REVIEW: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

Audio CD, 8 disks (10 hours)
Published January 12th 2010 by Penguin Audiobooks (first published January 1st 2010) 
ISBN:  0143145541 (ISBN13: 9780143145547)
primary language:  English
original title:  Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
4 stars overall / 4 stars audio narrationGoodreads Synopsis:
Twelve-year-old CeeCee is in trouble. For years she’s been the caretaker of her psychotic mother, Camille— the crown-wearing, lipstick-smeared laughingstock of an entire town. Though it’s 1967 and they live in Ohio, Camille believes it’s 1951 and she’s just been crowned the Vidalia Onion Queen of Georgia.The day CeeCee discovers Camille in the front yard wearing a tattered prom dress and tiara as she blows kisses to passing motorists, she knows her mother has completely flipped. When tragedy strikes, Tootie Caldwell, a previously unknown great-aunt comes to CeeCee’s rescue and whisks her away to Savannah. Within hours of her arrival, CeeCee is catapulted into a perfumed world of prosperity and Southern eccentricities—a world that appears to be run entirely by women.While Tootie is busy saving Savannah’s endangered historic homes from the wrecking ball, CeeCee encounters a cast of unforgettable, eccentric characters. From the mysterious Thelma Rae Goodpepper, who bathes in an outdoor tub under the watchful eyes of a voyeuristic peacock, to Oletta Jones, the all-knowing household cook, to Violene Hobbs, the loud-mouthed widow who entertains a local police officer in her yellow see-through peignoir, the women of Gaston Street keep CeeCee entertained and enthralled for an entire summer.But CeeCee’s view of the world is challenged in ways she could have never imagined: there are secrets to keep, injustices to face, and loyalties to uphold. Just as she begins to find her ballast and experiences a sense of belonging, her newfound joy collides with the long-held fear that her mother’s legacy has left her destined for destruction.Laugh-out-loud funny, at times heartbreaking, and written in a pitch-perfect voice, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is a spirited Southern tale that explores the intricate frailties and strengths of female relationships while illuminating the journey of a young girl who loses her mother but finds many others.

My Thoughts:

This was a sweet story, full of Southern charm and the obligatory dose of drama, and complete with happy ending. I loved it, especially since it painted a picture of what true Southern friendship, hospitality & loyalty are all about. Although it was a somewhat sugar-coated story, Hoffman didn’t leave out the complexities of Southern life during the Civil Rights movement, but she did temper the tone in keeping with the light timbre of her novel. This is a quick read, perfect for summer vacation, and it leaves you with the happy feeling of a story that worked out just right.
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