This week I read Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman. This book was not what I was expecting, and I was very pleasantly surprised.
CeeCee Honeycutt lives with her mentally ill Southern mom in that horrible wasteland one sees in the Bugs Bunny cartoons north of the Mason-Dixon line. CeeCee's mom Camille, the Vidalia Onion Queen of 1955, lives in the past most days traipsing around town in vintage prom and pageant dresses and tiaras. CeeCee's traveling salesman father is rarely around, and CeeCee attempts to manage her mother as the residents of her small Ohio town look on with pity and do very little to help with the exception of a kind elderly neighbor named Mrs. Odell. After her mom is tragically killed, CeeCee is whisked away to Savannah by her Great-Aunt Tootie Caldwell. Tootie is a hoot, and so are her other female neighbors near Forsyth Park.
This is definitely a character-driven book. I enjoy books about strong Southern women, and there is even one in this book that is fun to, well, not like. There are a couple of holes in the plot where questions aren't answered, so I'm hoping that there might be a sequel because I'd love to see what happens to CeeCee as she matures.
If you enjoy stories with strong Southern women, like Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Steel Magnolias, and The Help, then you should enjoy this book. As in most books set in the South, there is a strong presence of extended family in both black and white households, issues concerning race, Southern idioms and culture, and a vivid sense of place. Beth Hoffman kept me in tears for CeeCee throughout the book, yet I also laughed until my sides hurt.
I'm currently reading Hoffman's latest, Looking for Me. I'll post about it next week!
Until next time...