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Cold Sassy Tree Paperback – June 1, 1986

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperback; Reprint edition (July 1, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038531258X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385312585
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (572 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #896,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Rich with emotion, humor and tenderness." The Washington Post

"One of the best portraits of small-town Southern life ever written." --Pat Conroy

"One beautiful book. Better than To Kill A Mockingbird." --Shirley Abbott
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

If the preacher's wife's petticoat showed, the ladies would make the talk last a week. But on July 5, 1906, things took a scandalous turn. That was the day E. Rucker Blakeslee, proprietor of the general store and barely three weeks a widower, eloped with Miss Love Simpson -- a woman half his age and, worse yet, a Yankee! On that day, fourteen-year-old Will Tweedy's adventures began and an unimpeachably pious, deliciously irreverent town came to life. Not since To Kill A Mockingbird has a novel so deftly captured the subtle crosscurrents of small-town Southern life. Olive Ann Burns classic bestseller brings to vivid life an era that will never exist again, exploring timeless issues of love, death, coming of age, and the ties that bind families and generations.

Customer Reviews

This book will make you laugh and cry at the same time!
Emelia Grady
It is very well-written; the characters are intriguing; the story so sweet and funny and moving.
Nancy Heatherly
I loved this book as it carried me back to the early 1900's and a small town in Georgia.
Linda Knight

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

114 of 121 people found the following review helpful By Peggy Vincent on April 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
Who can fail to love this wonderful novel, full of warmth, humor, and honesty, of life in a small, turn-of-the-century Georgia town. Told by Will Tweedy, a 14yo child whose Grandpa Rucker forms the spine of the novel. The story begins with the death of Grandpa Rucker's wife, a saintly woman beloved by all, and there's a lovely scene of Grandpa asking his grandson to cut all the roses from the garden and help him stick them into burlap sacking to make a blanket of roses under which to bury his wife.
After that touching scene, readers - not to mention family members and townsfolk and church people - are shocked to find Grandpa marrying Miss Love, the town's young and beautiful milliner less than a month later. And it's suspected that Miss Love has A Past.
A beautiful coming-of-age story unfolds as Will becomes the confidante of Miss Love and his grandfather, and he learns life-changing lessons about love, life, death, and the meaning of true reverence, and the smallness of some minds.
Wonderful, memorable characters, wonderful life lessons, wonderful set pieces. And absolutely top-notch dialogue.
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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
... I was required to read this book in school. Being biased against the tedious, coming-of-age novels that always seem to find themselves on my reading list for English class, I immediately labeled Cold Sassy Tree under the "dragging, bland, slow-moving" category. My viewpoints have changed since then. Cold Sassy Tree is a fast-paced, interesting novel about the coming-of-age of a fourteen-year-old boy named Will, who grows up in Cold Sassy, Georgia. A major family conflict sets off the cruel, small-town gossipers of Cold Sassy in the beginning of the book. As the books progresses, several smaller plots take place, which support the theme and thus complicate the story. There are some points in the novel where it seems that Will's family's reputation has gone to the dogs. In the end, however, everything works out and Will learns lessons about life, love, and dignity. For the romantic, Cold Sassy Tree covers the acceptnace of so-called "odd couples." For the religious, Cold Sassy Tree questions theological issues. And for teenage boys also coming of age, Cold Sassy Tree views life from the eyes of a fourteen-year-old (as well as comments on the opposite sex).
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Sonja Koehler on August 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
I read this book for school over the summer. Now that I've finished, I am so happy it was assigned. This was one of those books that you miss when your done reading.
It takes place in the small town of Cold Sassy, Georgia in the early 1900s. The story is told by a 14 year old boy who has recently lost his best friend and his grandmother. Three weeks after his grandma's death his Grandfather announces that he is going to marry a young woman who is half his age. The family is embarrassed and the town is shocked. After almost a year the town and family starts to accept her the way she accepted them.
I wrote this review as a response to other reviews that I read on the site. Frankly, I was outraged by what some people had to say about this book. Someone claimed that the Grandfather raped his granddaughter and one of the boys friends raped his own sister. I don't know what version he read but that was not at all a part of the story!!! The woman the grandfather married tells that she was raped as a child but that was the only raping that went on in the book, and it was needed to explain why she was so afraid of marring and men. Another person said that a child getting whipped is "HORRIFYING" but that was part of the culture back then. People do not agree with it now but back then it happened all the time. There was also a touch of racism in the plot but again it was needed so that Olive Burns could accurately portray southern life in the early 20th. century.
This book was a joy to read and I cannot wait to get the 2nd. part Leaving Cold Sassy. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
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57 of 64 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
For anyone who read books like To Kill a Mockingbird, or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and enjoyed them, I would suggest reading the national bestseller Cold Sassy Tree. This novel takes place in Cold Sassy, Goergia, in 1906. The town is slow-moving, and prejudice like Maycomb County in To Kill a Mockingbird. The story unfolds as Will Tweedy's, the main character,beloved grandmother dies. Scandal errupts when, only three weeks later, Will's granfather elopes with Miss love Simpson. The town cannot believe that he has married a "yankee" just after his wife's death. The major conflict of the story is between Miss Simpson and Will's family and town as to whether or not they can accept her taking grandma's place. But the important, underlying conflict of this book is if granpa can move on with his life, find love again, and find someway to convince the people of the town that Miss Love Simpson isn't the cold-hearted person they think she is. This book is seen through the eyes of Will Tweedy, a 14 year old boy growing up in a southern town, so, although the words are simple, there is a deeper message about love, death, feelings, and morals. I also learned a lot about southern life through this book. All in all, Cold Sassy Tree was a great book that I would reccommend to anyone. It discussed how much death can change a life forever. Read it! I guarantee you'll enjoy it.
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