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on April 6, 2004
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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on March 10, 2001
... 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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on August 19, 2002
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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on March 9, 2000
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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on September 22, 2000
Olive Ann Burns has created (or recreated) a fictitious small town in rural Georgia set in naive 1906. A town where women are easily shocked--yet eagerly gossip about everyone else's business. Will, grandson of the town's leading store owner, relates his family misadventures and schoolboy pranks with candid humor. His vivid imagination and juvenile interpretation of adult motives provide a rollicking soap opera, for even as one chapter closes, there is a hint of trouble on the next page. Between those outlandish Blakeslees and those oddball Tweedys, the nonsense never ends in his crazy family. To the delight of readers of all ages!

Burns scatters a few sobering themes in this longer-than- average novel (not YA): Civil War prejudices flourish; town kids vs the lintheads from Milltown; pneumonia and primitive medical knowledge at the turn of the century. How much must one family endure in its embarrased but sincere attempt to honor the last wishes of a beloved relative? Yup, Cold Sassy (named for a vanished gove of Sasparilla trees) seems destined/doomed to an continous chain of social shocks--ever since Grandpa stunned his own family by announcing his decision to marry his milliner, Miss Love, just 3 scant weeks after Grandma's burial! It is hard to say which is more scandalized: the town or his own family...
Will is torn between loyalty to his Grandpa (You're the son I never had, boy) and his intermittant respect for his parents. He also tries to balance his desires to befriend a mill girl yet maintain his social standing with his peers. This hilarious story reveals the internal strategies and struggles of women at war in a restrictive society. Emotional upheavals abound as Grandpa sets prissy Cold Sassy on its ears, with his crazy notions of family propriety and how to conduct commerce. Can Will survive to grow up as his own man one day? Must he forget his dreams of a profitable farm in order to honor/obey Grandpa? And which boyhood treasures will he keep as an adult? This book is darling and would make a wonderful comic mini-series. Teenagers: don't be put off by the length--you'll wish it never ends!
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on March 16, 1997
As a high school teacher in rural Illinois, I am always on the look out for exciting new literature for my classroom. I stumbled upon COLD SASSY TREE while reading an article in ENGLISH JOURNAL, and decided to give it a try. I was touched by this book. It is lyric and not sappy, warm and not stuffy. To my great amazement, my freshman students consumed the thing whole. Some of the most reluctant readers in my class finished the entire novel in 48 hours.

Just about any platform is served by the storyline: gender issuses, death and dying, sexual abuse (non-graphic), love, coming-of-age, ageism, socio-economic issues,and family life. You name it, it's in there. I was concerned that some parents would be uptight about Love Simpson's history of abuse, and not one word was said. Some male students asked to read out in the hall, as they were teary-eyed at the end of the book.

Will Tweedy is a great character. He is an unreliable narrator who lies, listens in on private conversations, torments family members and falls for a girl from the other side of the tracks. My students all saw a little of themselves in him, good and bad.

COLD SASSY TREE is on the top shelf of my presonal library. I've owned two paperback copies of the sequel and my students have worn them both out. The school librarian finally bought aa couple of hard bound editions for the library.

A lovely novel all in all.
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on May 4, 2012
I loved the book but was so disappointed this edition did not have the photographs in it of the author's family on whom the story is based. I had read a paperback edition of Leaving Cold Sassy that I had checked out from our local library. when I saw this hardback edition that included both books in one, I thought surely it would have the photos that were in the paperback, and thought it would be great to have both books together under one binding. since this had no photographs at all, I went back to the library and they helped me make photograph quality copies of the photographs. I cut them to fit into the book and taped them in on the inside covers and blank pages and spaces. I just felt like it made the book so much more special to see the real life people that the characters were based on and to also see photographs of the author at various stages of her life and her husband.
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VINE VOICEon March 8, 2005
I love a good novel and I'm glad our bookclub chose this one. It's a humorous and touching story about life in the south.

I recommend it as much as I would "To Kill A Mockingbird".
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on February 24, 2000
Cold Sassy Tree, a novel written by Olive Ann Burns, is a very realistic and easy to read book. The characters are very real and entertaining in their everyday life. I liked this book because you feel like you are right there listing to the author tell you about the life of the main character. Also this story is easy to read and follow. There is never a dull moment and every chapter is filled with excitement and adventure. The story takes place on a farm where a young boy is forced to deal with his grandfather who does not follow the normal way of life that the other people in Cold Sassy do. As he grows older the boy learns that he is more like his grandfather than he thought. This boy now must make the decision to follow in the family business, or like his grandfather, follow a different path of life from those people in Cold Sassy. This book is filled with laughs and good times. The ending has an exciting unexpected twist that will leave the reader wanting to read the sequel, Leaving Cold Sassy.
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on March 5, 2011
This book has a few extra perks than the original cold sassy tree, but it's the same story. Cold Sassy is one of my favorite books. Wonderful story, compares to To Kill A Mockingbird, but definately funnier. If you already read Cold Sassy Tree, what you are getting with this book is Olive Ann Burns obituary and some bible quotes. I probably wouldn't have purchased "with connections" if I knew that. I was thinking this was an unabridged edition or an edition with extra chapters.

If you haven't read Cold Sassy Tree, I advise adding it to your library. But you can probably skip the "with connections" version.
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