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Bound South: A Novel Paperback – February 10, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

White's wonderful debut charts the clash of Southern tradition with present-day issues from the perspective of three white females over the years of 1998–2008: Louise Parker, a frustrated, pampered matron living in an affluent Atlanta neighborhood; Caroline, her rebellious teenage daughter; and Missy Meadows, the young daughter of Louise's impoverished housekeeper, Faye. While Missy yearns to reconnect with her father who abandoned the family to become a preacher and Christian TV soap star, Caroline embarks on a scandalous affair during her senior year with Frederick Staunton, her high school drama teacher, and they run off to San Francisco. The relationship fizzles, but Caroline chooses not to come home; back in Georgia, Missy and Charles, Louise's gay son, make a fateful journey to Durham, N.C., to surprise Missy's father. White's wit and graceful prose yield sharp insights about family, friendship and faith in the ever-changing South. (Feb.)
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From Booklist

Louise Parker is a classic southern belle. Well-dressed and well-mannered, she can’t help but be frustrated by her daughter. Wild Caroline goes to a strict Christian prep school where she cheats in math class and can only focus on becoming an actress, until she has to leave after she’s discovered in flagrante delicto with her drama teacher. In the meantime Louise is distracted by Missy, the daughter of her housekeeper, a born-again evangelical who assists her mother in between trying to convert Louise’s gay son. Despite the consequences of Caroline’s behavior, Louise finds herself wishing she could be as careless and wondering how her life would have turned out had she chosen a different path. Even with their differences, Louise’s thoughts eventually lead her to believe that Caroline may be more of a southern dame and Louise more of a rebel than either of them thought. An elaborate, generation-spanning southern tale of family life in the vein of Rebecca Wells. --Hilary Hatton
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 345 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Original edition (February 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416558675
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416558675
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #452,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From the surprising twist that made me laugh out loud at the end of the first chapter, I knew that "Bound South" was about subverting the South's stereotypes. Here's a book that reveals the realities obscured by the carefully polished surfaces--the family secrets and scandals, the suppressed yearnings and emotions, the confidences trusted only to best friends. And yet this novel's characters feel "bound" by their Southern upbringings, which create a fascinating tension as they strive for greater possibilities in their lives.

The story switches back and forth between the first-person voices of three women: Louise Parker's creativity and individuality are hindered by the expectations of her as an affluent Southern matron. Louise quietly envies the greater freedom and opportunities open to her teenage daughter, Caroline, who seems overwhelmed by it all. And Louise's unexpected involvement in the life of Missy, her housekeeper's evangelical daughter, adds an "Upstairs, Downstairs" element to the tale.

"Bound South" is funny and charming, a compelling page-turner that's surprisingly moving towards the end. While it subverts the south's old pretenses, it also celebrates what's best in its changing culture.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Like the other reviewers, I did enjoy the book. The characters evolve over time and the author has a great grasp of what it is like to live in the South - the good and the improving. My only complaint (and it is a big one for me) is that the book ended abruptly. I was reading, waiting for some sort of denouement, and it just ended. I will read this author's next book, but I may read the end first. :)
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Format: Paperback
I loved this book!I really didn't want it to end. It was so fun and playful at times and at other's very real and meaningful. I laughed with Louise and Tiny and felt deep in my heart the struggles of Caroline to find herself. I felt like I had met some of the characters before and longed to know some of the others in real life. I loved the different looks at the women in this novel, each attempting to find herself in different stages of her life. You learn something about yourself, your mother and even your grandmother through watching these women evolve. I will share this book with the people that I care about; to share the beautiful complex picture of the South and the families in it that Susan White has so accurately reflected and enhanced for our enjoyment.
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Format: Paperback
There are two things I love. Reading new authors and southern fiction. I stumbled across this book online a couple months ago and was intrigued by its premise.

Louise is the mother of two children, living a cushy life in Atlanta with her lawyer husband and two children. Caroline is Louise's teenage daughter with a mind of her own. Missy is the young daughter of Louise's housekeeper who has her own ideas of how one should live their life. It's interesting to follow the lives of these three southern women through what becomes eight very important years in each of their lives.

As Louise's children are growing up, she realizes that her life is also changing. She begins to look back on the choices she has made, sometimes feeling regret. At the same time we learn a lot about her childhood and how she became the woman she is today. We meet Caroline when she is seventeen years old, very headstrong, thinking she has the world figured out. As the story unfolds we see her grow into a responsible adult and in her relationships even seemingly moving backward towards some of the patterns she used to criticize her mother for. Missy was very young when her father walked out on her and her mother without ever looking back. She always had the idea that one day he would come back and the bond between them would never again be broken. Missy's quest to find her dad is enlightening for her.

This is a book I enjoyed very much. Each cleverly titled chapter is written in the first person alternating between each of our three protagonists. This gives you a sense of who will be telling that part of the story. The year is also given to indicate how much time has passed since we last heard from them. This enables the story to move through time smoothly and without slow parts.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read and enjoyed A Place at the Table, I ordered this book. Same formula and same basic structure. The novel is spun together through the narratives of three different folks. Just as in A Place at the Table, the same themes recur. This book was interesting, and well crafted. However, it just went from 60 to 0 in the last chapter. Could definitely figure out the connection between the characters due to Louise's father's dalliance. But, it was never addressed to my satisfaction. The ruminations of the characters at the funeral luncheon just didn't belong in the book. Where were the editors? Suddenly we have a discussion on racism in the South. How did this tie together and bind the ending for the story? This didn't work for me. Oh well.
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Format: Paperback
Susan Rebecca White has instantly leapt to the top of the list of my favorite contemporary authors, and I eagerly await what gifts she may bring us in the future. What a wonderfully well written story of family, growth and life in the South by a strong new Southern voice that could easily belong to the lovechild of Clyde Edgerton and Anne Rivers Siddons! By bringing us Bound South, Susan Rebecca White joins the ranks of a wonderful company of witty, honest Southern writers.

From the opening pages of the book, I found myself at times deep in thought and at others in stitches. The characters are ALL so superbly developed and the story zips along so much that I found myself yearning for more at the close of the final chapter. The Parker family puts the "fun" back in dysfunctional, and Susan Rebecca White delivers a riotously funny, tenderly sincere first novel.
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