Title: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
Author: Beth Hoffman
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Publication Date: January 12, 2010
Hardcover: 320 pages
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.
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.
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.