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Looking for Me Hardcover – May 28, 2013
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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Theodora Teddie Overman runs a successful antiques shop, filling her days with restoration projects and buying trips. But she’s having a hard time filling the hole in her heart left by her younger brother, who ran away from home and disappeared at age 17—now presumed dead—to live in the wilderness. Teddie was never close to her family, having left home shortly after high-school graduation, determined to make it in the antiques world rather than attend the boring secretarial school her mother had in mind. Now in her midthirties, Teddie misses the chance to reconcile with her estranged mother and becomes obsessed with finding her brother after all these years. Along the way, she finds love and comes to terms with her childhood. Hoffman has a good ear for dialogue, and Teddie and her friends are realistic, appealing characters. Perfect for fans of family-centered women’s fiction, this book will have special appeal to readers interested in antiques and shabby chic style. --Rebecca Vnuk
"Hoffman's novel of a woman putting the pieces of her family's secrets together combines a deep dramatic impact with Southern charm."
"Hoffman has a good ear for dialogue, and Teddie and her friends are realistic, appealing characters. Perfect for fans of family-centered women’s fiction, this book will have special appeal to readers interested in antiques and 'shabby chic' style."
Praise for Saving CeeCee Honeycutt:
“Anyone in need of a Southern-girl-power fix will find [Saving CeeCee Honeycutt] engaging.”
“A peach of a novel.”
—Ladies’ Home Journal
“SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTT is an absolutely delightful debut novel packed full of Southern charm, strong women, wacky humor, and good old-fashioned heart. From the moment you first step into young CeeCee's unique world, you'll never want to leave.”
—Kristin Hannah, bestselling author of Home Front and Night Road
“This book unfolds like a lush southern garden, blooming with vivid characters, beauty, and surprises.”
—Kim Edwards, bestselling author of The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
“I barely stopped laughing, even as my heart broke and broke again for CeeCee . . . Beth Hoffman has written her heart out in this novel that will clearly be the first of many.”
“Charming, disarming, sweet as the scent of magnolias on a Southern summer night.”
“A Southern charmer.”
“Exemplifying Southern storytelling at its best, this coming-of-age novel is sure to be a hit with the book clubs that adopted Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees.”
—Library Journal (starred review)
Top customer reviews
Teddi's family is broken in ways Teddi doesn't understand. Teddi's mother is perennially unhappy and disapproving of everything Teddi does or dreams of, but Teddi loves her mother and strives to win her love and approval.
A major element of the story is the disappearance of her younger brother, Josh, when he was still a teenager. Teddi cannot bring herself to believe that her beloved brother is dead, and so is constantly searching for proof that he is still alive.
Ultimately, what Teddi is trying to do is "find" and "restore" the family she longs for. In the mean time, Teddi forms a sort of "surrogate" family for herself in the loving and supportive friends she meets on her journey.
I enjoyed this book on several levels. The characters were believable and likable, but not too perfect. The "mystery" of Josh's disappearance is deftly handled and keeps the reader guessing right up to the end. There is also a little romance thrown in for good measure. The furniture restoration is described in just enough detail to be interesting, but not boring. In fact, it's one of those books that makes furniture restoration look really fun and exciting, like, hey! I could do that!
Beth Hoffman is a very talented writer and I will be keeping a close watch for more of her wonderful stories in the future.
1st, let me give you a quick rundown of Looking for Me. Teddi Overman grows up in Kentucky and finds herself as a young girl with a passion for fixing beat-up furniture. In fact, while selling a restored piece at the end of the road leading to her house, she runs across a buyer that will change her life. She ultimately ends up working in an antique store in Charleston, South Carolina. After a number of years, and in a very roundabout way, she ends up owning the store. Now, normally, I wouldn't give away a plotline that turns up a good part of the way into a book. In this case, though, the drama centers on personal relationships, both with family as well as with friends, mentors, and even foes. It's the journey (I know from the Bachelor/Bachelorette that "journey" is a very overused word), not the destination, that matters here.
Now, what about some of those relationships (I'll get to family in a minute)? First, there's Mr. Palmer, who Teddi 1st sees at the end of the road in Kentucky and who she then works for in Charleston. Then there's Mr. Calhoun, who brokers a loan for her to buy her own shop. How about Sam, an attorney in town, who pays for whatever his mother swipes from Teddi's shop (in fact, take a look at page 79, in which Teddi's bookkeeper, Inez, introduces us to the word "Designamony"). And let's not forget Albert, a master restorer who Teddi works with at Mr. Palmer's shop and who then works for Teddi at her shop. Finally, there's Teddi's best friend, Olivia. Just like Leo Stein, in Jodi Picoult's The Storyteller, Olivia gets all of the funny lines.
All of these connections/relationships are right on. I loved them. But Teddi also has family that she grew up with in Kentucky. What about them? Here's what's very interesting to me. I connected less, emotionally, with her family than I did with her Charleston people. Teddi has quite a story to tell about growing up with her mother, father, brother, and grandmother ("grammy," which my son's kids call their other grandmother). In fact, her brother disappeared when he was 18, and Teddi was 23. And Teddi had a very complicated relationship with her mother. I was definitely interested in both of them (along with her father and grandmother, especially her grandmother) but not viscerally. I can't explain it. I have yet been able to figure out why I connect with some characters and not others. It just is what it is.
There's another element of the book that I really like. Teddi is a single woman who is in her mid-30's. She has a deep love for family, friends, and antique furniture. She doesn't need romance in order to have a fulfilling and fulfilled life. Does she find a man to love and to be loved by? Maybe she does and maybe she doesn't. The point is that the book succeeds without a love interest. Not every book that deals with emotions and relationships has to have romance to make it work. But, in many cases, it doesn't hurt, either!
Get a hold of this book - in print, digital, or audio format. You'll be thanking me that you did.