The Goddess of Fried Okra Paperback – October 29, 2019
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"Wholly original, funny and poignant" #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs
"Stunning, powerful and raw. Pea is on a journey to heal herself, and find herself--and you will want to go with her to find her dear, dead sister--I do." New York Times bestselling author Stella Cameron
"A wonderfully engaging story of one woman's search for self. Jean Brashear tugs on your heartstrings and won't let go." New York Times bestselling author Julia London
"A fabulous read. Riveting. Original. Those characters grabbed my imagination and didn't let go." New York Times bestselling author Cathy Maxwell
"Jean Brashear's distinctive storytelling voice instantly draws in the reader. She writes with warmth and emotional truth." #1 NY Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber
"The Goddess of Fried Okra is a poignant journey of one woman's search for a place to belong. The characters are as delightful and engaging as can be found between the pages of a book, and the book itself is a road map to happiness--something for which everybody yearns." New York Times bestselling author Sharon Sala
"With characters full of heart...and vinegar, Jean Brashear takes us on a road trip through the back doors of modern life. And we get to read every hilarious marker on the way." USAToday bestselling author Pamela Morsi
"This is an inspiring and touching story of a grieving woman's journey to finding herself and the true meaning of family. Brashear writes with humor and compassion. There are subtle lessons to be learned while you enjoy a well-written and interesting story." Romantic Times Book Reviews
"The Goddess of Fried Okra is not a romance, although it has a sexy con man in the process of reform (and a great love scene); it's women's fiction with the requisite journey of self-discovery. But this is not your conventional WF story of the divorced wife, the patient facing death, or the rebel coming home. I'm not much for high concept descriptions, but I'd say TGOFO is Eudora Welty meets Sue Monk Kidd and they lunch with Fannie Flagg.
When I first heard the title The Goddess of Fried Okra, I was intrigued. When I realized Jean Brashear, whose emotionally rich, character-driven books I have loved for years, was the author, I added it to my 2010 must-read list. Reading it was even better than my expectations. When I learned a few pages into the story that A Wrinkle in Time and the poetry of Mary Oliver were among the books Pea carried in the trunk of her car, I knew I had encountered a kindred spirit. I loved this book with its endearing eccentrics, its poignancy, its humor, and is distinctly Southern accent. I even loved the chapter titles and signpost epigrams. It's redundant at this point to say The Goddess of Fried Okra got an A from me (but I said it anyway). It's on bookshelves now. Rush out today and buy a copy, and reserve a goodly block of time for reading. This is one you'll want to savor." Just Janga reviews
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I figured I'd like the book, but, I didn't know I'd love it and the narrator so much! All of the characters were likeable, even when they were behaving unlikeable or unreasonable (because that's what real people do)--and that makes for interesting people to watch and follow. If you engage me in the character(s), I will follow them anywhere, and that's just what I did - followed Pea and the people she met along the way towards her journey to "find her sister."
I loved Pea's vulnerability mixed with strength, the way she doubted herself but then rose up and kicked arse when she needed to. I loved that she felt gawky at times, but also knew her power as a woman. She'd be someone I'd want on my side, as a friend. I loved the little Texas town, and I loved that the characters sometimes surprised me even when they were doing predictable things that shouldn't surprise me!
I so much enjoyed this book - and had a lot of fun reading it. At the end, I wanted more pages, just to see what Pea would do next, but the ending satisfied me enough to where I could "close the book" and heave up a sigh of happy.
If I had one teeny thing I wanted at the end, just one itty-bit of a thing - I wanted to know what happened to Isis-- I assume she's just fine and snoozing in some corner, but I'd have liked to have had one last something said about her at the end -- a small thing, after all (and I may have missed something -wouldn't be the first time! I think I'll go read the ending again and see if she's there after all!).
Oh, and I sure do want some cinnamon toast and fried okra something fierce now! :-D
All in all, a fun, delightful, engaging read with characters I grew to love and care for.
As much as I enjoyed the story, I can understand the negative reviews...this probably isn't a book for everyone. But anyone who has lost themselves in gritty Southern literature (Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams and the like) should certainly enjoy this read.
Ultimately, the story is about being strong, about learning to trust, and about finding your family, whatever form it may take. Brashear does a good job of keeping things moving, and has a deft touch with characterization. Just when you think the whole thing is going to morph into a Hallmark Moment, she brings in another twist.
This one gets four stars and is well worth the read.
But..if the author wrote a sequel to Fried Okra, I'd be the first in line to buy it.