Book Review: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

Title: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
Author: Beth Hoffman
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Publication Date: January 12, 2010
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN: 978-0670021390
Genre: Fiction

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From the Publisher:

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 Camille is hit by a truck and killed, 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 of prosperity and Southern eccentricity, a world that seems to be run entirely by women. From the exotic Miz Thelma Rae Goodpepper, who bathes in her backyard bathtub and uses garden slugs as her secret weapons, 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 enthralled for an entire summer.

Laugh-out-loud funny and deeply touching, Beth Hoffman’s sparkling debut is, as Kristin Hannah says, “packed full of Southern charm, strong women, wacky humor, and good old-fashioned heart.” It is a novel that explores the indomitable strengths of female friendship and gives us the story of a young girl who loses one mother and finds many others.

My Review:

A few years ago, whenever I was asked for a truly exceptional book to read I would without hesitation reply, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. After reading Beth Hoffman’s most recent novel, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, I can honestly and wholeheartedly respond with the answer, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. Every so often a reader will come across one of those rare books that will make the reader delighted to know how to read and Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is indeed one of those books.
One cannot help but immediately fall in love with Cecelia Rose, who by the age of nine, realises her mother has lost the last tenuous grasp she had on reality. Cecelia Rose’s only friends were books and her beloved 80-year-old neighbour, Mrs. Odell. Upon her mother’s death, 12-year-old Cecelia Rose becomes CeeCee and moves to Savannah, Georgia to live with her widowed great-aunt Tallulah “Tootie” Caldwell and the delightful and indispensable Oletta.
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt was an absolute delight to read, and my only word of caution to the reader would be to plan plenty of time, as this is not a book one can set down. The characters are so vividly described as reader is transported into CeeCee’s colourful, eccentric and delightful world. Written in a rich southern, and truly Savannah tone, this book will delight readers spanning the generations. I cannot think of a person I would not recommend this novel to and if you happen to be fortunate enough to be in a book group, I highly recommend Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman.

About the Author:

Beth Hoffman was the president and owner of a major design studio in Cincinnati, Ohio. She sold her business to pursue writing full time. Beth lives in Newport, Kentucky with her husband and two very smart cats, in a beautiful historic home that she completely renovated. To learn more, please visit the author’s website.

I received a complimentary copy of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman from the author as a kind gesture. Receiving a copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.

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Book Tour & Review: Full Moon At Noontide by Ann Putnam

Title: Full Moon At Noontide: A Daughter’s Last Goodbye
Author: Ann Putnam
Publisher: Southern Methodist University Press
Publication Date: November 23, 2009
Hardcover: 224 pages
ISBN: 978-0870745553
Genre: Memoir

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About the Book:

This is the story of my mother and father and my dashing, bachelor uncle, my father’s identical twin, and how they lived together with their courage and their stumblings, as they made their way into old age and then into death. And it’s the story of the journey from one twin’s death to the other, of what happened along the way, of what it means to lose the other who is also oneself.

My story takes the reader through the journey of the end of life: selling the family home, re-location at a retirement community, doctor’s visits, ER visits, specialists, hospitalizations, ICU, nursing homes, Hospice. It takes the reader through the gauntlet of the health care system with all the attendant comedy and sorrows, joys and terrors of such things. Finally it asks: what consolation is there in growing old, in such loss? What abides beyond the telling of my own tale? Wisdom carried from the end of the journey to readers who are perhaps only beginning theirs. Still, what interest in reading of this inevitable journey taken by such ordinary people? Turned to the light just so, the beauty and laughter of the telling transcend the darkness of the tale.

During the final revisions of this book, my husband was dying of cancer, and he died before I could finish it. What I know so far is this: how pure love becomes when it is distilled through such suffering and loss–a blue flame that flickers and pulses in the deepest heart.

As I finish this book he is gone three months.

My Review:

Ann Putnam has written a straightforward, honest and loving look at the process of aging, dying and death. A potentially frightening and morbid topic for many and yet Putnam writes her memoir, Full Moon at Noontide, about her parents, Grace and Homer, and her Uncle Henry, her father’s twin, in the most loving and tender of manners. This is indeed a book about the struggles one faces at the end of life, yet it is so much more, it is a book about love, dignity, and humanity. The reader will be in tears one moment and smiling the next as Putnam takes readers through the last leg of life, a journey her parents and Uncle took and she captured every nuance with loving detail. Society prefers to overlook the elderly, the ill and the dying. I know this from working in nursing homes and dealing with death up front. Too many cannot handle it and prefer the phone call to actually being present, since physical presence at the side of a dying loved one is difficult, and real death is not accurately portrayed in movies or on television. As one loses abilities, life forever changes and this extraordinarily beautiful memoir talks of these changes that occur every day and are so often overlooked. We are all born and we all die and in our declining years we should not be forgotten simply because it is uncomfortable to others. Putnam’s moving memoir speaks for those who cannot, to help show the world what it is like for the average person. Full Moon at Noontide is so lovingly and candidly written I would not hesitate to recommend it to any adult.

About the Author:

ANN PUTNAM teaches creative writing and women’s studies at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. She has published short fiction, personal essays, literary criticism, and book reviews in various anthologies such as Hemingway and Women: Female Critics and the Female Voice and in journals, including the Hemingway Review, Western American Literature, and the South Dakota Review. Her recent release is Full Moon at Noontide: A Daughter’s Last Goodbye.

For more information about Ann Putnam, please visit his website.


Ann Putnam’s FULL MOON AT NOONTIDE VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR ‘10 officially began on June 1 and end on July 30 2010. You can visit Ann Putnam’s blog stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com during the months of June and July to find out more about this great book and talented author!

I received a complimentary copy of Full Moon At Noontide by Ann Putnam from Pump Up Your Book Promotion as part of the tour. Receiving a copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.

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It’s Monday What Are You Reading? 7 June 2010

It’s Monday What Are you Reading is the perfect way for me to begin my week and allows me to focus on what needs to be read and to see what I have or have not accomplished the previous week. I also enjoy discovering new books by visiting other participants blogs.

Last week was a very slow week for me.

I Read and Reviewed (click the title to be taken to the review):

This week I am planning to read:

  • Full Moon At Noontide by Ann Putnam
  • The Art of Devotion by Samantha Bruce-Benjamin
  • The Love Ceiling by Jean Davis Okimoto
  • The Six-Liter Club by Harry Kraus
  • Conflicts With Interest by Michael Ruddy
  • A Cottage By The Sea by Ciji Ware
  • The Moon Looked Down by Dorothy Garlock
  • The Weight of Shadows by Alison Strobel
  • Three Wishes by Carey Goldberg, Beth Jones, and Pamela Ferdinand
  • Summer At Tiffany by Majorie Hart
  • Amanda Memories by Dr. Joel R. Gecht

Visit next Monday to see if I managed to accomplish my reading goals.

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