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Saving CeeCee Honeycutt: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Beth Hoffman
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,040 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $10.99
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Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

Read Beth Hoffman's blogs and other content on the Penguin Community.

Steel Magnolias meets The Help in this Southern debut novel sparkling with humor, heart, and feminine wisdom

Twelve-year-old CeeCee Honeycutt is in trouble. For years, she has been the caretaker of her psychotic mother, Camille-the tiara-toting, lipstick-smeared laughingstock of an entire town-a woman trapped in her long-ago moment of glory as the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen. But when Camille is hit by a truck and killed, CeeCee is left to fend for herself. To the rescue comes her previously unknown great-aunt, Tootie Caldwell.

In her vintage Packard convertible, Tootie whisks CeeCee away to Savannah's perfumed world of prosperity and Southern eccentricity, a world that seems to be run entirely by women. From the exotic Miz Thelma Rae Goodpepper, who bathes in her backyard bathtub and uses garden slugs as her secret weapons, to Tootie's all-knowing housekeeper, Oletta Jones, to Violene Hobbs, who entertains a local police officer in her canary-yellow peignoir, the women of Gaston Street keep CeeCee entertained and enthralled for an entire summer.

Laugh-out-loud funny and deeply touching, Beth Hoffman's sparkling debut is, as Kristin Hannah says, "packed full of Southern charm, strong women, wacky humor, and good old-fashioned heart." It is a novel that explores the indomitable strengths of female friendship and gives us the story of a young girl who loses one mother and finds many others.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hoffman's debut, a by-the-numbers Southern charmer, recounts 12-year-old Cecelia Rose Honeycutt's recovery from a childhood with her crazy mother, Camille, and cantankerous father, Carl, in 1960s Willoughby, Ohio. After former Southern beauty queen Camille is struck and killed by an ice cream truck, Carl hands over Cecelia to her great-aunt Tootie. Whisked off to a life of privilege in Savannah, Ga., Cecelia makes fast friends with Tootie's cook, Oletta, and gets to know the cadre of eccentric women who flit in and out of Tootie's house, among them racist town gossip Violene Hobbs and worldly, duplicitous Thelma Rae Goodpepper. Aunt Tootie herself is the epitome of goodness, and Oletta is a sage black woman. Unfortunately, any hint of trouble is nipped in the bud before it can provide narrative tension, and Hoffman toys with, but doesn't develop, the idea that Cecelia could inherit her mother's mental problems. Madness, neglect, racism and snobbery slink in the background, but Hoffman remains locked on the sugary promise of a new day. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Momma always told CeeCee (short for Cecelia Rose) that “being in the North isn’t living—it’s absolute hell.” Of course, having to live with Momma—Camille Sugarbaker Honeycutt, that is, Vidalia Onion Queen, 1951—doesn’t make it any more heavenly, especially when Momma starts standing in the front yard blowing kisses to passersby. You know this is going to end badly, and so it does, when the erstwhile onion queen is run over by a speeding Happy Cow Ice Cream Truck. Before you can say “sweet magnolia blossoms,” 12-year-old CeeCee is sent off to Savannah to live with her elderly great aunt, Tallulah Caldwell, and her wise African American housekeeper and cook, Oletta. It being 1967, you know there will be one dark episode of racial hatred, but it’s quickly—and conveniently—resolved offstage, leaving all the characters free to continue being relentlessly eccentric, upbeat, sweet as molasses, and living, as CeeCee puts it with a straight face, “in a breezy, flower-scented fairy tale . . . a strange, perfumed world that . . . seemed to be run entirely by women.” Light as air but thoroughly pleasant reading. --Michael Cart

Product Details

  • File Size: 819 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (January 12, 2010)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0030CVQMG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,053 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
277 of 289 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Future of Southern Fiction Is In Good Hands December 3, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Cecelia(Cee-Cee)Honeycutt is a twelve year old girl tending her mentally ill mother in Ohio when the mother is suddenly, violently killed. The absentee father sends broken-hearted, emotionally exhausted, Cee-Cee off to abide with a great-aunt in Savannah, GA. Eccentric characters, including a black cook, Oletta, who conjures recipes for Cee-Cee's heart as well as stomach, funny neighbors who bring the joy of laughter back to Cee-Cee, and Aunt Tootie who loves Cee-Cee towards wellness alight off the pages of this bittersweet tale.

Beth Hoffman concocts the essence of southern fiction....loquacious descriptions that send the floral arrays right into the nostrils of the reader; imaginative, inventive similes that conjure images not soon forgotten; characters rich with amusing antics and life-earned wisdom.

I loved this book; I loved it because it is believable without being so depressing I want to slit my wrists. It is truthful in its ugliness, yet hopeful in its general belief that life holds a plethora of promise.

Beautiful writing, Ms. Hoffman, and may you have many, many more successes as this book is destined to be.
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111 of 123 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This One Was Definitely Worth Five Stars December 2, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I don't give many five star reviews, but Beth Hoffman has a five star book (for sure!) with Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. The story opens with CeeCee (actually Cecilia) desperately trying to handle her mother's slow descent into madness. The writing grips you from the first line. I love books that grab my interest right away. The story is tragic at times, hilarious at others. If you love Southern fiction, this will be a favorite. This book reminded me of Cold Rock River or of Fair and Tender Ladies, also two of my favorites. I don't read many books over again, but I will this one. This is a great book to curl up with by the fire this winter, or to take on that long plane ride. But don't start it late in the day unless you want to be sitting up all night reading. It's that good. Really.
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61 of 73 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not entirely certain what the hoopla is about.... February 26, 2010
I've been hearing about this book an awful lot lately. Numerous friends and family whose book opinions I highly value recommended this book, so I couldn't wait to sit down and read it.

