Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
"Momma started wearing those tattered old prom dresses several
days a week. The more she wore them, the more of a spectacle she
became in our town. Even the nicest of our neighbors couldn't stop
themselves from standing in their front yards bug-eyed and slack-jawed
whenever she'd parade down the sidewalk in a rustle of taffeta. And
who could blame them? With a neighbor like Mamma, who needed TV?"
CeeCee, the protagonist of Beth Hoffman's Saving CeeCee
Honeycutt, spent the first twelve years of her life in the kind of
hellish existence that these days would culminate in a Children's
Protective Services intervention. Her mother's defining life moment
was being crowned the 1951 Vidalia Onion King. (The book is set in
the 60's). She's always trying to reclaim her former glory, usually,
in the process making herself the laughingstock of the neighborhood.
CeeCee's father, frustrated by his wife's refusal to take her meds,
has distanced himself from his little family with beer and working
away from home, not to mention another woman. Basically he's been
leaving an underage child to take care of a perpetually teetering on
the edge psychotic adult.
This all comes to an end when a policeman arrives at CeeCee's
home with bad news. Her mom, clad in tiara and party dress, ran out
in front of a truck and was struck and killed instantly. The day
after the funeral a mysterious woman driving a fabulous convertible
arrives. She turns out to be CeeCee's great-aunt Tallulah who is
going to take CeeCee back to Georgia with her for good, not just a
Now you might imagine a woman old enough to be a great aunt
would lead a pretty bland life for a preteen. If so, you couldn't be
more wrong. Tootie (Tallulah) and her girls are as joyous and
eccentric as it's possible to be. They may be just what CeeCee needs
to come fully alive for the first time in her existence.
This brilliant debut novel is impossible to put down from the
very first sentences: "Mama left her red satin shoes in the middle of
the road. That's what three eyewitnesses told the police..." Reading
it cover to cover is like devouring a quart of your favorite flavor
ice cream right out of the container with a plastic spoon, a practice
I'm sure Tootie and her chums would highly approve of.
On a personal note, there are three people running for two positions
on school committee. Aaarrrggghhh! Just when, by being chair, I can
get my ideas implemented.
A great big shout out goes out to the Veazie voters whom I surely hope
will vote for me.
Sent from my iPod