Automotive Holiday Deals Books Gift Guide Books Gift Guide Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon $5 Albums egg_2015 Fire TV Stick Grocery Martha Stewart American Made Amazon Gift Card Offer minions minions minions  Amazon Echo Starting at $84.99 Kindle Black Friday Deals BestoftheYear Shop Now HTL

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

Showing 1-10 of 73 reviews(5 star).Show all reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2010
From the first sentence, Backseat Saints is a grab onto a live wire I couldn't let go of until I reached the last page. The day sweet, perfect Ro Grandee spots the tarot cards tumbling to the floor in front of an airport gypsy is the day realizes that her beautiful, abusive husband is going to be the death of her.

Ro gets a gun and begins to dig deep for the tough, smart-mouthing girl she once was, Rosa Mae Lolly, the girl who can save her own life, that same Rose Mae who dated the infamous Jim Beverly in Jackson's popular novel, GODS IN ALABAMA.

Racing from her relentless husband Thom, Rosa Mae runs looking for her disappeared high school boyfriend Jim, and then her long-lost mother to help find a way to finish off the man who both loves her and wants to murder her, running for her life from Texas to California by way of Alabama. She revisits her bruised-up childhood and knocked-around marriage to understand her flat out run toward a terrifying future before she finally lets herself love and trust.

I tend to shy from a dark subject like abuse in my entertainments, but Jackson's Rose is funny and smart, flawed and confused in a way that inspires compassion. She is messed up in the ordinary way many of us find ourselves in, and who wouldn't be, when every important person in Rose's life either abused or abandoned her? It was satisfying to watch her unravel her life and her choices and put the pieces back together in way that leads to the hope of a happy future.

Jackson's amusing wit, sharp characterizations and lovely use of language make Rose's moving and suspenseful story a joy to read.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 3, 2010
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Backseat Saints is the story of 3 women - Rose Mae Lolley, Ro Grandee and Ivey Rose - the twist is that they are all within one woman. No, she's not schizophrenic. Each of the personas represents a different piece of herself. Rose Mae is the girl from Alabama whose mother left her to grow up alone with an abusive, alcoholic father. Ro Grandee is the beautiful, perfect wife of Thom who likes to take out his anger with his fists and uses her as the punching bag. Ivey Rose is the woman who has reached her breaking point and is on the run from her husband and her past. Rose is, like most of us, a mixture of all three and constantly at war with herself over which is the "right" one. Her husband's abuse finally forces her hand and she has to run back home. Returning to Fruiton, Alabama also means facing the father she had left behind and the memories of a mother who left her alone. It's not the same old abused woman trying to rebuild her life story. It is fresh and different and the plot is always twisting so you never know what to expect.
This novel was truly gripping. I finished it in about a day's time. Rose is a character that you can really identify with. The descriptions of her inner struggles are so vivid - the feelings she has for her husband, her fear of leaving him, the pain of her mother leaving her and the memories of her love for a boy in high school. It's like listening to a friend pour her heart out. You feel like you understand why she's done the things she has and you want to help her as she struggles to find a better life. You see yourself in her at times.
I have been a fan of Joshilyn Jackson's since gods in Alabama. She is a wonderful writer. Her descriptive powers amaze me. At one point in the book, she is writing about Rose's trip across the country in search of her mother. The line reads, "Desert air whirled through the car in a constant cyclone, catching up our hair and rifling through it, blowing all the Alabama off our skins." The words actually transport you to that car and that moment with Rose. I love it.
In case you couldn't tell, I would highly recommend this book to fans of women's fiction or Southern fiction. It's a great book from a very talented author.
33 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2010
Whether or not you've read GODS IN ALABAMA, this book will grab you from the start and make you want to go find out all about Arlene Fleet as soon as you finish discovering Rose Mae Lolley. I must admit that I've been a fan for years, but this book sparkles and shines with voice, plot, wit, and insight into why women stay--what holds them there or pulls them back--and, truly, why we all have some sort of "Thom Grandee" in our lives whether it's cigarettes, food, stress, or an actual person. Great author. Great read.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
You will remember Rose Mae Lolley from Jackson's stunning debut, GODS IN ALABAMA (2005). A minor character in GODS (the high school girlfriend of the unfortunate football god, Jim Beverly), Rose Mae is back as the main character in BACKSEAT SAINTS, along with her alter-egos, Mrs. Ro Grandee and Ivy Rose Wheeler (all one-and-the-same, in a surprisingly complex and multi-layered plot).

