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Saving CeeCee Honeycutt    by Beth Hoffman order for
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
by Beth Hoffman
Order:  USA  Can
Viking, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

Twelve year old CeeCee Honeycutt had taken care of her psychotic mother, Camille, for a long time. Camille was never happy living in Willoughby, Ohio. She always dreamed of the day she could move back to Georgia. Her mind was trapped in a long ago moment when she was the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen. She would often parade around town in an old prom dress and her tiara, blowing kisses to people. Everyone laughed, but no one stepped in to offer assistance to Camille or CeeCee. CeeCee's father was a traveling salesman, away from home for weeks at a time. He knew what was happening but couldn't face the reality of the situation.

One day tragedy struck while Camille was out on her own. She would never return home and CeeCee was filled with guilt. She should have been there for her mother. Now CeeCee's life is about to change, a very frightening prospect. Her only friends are her eighty-one year old neigbour, Mrs. Odell, and Nancy Drew. But her father has reached out to her and offered a gift. He has consented to CeeCee moving to Savannah to live with her Great Aunt Tootie.

Aunt Tootie arrives with a smile on her face, driving her old Packard convertible. She wants to give CeeCee a home life with stability and normalcy. She whisks CeeCee off to Savannah to an unfamiliar Southern world, that seems to have its own rules and to be run by very strong, independent women. Aunt Tootie is the president of the Historical Preservation Society, always busy saving something, and throwing beautiful garden parties for her friends. Oletta Jones, Aunt Tootie's cook and housekeeper, takes CeeCee under her wing and lovingly encourages her to be her own person. She meets Aunt Tootie's feuding neighbours, Miz Goodpepper who bathes outside, and Violene Hobbs who entertains the married police chief. All these women play a role in giving CeeCee a Southern education.

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is a beautiful, well written debut novel. It is told with Southern charm, wisdom, and humour. It transports the reader back to a simpler time and era. After reading this book, I wanted to live in Savannah and move in with Aunt Tootie too!

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