Book Review: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

Title: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
Author: Beth Hoffman
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from my personal library
First line: Momma left her red satin shoes in the middle of the road.

Twelve-year-old CeeCee Honeycutt needs saving; she needs saving from her mentally disturbed mother and her absent father, from her own attempts to take care of her mother and protect her from herself. When CeeCee’s mother is tragically killed, her Aunt Tootie from Savannah sweeps in to save CeeCee. Tootie takes CeeCee home to her grand old house in Savannah, where the young girl finds out what it means to be truly loved and taken care of for the first time. She also discovers some strong women, women whose Life Stories are intertwined with her own.

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is southern women’s fiction at its finest. This book is peopled with the most wonderfully strong and individual – and, sometimes, eccentric – women. Aunt Tootie, whose passion is for saving historic homes from demolition. Tootie’s housekeeper, Oletta, whose no-nonsense wisdom, faith, and love are exactly what CeeCee needs. Neighbors Miz Hobbs and Mizz Goodpepper, whose feud over a magnolia tree involves weaponized slugs and Polaroids of a traveling brassiere.

I adored the character of CeeCee and she became real to me as I read her story. So many times while reading I found my eyes filling with sad tears because of the things she had gone through, and then happy tears because she was taken in by these amazing women who were determined to love her.

Hoffman is the rare kind of author who can write both authentic characters and vivid settings using all five senses, and I felt wrapped in the world of Savannah while I read. I could feel the heat, smell the magnolias, taste the cinnamon rolls and fried chicken. I could see Mrs. Odell in her huge hat and dime store slippers, outrageous Miz Hobbs in her yellow feathered “chicken” peignoir and her policeman paramour with his Zorro mask. The writing moves smoothly between hysterically funny and heart-breakingly poignant, as the author gives us CeeCee’s story, but also the story of these amazing women in the 1960s South. I loved the way Aunt Tootie crossed the racial divide to include Oletta in CeeCee’s family, and to include Oletta’s friends in their family get-togethers. And I laughed until I nearly peed myself over the culmination of Miz Goodpepper’s and Miz Hobbs’s feud at Aunt Tootie’s garden party.

As you can see, this book has me gushing. There is so much to love about this story – and I am very excited that this is Beth Hoffman’s first book. I will be eagerly anticipating the next story to come from her lovely imagination.

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30 Responses to Book Review: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

  1. I loved the book as much as you. Great capture of the story’s spirit!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Charlene – thanks! Sometimes it’s hard to convey how much you love a book!

  2. Robin of My Two Blessings
    Twitter: robnmccormack
    says:

    I was listening to her the other day on That’s How I blog and she is so sweet and personable. Of course, makes me want to read the book. Great review and now I’m doubly sure I want to read it. Adding to my wish list.
    .-= Robin of My Two Blessings´s last blog ..The Lace Makers of Glenmara – Heather Barbieri =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Robin – I missed her on the show – but she seems like a sweetheart.

  3. Pati Gulat says:

    I know the authoress personally and she is just as captivating as the book . Of course it goes without saying that it is a MUST read and I bought my copy as soon as it was on the shelves. Wonderful story….can’t wait for her next installment….

  4. Anna says:

    I loved it, too. One of my favorites for the year for sure!
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..Review- The Lace Makers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Anna – I just gave my copy to my mom today – I know she’ll love it, too. Plus my 13-year-old daughter will probably read it next!

  5. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread
    says:

    Yes, yes, yes, I know I have to read this! I intend to soon! And I know I will love it. I first fell in love with Savannah when I read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. THe city is a character all on its own, and completely lends itself to quirky southern characters that live in it.
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..The Things They Carried – Tim OBrien Kindle =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Sandy – I’ve never read that one – will have to add it to my list. 🙂

  6. Stephanie says:

    I thought this was a really sweet and charming book, which is not usually my thing. It worked in this instance though. Hofmman did a great job.
    .-= Stephanie´s last blog ..Book Review- Imperfect Birds =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Stephanie – I like sweet and charming when it’s also well-written. 🙂

  7. Jo-Jo says:

    I couldn’t help but gush about this book either because I absolutely loved it. It just gives warm fuzzies inside all over again when reading your review. I’m glad you enjoyed it!
    .-= Jo-Jo´s last blog ..Celebrating To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Jo-Jo – I’m glad it’s finding such positive responses from the book blogosphere – it is deserving!

  8. Bravo! Thank you Carrie, for writing this wonderful in-depth review of Beth Hoffman’s sensational debut novel. Like you, I was swept away by her brilliantly developed characters, fabulous prose and a story line which kept me totally enthralled. I wouldn’t be surprized if “Saving CeeCee Honeycutt” becomes an American classic–it is that good.

  9. bermudaonion says:

    Oh, how I loved this book! Oletta and CeeCee just spoke to me. You are so right that Beth Hoffman captured the true spirit of Savannah. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her and she is as wonderful as the book.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Kathy – oh, I would love to meet her in person! And the relationship between Oletta and CeeCee was simply beautiful – my favorite part of the book.

  10. Serena
    Twitter: SavvyVerseWit
    says:

    I’m so glad that you liked this one…this was one of my favorites this year.
    .-= Serena´s last blog ..Mailbox Monday 90 =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Serena – I have a feeling when it comes time to compile my list of faves for 2010, CeeCee will be on it!

  11. Great review! I loved this book.

    Here is my review!

  12. Beth Hoffman says:

    Hi Carrie … this is such a wonderful review! Thanks so much for reading my novel and also for your kind words. CeeCee and Oletta are waving hello to you from the kitchen. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Beth – thank you for writing such a wonderful book! 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving.

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  14. Amy Hariton says:

    I adored this book. One of my favorites and a really easy read. What i loved most is the strength of all the women in the book. The Southern setting was just beautiful. This is a must read.

    Amy Hariton

  15. Savanna Hess says:

    This was a VERY good book. Really nice story, very touching. Beth is an amazing writer.
    I think Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is my third favorite book. My first favorite is the Harry Potter series; my second fave is the Hunger Games series; third is Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. Thank you, Beth, for writing such a wonderful book!

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