Mrs. Ro Grandee of Amarillo, Texas, at the warning of a mysterious fortune teller, has finally had enough of her bad-boy husband's physical abuse. After an aborted attempt at cold-blooded murder, the second-generation battered wife runs, intending to find freedom with the assumed identity of her neighbor's long-dead baby, Ivy Rose Wheeler. Before she can take on life as Ivy Rose, Rose Mae travels back to Fruiton, Alabama to confront her alcoholic, abusive father and then sets out on the trail of the mother who ran away and abandoned her when she was eight years old...

Did you get all that?

With her unique southern blend of pathos and wit, and her trademark outrageously original characters, Jackson crochets a bright lace doily of humor over very serious, decidedly non-funny, subjects: domestic abuse, alcoholism, abandonment, split personality and a host of other mental health issues. Like a modern-day Flannery O'Connor, somehow Joshilyn Jackson makes it all work and the effort is spectacular.

-- Sherri Caldwell, Humor Columnist & Reviewer at [...]
Co-Author, The Rebel Housewife Rules: To Heck With Domestic Bliss!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2010
Ro was a good Southern Catholic girl, and she took her husband's punches until the day she met the airport gypsy. That gypsy told her that if she did not kill her husband, her husband would kill her.
Ro's drunk of a father had taught her how to use a gun. She had her grandfather's gun. However, her aim is not as good as it used to be; she shot her dog's leg off.
She goes back to acting as the good, dutiful wife. Her pompous father-in-law will even give her husband a raise if she spits out a baby. He suggests that she get her "Catholic bits" checked out. Surely, his son was not "shooting blanks".
With the prompting of the nurses, neighbors, and a few more punches, Ro escapes. She makes the escape of going backwards through her past to "find herself". Will he find her? Can she find solace with her mother who abandoned her or her drunken father? What about the prince charming of her past?
The ending caused me to grip Backseat Saints until my fingers went numb. This is an emotionally taxing book that has enough witty sarcasm sprinkled throughout to not weigh down the characters. Joshilyn Jackson has a God-given talent to fluidly weave a plot and expertly develop characters.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 7, 2010
I loved Gods in Alabama, Joshilyn Jackson's first novel that was published in 2004, featuring Arlene Fleet, a girl who left her Southern roots for the Windy City, bargaining with God to keep her secrets safe. Now, in 2010, Jackson has returned telling the story of a minor character from Gods, Rose Mae Lolly. Rose Mae's abusive husband seems to be an extension of her childhood and the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father. Rose Mae's mother left her family when Rose was only eight, and Rose has had her eyes out for her mother ever since, along with her ex-boyfriend, Jim Beverly (a character in Gods in Alabama). Thom, Rose Mae's husband has a great deal of anger in him, and isn't afraid to use Rose Mae as his punching bag. When Rose Mae has her fortune read by a woman she believes to be her mother, she knows she must choose to save her own life, or lose it by staying with her husband.

Today I finally had a chance to sit and read for a long while without being interrupted. I fell in love with Jackson's writing all over again, laughing out loud at the way she is able to use similes and metaphors in her writing.

Just a couple of examples:
"I'd thought Clarice's smile was both too dim and friendly and too wide and white, so that she looked to me like the love child of a cannibal and a Labrador retriever (157)."

