Saturday, December 31, 2016

My Favorite Book Read in 2016

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

Have you ever connected so much with a book that you experienced the same sort of healing as the main character? Young Cee Cee Honeycutt lives with her mentally ill mother and absent father. The only support CeeCee has is through her books and with the eldery neighbor. The day CeeCee discovers Camille in the front yard wearing a tattered prom dress and tiara as she blows kisses to passing motorists, she knows her mother has completely flipped. When tragedy strikes, Tootie Caldwell, a previously unknown great-aunt comes to CeeCee’s rescue and whisks her away to Savannah. Within hours of her arrival, CeeCee is catapulted into a perfumed world of prosperity and Southern eccentricities—a world that appears to be run entirely by women.

“Life is full of change, honey. That's how we learn and grow. When we're born, the Good Lord gives each of us a Life Book. Chapter by chapter, we live and learn... When a chapter of your Life Book is complete, your spirit knows it's time to turn the page so a new chapter can begin. Even when you're scared or think you're not ready, your spirit knows you are.”
― Beth Hoffman 

While Tootie is busy saving Savannah’s endangered historic homes from the wrecking ball, CeeCee encounters a cast of unforgettable, eccentric characters. From the mysterious Thelma Rae Goodpepper, who bathes in an outdoor tub under the watchful eyes of a voyeuristic peacock, to Oletta Jones, the all-knowing household cook, to Violene Hobbs, the loud-mouthed widow who entertains a local police officer in her yellow see-through peignoir, the women of Gaston Street keep CeeCee entertained and enthralled for an entire summer.

But CeeCee’s view of the world is challenged in ways she could have never imagined: there are secrets to keep, injustices to face, and loyalties to uphold. Just as she begins to find her ballast and experiences a sense of belonging, her newfound joy collides with the long-held fear that her mother’s legacy has left her destined for destruction.

I laughed, cried, and absolutely imagined what would it had been like if I would have been rescued by a loving aunt and her friends when I was removed from my biological family. Although the situation was different from in the book. I had the pain, fear, and needed the same healing from a traumatic childhood. Some may not be able to read this novel from personal triggers but it can very much open the door to healing. So much compassion and healing can come from a book when you dive into the world of words! Moreover, I was completely astonished that this book was the first novel written by Beth Hoffman. Exceptionally well written  with great descriptions. I could not put this book down. My favorite part was the mysterious letters to Ms. Violene Hobbs from her traveling brassiere. The imagery of the bra in different locations had me in stitches. 

My favorite quote was, “…It’s my fire… Everyone needs to find the one thing that brings out her passion. It’s what we do and share with the world that matters…far too many people die with a heart that’s gone flat with indifference, and it surely must be a terrible way to go. Life will offer us amazing opportunities, but we have got to be wide-awake to recognize them… it’s in that you’ll find your calling in life. That’s where true happiness and purpose lies. You’ll never be fulfilled if you don’t.”

If you love Southern fiction, this will be a favorite. This book reminded me of The Secret Life of bees by Sue Monk Kidd and The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I am so grateful that a woman from my book club suggested this book to me. It opens up so many doors for a great discussion. This by far was my favorite novel of 2016! I give it my Highest recommendation!


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