As you'll recall from a previous post, my coworkers E and T recommended a bunch of books and authors for me to read! I just finished another one and couldn't wait to tell you about it. The book is "Saving CeeCee Honeycutt" by Beth Hoffman. This book is the story of a young girl with an absent father and a mother with a psychiatric diagnosis (alluded to as psychosis in the book but not definitive). Her only positive is an elderly neighbor but accepts CeeCee as she is. The result was a girl with no friends who had to take care of a mother who preferred to pretend she was in a beauty pageant. When her mother is unexpectedly killed (it says as much on the book flap so not giving too much away!) her father cannot care for her and allows her great aunt Tootie to take her home to Georgia.
Once in Georgia, CeeCee's life is forever changed by the women her aunt surrounds herself with. There are funny moments and many sad moments (read with a box of tissues!) in this very well written book. What drew me in mostly was how she characterized CeeCee's understanding of the world. CeeCee, when praying to G-d and not getting any answers, wonders if the prayers are being stacked up outside his door so one day when he opens the door will he be crushed by her prayers. Perhaps I like the book so much because I can relate to CeeCee. When I was younger, parents/grandparents/teachers/etc. used to tell me the world was black and white until the 1960s. Now what they meant was there was no color TV/movies until the 1960s. What I heard and interpreted was the ENTIRE world was black/white. So naturally I thought one day in the 1960's G-d took a big bucket of paint and colored the world.
This book is intended as a story about a little girl's struggle to redefine normal and figure out her place in the world. My one real criticism of the book is that it only touches on the racism that would have existed in the South during the 1960s. All the main characters, save one, have a completely positive experience toward black people. The three (that I can count) moments of blatant racism all spring up and resolve themselves quite quickly. Perhaps racism for a "Northerner" (CeeCee was born in Ohio) was not a part of the story that the author wanted to tell.
All in all a great read!
A Book in Review Grade: A