Perhaps the anticipation ruined it for me, but I kept waiting (and waiting and waiting) to get to the "good part." It never happened for me.

This isn't a bad novel by any means. For me, though, it was an entirely predictable, somewhat boring book. Yes, the characters are cute and I liked all of them, but there were no enlightening moments, no huge epiphany, nothing striking at all. A decent story, but not a great one that will stay with me forever (I think it stayed with me for all of 30 minutes...the time it took me to start another novel).

Many people have already reiterated the story line here: orphaned girl taken in by a cute cast of distant relatives who raise her and give her the love she deserves. I won't bore you with that. I'll just say that if you tend to be susceptible to building up expectations for a novel, be careful here and don't expect a Pulitzer winner. Rather, expect a cutesy, warm, feel-good type novel (there are lots of them out there) and you'll likely get more enjoyment out of it than I did.

Happy reading!
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Superficial February 10, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
First off, I really wanted to like this book, I really, really did. I love Southern literature. I live in the South, I love the South, Southern born and bred, through and through. But I could not give this book more than 3 stars, and even that was stretch. It's an ok read, but it is NOT The Help, and if you're looking for that, you will not find it with this story.

First of all, her main character, CeeCee, is 12 years old, but you would never gather that impression from the way she speaks. Her voice is way too mature for her age, but yet overall you have to wonder if the author is trying to speak as a 12 year old girl, and failing, or if she is writing to 12 year old girls and that this book should not be considered adult fiction, but teen/young adult. I don't think she really ever grasped who her audience was going to be.

And the characters never developed. Throughout the entire book, I could never gather a picture of CeeCee, I could never see her to imagine her in the situations she was placed and because of that there was never a connection to her. I could picture Oletta (the housekeeper), and I vaguely could see Aunt Tootie, the neighbors, Ms. Goodpepper and Ms. Hobbs, I could even vaguely imagine her mother, Camille. But never CeeCee.

In addition, the storyline never developed. It didn't flow smoothly, it was choppy and very amateur. Southern novels are known for quirky characters, funny situations and heartgrasping storylines, this was an effort to combine all of those qualities and create a story that is complimentary to The Secret Life of Bees and The Help. And I think there was a good story in there somewhere, it just never got written.

I didn't hate this book, but I cannot recommend it to others because it was a struggle to actually finish it. It was superficial; it had surface but no depth.
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132 of 163 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars so-so December 15, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was a little disappointed by this book. I enjoyed reading about Cece's adventures in her new life in Savannah but I felt like there was something missing. The first few chapters of the book explain about the troubled home life Cece endures, and then Aunt Tootie arrives to save the day. I understand that the author wanted to get the plotline rolling, but I felt like the tragedies in Cece's life were a little pat and airbrushed. Along those same lines, her new life with Tootie and Oletta seemed too good to be true. Other than a little hiccup during a day at the beach, Cece's life is just a never ending story of new clothes, a beautiful and luxurious home and lifestyle, surrounded by love. Now, I understand that this was the point of the book, but at the same time I did not really feel like Cece overcame much to get there and it was just too much of a "storybook" ending lifestyle. Truly too good to be true. Nothing against happy endings, but I need a little more on the way there.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! My favorite book
Excellent! My favorite book! I reread it every year! Great for all ladies 12 and up. Too bad Nora Ephron isn't here-this needs to be made into a movie!!!!!
Published 20 hours ago by cathi judd
5.0 out of 5 stars I LOVED this book
I LOVED this book. It was a well told story that was hopeful and inspiring. I would recommend this book to anyone!
Published 23 hours ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great Book!!
Published 3 days ago by J.G.
2.0 out of 5 stars A familiar Southern fantasy
While her father is away, Cecelia Rose Honeycutt is trapped with her mentally ill mother. At school, she's mocked for having a crazy mom; at home, she cooks and cleans and does... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Suzi Hough
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
It was an easy read.
Published 4 days ago by Pat McKinney
3.0 out of 5 stars CeeCee is magically rescued and nothing really bad happens to her
After a troubling beginning to her childhood, CeeCee is magically rescued and nothing really bad happens to her. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Loving CeeCee!
Delightful book. Easy read. Women's favorite. I forgot about the nasty weather outside & laughed & laughed & laughed.
Published 6 days ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars A quick fun read
I enjoyed the Savannah setting most of all. CeeCee is a likeable character who has troubles beyond those of most adolescent girls. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Sarah Schnute
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting subject matter
I liked how the author showed how a parents mental state effects their children's life and how God turned a tragic incidence into a glorious outcome
Published 15 days ago by Cynthia Moehlman
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Awesome book
Published 21 days ago by Bobbie
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More About the Author

Twelve days after Beth Hoffman's first novel was published, she became a New York Times bestselling author with foreign rights selling to publishers in Italy, Germany, France, Poland, Norway, Hungary, Indonesia, Korea, Israel, and the United Kingdom.

Before beginning her writing career, Beth was the president and co-owner of an interior design studio. An artist as well as an award-winning designer, her paintings are displayed in private and corporate collections in the United States, Canada, and the UK.

Beth's interests include the rescue of abandoned and abused animals, nature conservancy, birding, historic preservation, and antiquing. She lives, along with her husband and two very smart cats, in a quaint historic district in Northern Kentucky.

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