock of the death of her mother and the abandonment of her father in one transformative summer.

What I loved about this book was how strong the female characters were. Aunt Tootie is passionate about restoring old homes to their former glory, and she has a strong love for her grand-niece, whom she had only met once before. Oletta, Aunt Tootie's cook, is a strong black woman who can cook up a storm but who also offers CeeCee the gift of friendship when she needs it the most. The exotic Miz Goodpepper is the most entertaining of the bunch, as she always has something unconventional up her sleeve and is willing to share her adventures with CeeCee. Violene Hobbs, although she is not the favourite of the ladies of the neighborhood, demonstrates strength in her beliefs as well, even if her beliefs are not popular.

I ultimately did not love Saving CeeCee Honeycutt as much as I thought that I would. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it, and would recommend it. The characters were wonderful and showcased how strong and loving a group of females can be. However I found that once CeeCee moved to Savannah, everything turned out just a little too perfectly for her and the lack of real conflict in the remainder of the book disappointed me a little. Despite this, I found this coming-of-age novel to be absolutely charming in the way that novels set in the South should be.

Thank-you to Barbara at Penguin for this review copy! You can read an excerpt of this book or find out more about the author, Beth Hoffman, here.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Recommended to: Fans of Southern fiction, those who enjoy coming-of-age stories
Challenges: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge, New Author Challenge 2010

1 comment:

  1. Very nice Jonita. I recently posted my review for this book and added a link to your review. I hope that's ok.