***one of my favorite reads***
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Source: Provided by Author
We all have a path to follow in life, a path that is unpredictable, filled with ups and downs, some people come and go, while some others have a great impact on our lives. Beth Hoffman introduces her readers to the concept of a 'life book'. When one chapters ends, another is just beginning in each of our life book. Some characters overlap, and some constant. In each case our books are written by a greater being.
CeeCee Honeycutt is a sweet, charming little girl. In this novel we learn about her 'life book' and her difficult childhood. Her mother Camille, a southern belle with a troubled mind has difficulty coping with life in Ohio. Her mind has her trapped in the extravagant world of pageants. She is constantly reliving her glorious days living in the South when she was crowned '1951 Vidalia Onion Queen.' As a result of her mothers constant flare-ups, and her need to parade around in pageant attire, CeeCee is no stranger to ridicule. She has only one friend, an older neighbor named Mrs. Odell who tries to aid CeeCee. Her father refuses to deal with his wife, and he's mostly absent. He shows up from time to time, but CeeCee is forced to escape her unconventional life by reading. Escaping in the world of books is CeeCee favorite past time. As a result, she is a brilliant, dedicated student. When tragedy strikes, and her mother passes away CeeCee's whole world abruptly changes. A new chapter in her life book begins when she is sent to live with her wealthy great-Aunt Tootie in Savannah. CeeCee is reluctant, grieving, and angry. She's sure she will never forgive her father, she's confused about her mothers death and her Great-Aunt Tootie is a stranger. While Tootie is comforting and generous, CeeCee keeps tries to keep to herself. She's careful about retelling her stories about her mother. While CeeCee is trying to mend her broken, tattered heart, she is thrown into a world controlled by women. She enters a world full of female empowerment, and strong female relationships.
Overall, this is a delightful, uplifting and positive book. While it may seem that it is a very depressing story this is not the case. CeeCee's whole world changes for the better, and she comes to terms with her mothers illness, and her fathers absence. Her whole world is constantly challenged.The story is beautifully narration, and Beth Hoffman's vivid imagery had me picking up the book whenever I could get a few minutes to read. The novel is very character driven, and I loved each and every character. I loved Oletta, while she may seem like just a cook in the beginning, she had such a positive impact on CeeCee. She was firm, yet loving and wanted to guide CeeCee is the right way. CeeCee was a little lost, lonely little girl and this was a great coming of age story. This is a marvelous debut novel, and I will definitely be looking out for more of Beth Hoffman's future reads.