Review: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Title: Saving Ceecee Honeycutt
Author: Beth Hoffman
First Published: January 2010
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Library | Who could miss all that rave?
306 pages




In a nutshell
Twelve-year old CeeCee Honeycutt has been looking after her psychotic mother, Camille, for years. But when Camille is hit by a truck, CeeCee's aunt, Tootie, comes to take care of her. And thus she enters a world filled with strange and eccentric characters. 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.

I think...
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.

10 comments:

Marce said...

Good review Aths, I thought about reading this one a few times but thought I would have that feeling you explained and books that I think I may give 3 stars to I pass over. Sounds like a good read just missing something.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Great review.
Weird side note: I LOVE names that end in "pepper"...weird I know ;)

Ash said...

This sounds really sad, although the passage you quoted had me giggling. I think I'll probably skip this one.

Blueicegal ♥ said...

lol i love her name and the quote was very funny! sounds like a good read

Marg said...

I just won a copy of this book so I am excited at the prospect of reading it!

Aths said...

Marce, that was exactly the problem, Marce. Next time, I should wait for all the hype to pass me and only then pick a book to read! Or else, the book has to be really really outstanding, not just sweet.

Juju, me too! I think it's cute. :)

Ash, the book is melancholy really, but in a hilarious way. Or funny in a sad way. Not quite one or the other. But yeah, there are plenty of funny passages throughout! :)

Blueicegal, That is one of my favorite quotes too! :)

Marg, I sure hope you enjoy it a lot! I think this is just your kind of book. You should enjoy it!

Lisa said...

I think I'm going to be the last person on the planet to read this one, but I'm really looking forward to it.

Aths said...

Lisa, I sure hope you enjoy it! I'll be looking forward to your review.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

ooh good review! Thanks Aths!

Aths said...

You're welcome, Sheila! Hope you enjoy it!