Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
Fiction-Southern, Published 2010
Read June 2010, 306 pp.
Shelf Life: Never got there!
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 tragedy strikes, 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 that seems to be run entirely by women. From the exotic Miz Thelma Rae Goodpepper, who skinny-dips in her backyard bathtub and uses garden slugs as her secret weapon, 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 entralled for an entire summer.
This was a very sweet book and such a great start to some fantastic summer reading! Set in the mid-1960′s, the book starts out with CeeCee living with her mother, but having to care for her starting at a young age. It it weren’t for Mrs. Odell, CeeCee’s neighbor, she wouldn’t have had any childhood. Then her crazy Aunt Tootie sweeps in her hellish Ohio life and drives her down to Savannah in her convertible. I loved all the Savannah characters, but mostly Oletta, Tootie, Mrs. Goodpepper, Sapphire!!, and the sweet Miz Obee. CeeCee comes to Savannah with a lot of baggage and slowly but surely learns how to heal her pain by sharing it with her new friends. I absolutely loved when Oletta took her to visit the ladies at the Green Hills Home. Sapphire is such a hoot!
“Lawd, you’re white. But if you’ve gotta be here, then sit in the shade so you don’t hurt my eyes.”
I loved the vividness of all the descriptions. I could clearly see all the characters, the beautiful historic homes and sceneries of Savannah, and smell Oletta’s delicious recipes.
This debut effort by Beth Hoffman gets a two thumbs up from me and I look forward to many more to come!
Sarah Addison Allen – The Girl Who Chased the Moon, The Sugar Queen, and Garden Spells as well as Pamela Morsi’s Bitsy’s Bait & BBQ.
Quotes (So Many Wonderful Ones! Ü):
When a chapter of your Life Book is complete, your spirit knows it’s time to turn the page so a new chapter can begin. Even when you’re scared or think you’re not ready, your spirit knows you are. -Mrs. Odell p. 41
I felt the flutter of a page turn deep within me as a chapter in my Life Book came to a close. -p.44
“I’ll get a box from the basement and you can pack it up with a few of your favorite books, but only one box.” (CeeCee’s Dad)
One box, that’s all? He’s sending me away and won’t even let me take my books? p. 37-38
“Oh Cecelia, isn’t it wonderful?” she said with a look of ecstasy on her face. “This house is alive with history. I can feel it humming through the soles of my shoes.” I looked down at the floor and waited. But I didn’t feel anything. -p. 101
Everyone needs to find the one thing that brings out her passion. It’s what we do and share with the world that matters. I believe it’s important that we leave our communities in better shape than we found them. -p. 101
If there’s one thing I’d like most for you, it’s that you’ll find your calling in life. That’s where true happiness and purpose lies. (Aunt Tootie) … “But how will I know what my fire is?” (CeeCee) “Oh, you’ll know. One day you’ll do something, see something, or get an idea that seems to pop up from nowhere. And you’ll feel a kind of stirring – like a warm flicker inside your chest. When that happens, whatever you do, don’t ignore it. Open your mind and explore the idea. Fan your flame. And when you do, you’ll have found it.” (Aunt Tootie) – p. 101-102