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All that hype slightly spoiled the book for me

  • Jun 5, 2010

CeeCee's mother believes she is a beauty queen. In fact, she was the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen. She trots around town in her tiara and the cheap prom gowns she gets at the nearby Goodwill store. In addition, her crumbling relationship with her husband further erodes her mental faculties. Initially, CeeCee is freaked out by her mother's behavior but over time, CeeCee starts getting irritated. CeeCee's reactions moved me. It was sad watching a child feel helpless when no one can help her mother. She tries coaxing her father to take some action, but he just shirks off any responsibility.

When Camille is killed in an accident, CeeCee feels shattered. She begins to miss her mother, and is outraged when her father wants to give her away to her aunt, Tootie Caldwell. She'd rather stay with her neighbor, Mrs. Odell. But Tootie's arrival is one of the best things that happen to CeeCee. She doesn't realize it first, but before the end of the summer, she comes to embrace that.

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt has an interesting plethora of characters. Tootie is the very concerned empathetic person who helps everyone is trouble, and is held in high regard by everyone. Mrs Oletta, Tootie's maid, who stayed with her even when she could move on is very like Minny (of The Help) without being so sassy. She is stern and warm in perfect combination. Miz Goodpepper, who stays next doors, seems nice on the surface, but hers is a mind that puts a lot of wheels into motion, while sometimes slightly unsettling CeeCee, and thus the reader. In this setting of mainly ladies is another character - Miz Hobbs - who is much hated by other characters, due to her wagging tongue and her tendency to rebuke the others. In the process, she comes to be the butt of many jokes, that although are quite hilarious, can be branded as in poor taste.

This is a very sweet read. It is also funny, but sometimes in a sad way. When CeeCee is curious about a book called "Kama Sutra", she has the following conversation with Miz Goodpepper.

While Miz Goodpepper pulled a pitcher of lemonade from the frig, I asked "Is the Kama Sutra a volcano?"

She gasped and splashed lemonade across the kitchen counter. The strangest look streaked across her face as she sopped up the mess with a wad of paper towels. "Well I suppose some might think it's a volcano of sorts, but I can say with absolute assurance you wouldn't enjoy that book."

"That's what I thought," I said, feeling pleased with myself, "so I put it back on the shelf." 

I found this book to be an enjoyable read, but I didn't love it. There was quite a bit of predictability, that I couldn't take nicely. CeeCee sure deserved all the good things that happened to her, but the coincidental manner in which they happen didn't please me. Moreover, I didn't feel as warmed by this book as I expected too. I liked it, but didn't love it. It is a good light read, one that will have you smiling as you read.

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More Saving CeeCee Honeycutt reviews
Quick Tip by . January 18, 2011
I loved this book more than words can say. I will reread this every year. Heck, I may reread it 4 times a year.
review by . January 27, 2010
If you loved The Help, or if you have a love for the Southern portion of the country in general, you will love this tale. Cecelia "CeCe" Honeycutt is an outcast in her Ohio town...all due to her mother. Cece's mother is mentally ill; and although her antics keep the townsfolk tittering, they make Cece the butt of jokes and the object of ridicule in the town and in her school. She finds solace in her love of reading, and with her beloved elderly neighbor Mrs. Odell. When a tragedy leaves Cece with …
review by . December 15, 2009
In this heartwarming Southern tale, CeeCee Honeycutt searches for a safe-haven from her troubled life with an absentee father and mentally-ill mother. When CeeCee's mother is killed, her father sends her to live with her mother's Aunt Tootie in Savannah. There she finds love and acceptance even as she faces racism, violence, and a series of crazy neighbors.    Though the story is fairly predictable and cliches of Southern literature abound, this book is still an enjoyable read. …
About this book


Hoffman's debut, a by-the-numbers Southern charmer, recounts 12-year-old Cecelia Rose Honeycutt's recovery from a childhood with her crazy mother, Camille, and cantankerous father, Carl, in 1960s Willoughby, Ohio. After former Southern beauty queen Camille is struck and killed by an ice cream truck, Carl hands over Cecelia to her great-aunt Tootie. Whisked off to a life of privilege in Savannah, Ga., Cecelia makes fast friends with Tootie's cook, Oletta, and gets to know the cadre of eccentric women who flit in and out of Tootie's house, among them racist town gossip Violene Hobbs and worldly, duplicitous Thelma Rae Goodpepper. Aunt Tootie herself is the epitome of goodness, and Oletta is a sage black woman. Unfortunately, any hint of trouble is nipped in the bud before it can provide narrative tension, and Hoffman toys with, but doesn't develop, the idea that Cecelia could inherit her mother's mental problems. Madness, neglect, racism and snobbery slink in the background, but Hoffman remains locked on the sugary promise of a new day.

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ISBN-10: 0670021393
ISBN-13: 978-0670021390
Author: Beth Hoffman
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
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