Friday, March 5, 2010


SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTT, Beth Hoffman's debut novel, is a beautifully written story set in the late sixties, seen through the eyes of a nine-year-old girl, who's left to care for her mentally ill mother, by her traveling salesman father. Hoffman does a wonderful job of grabbing the reader's attention from the beginning, as CeeCee is left vulnerable and isolated, fearing that she will develop her mother's mental illness. Her only two escapes from her dreary existence are her massive book collection, and Mrs. Odell, a sympathetic neighbor who loves CeeCee when nobody else seems to care.

When you think the story couldn't get any worse, when CeeCee is twelve, her mother is hit and killed by an ice cream truck (The Happy Cow Ice Cream truck). Shortly thereafter, CeeCee's whisked away by her Great Aunt Tootie to Savannah, Georgia where she's immediately enveloped by love and kindness. In Savannah, she learns the true meaning of "family" and "friendship," discovers her inner fire, and slowly opens her heart and mind to the promise of the future.

Hoffman's writing style is clear and concise, her voice is silky-smooth and peppered with humor, her descriptions are vibrant, and her secondary cast of characters is three-dimensional and "unforgettable." Yeah. In case you haven't picked up on it, I absolutely loved this book. The author moved me to the point where I wanted nothing more than to see this little girl, abandoned by her father, flourish.

This book is a "must read" for all readers of young adult fiction and women's fiction. I'm dying to find out what the future holds for Little Miss CeeCee. I'll never look at southern ladies, slugs, and bras, quite the same way again. I'm sure you'll feel the same.

Click here to visit Beth Hoffman's website and to read her advice to writers.