"She'd smiled at me, and the skin around her eyes had looked like ancient paper, so folded and creased that it might have been used to make a hundred different origami cranes (24)."
I loved Rose Mae Lolly and all of Jackson's characters. I also loved that Rose Mae was introduced in Gods in Alabama, and Backseat Saints is an extension of that book. I now want to go back and re-read Gods just to be able to recall that story, instead of having five years time in-between the two.
Even the cover of Backseat Saints is beautiful. Women's fiction fans, book clubs....Backseat Saints is a great book for many readers.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2010
Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson grabs your attention from the get go and doesn't turn you loose till the very end, I became obsessed with needing to know how Rose May/ Ivey Rose would wrap up her miserable marriage.
This book is about three people Rose Mae Lolley, a young girl who leaves Alabama she is suppressed by Ms. Ro Grandee, a Texas housewife that had the unfortunate misfortune to marry a wife beater, and Ivey Rose Wheeler, the person who finally decides to leave. These three people are the same person, the different personas of one woman who has been abused in some form or other for most of her life.
This story gives us a hard look at domestic violence. Ro Grandee did what she needed to survive. She is witty charming very smart and funny. There were several laugh out loud moments in this book. I found myself rooting for her and urging her on when she shot at her husband and then finally left him. Rose Mae and Gretel ( her three legged dog) has a way of getting into your heart and head, long after I had finished listening to this book I still think about them.
This book was very pleasant to listen to, the dialect was very homey and really added to the story, I felt like I was listening to an old friend tell me her story.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2010
This is the best book by a current female author that I have read in YEARS. Written from a woman's viewpoint, focussed on women's issues, with only the female characters really fleshed out, Jackson's dry wit and keen observations make this an enjoyable read for everyone. While dealing with the very serious issue of Spouse Abuse, this novel somehow manages to balance laughs with pathos while creating a unique fiction sub-genre : Catholic Southern Gothic. Read the book and you'll see what I mean.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2010
After being abandoned as a young girl by her abused mother, Rose Mae Lolley is raised by her hard-drinking father who teaches her to be an expert shot and turns his fists on her as a replacement for her mother. As years pass by, Rose Mae has given up hope that her mother will return to their Alabama home, but she has held on to her mother's Catholic practice of invoking the intercession of saints in times of need. Teenager Rose Mae is a beauty --- and a handful. She wants to escape the cycle of violence and shame, but she has nowhere to go.

The day after Rose Mae turns 18, she finds her courage. She packs her bags, empties her daddy's wallet, steals his whiskey money, and takes her Pawpy's pistol. She hops on a Greyhound bus and works her way west as a waitress.

While working at a restaurant in Texas, she catches the eye of handsome college football player Thom Grandee, whose puffy-bangs-wearing co-ed date delights in berating and embarrassing her. When Thom discovers Rose Mae trying to get even with his date, he goes along with her mischief. The attraction between Thom and Rose Mae begins, and it's not long before the pretty and shapely waitress trades her uniform for a wedding ring. After her marriage, Alabama-born Rose Mae Lolley becomes Ro Grandee --- Texas housewife, part-time cashier in Thom's father's gun store, and a punching bag for her abusive husband.

After almost five years of marriage, in spite of regular trips to the emergency room with broken bones and being forced to wear long sleeves in the hot Texas summer to hide her bruises, Ro refuses to divorce Thom. It's not because she loves him; he has threatened to kill her if she ever tries to leave. Isolated and friendless, except for her dog Fat Gretel and elderly neighbor Mrs. Fancy, Ro is resigned to her fate. However, her fate changes the day she drops off Mrs. Fancy at the airport and runs into an exotic-looking gypsy. During a tarot card reading, the gypsy warns Ro that if she does not kill her husband right away, he will end her life.

In BACKSEAT SAINTS, New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson (GODS IN ALABAMA) captures the essence of isolation, anger and despair of victims of abuse. Quirky characters, snappy dialogue and touches of humor combine to make Jackson's latest a compelling story about abuse, sacrifice, love and redemption.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 11, 2010
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The story begins when Ro Grandee's attempt to kill her abusive husband goes dreadfully awry; but, of course, things were going wrong long before that. Maybe it started with the gypsy woman in the airport who gave her a hasty tarot card reading. Or, maybe, it started long, long before that, when her mother left the family and her father became an abuser. Ro (Rosa Mae) is a gutsy, spirited woman with a lot of baggage, high libido, and the sure knowledge that sooner or later, her husband will kill her.

Author Joshilyn Jackson tells the story in a dense, stream-of-consciousness style, with frequent flash-backs and flash-forwards, that takes a little concentration in the initial chapters. She portrays the internal world of an abuse victim in a rich, captivating manner, with layers of small town Southern culture, mangled catholicism, half-baked occultism, and a hint of magic realism. It makes for an intoxicating brew. Once I got hooked into the story I stayed up past midnight to finish it.

So, will Ro survive or will her husband murder her? Will she ever find happiness? Will she find her mother? Will she find her high school sweetie who disappeared before graduation and was never heard from again? Good questions, and you'll have to read the book to find the answers. And you should. I enjoyed this book immensely and I recommend it highly. Reviewed by Louis N. Gruber.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Customers who viewed this also viewed
A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty: A Novel
A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty: A Novel by Joshilyn Jackson (Paperback - September 25, 2012)

Gods in Alabama
Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson (Paperback - June 1, 2006)

Between, Georgia
Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson (Hardcover - July 3, 2006)

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.