Twelve-year-old CeeCee Honeycutt is in trouble. For years, she has been the caretaker of her psychotic mother, Camille-the tiara-toting, lipstick-smeared laughingstock of an entire town-a woman trapped in her long-ago moment of glory as the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen. But when Camille is hit by a truck and killed, CeeCee is left to fend for herself. To the rescue comes her previously unknown great-aunt, Tootie Caldwell.
In her vintage Packard convertible, Tootie whisks CeeCee away to Savannah’s perfumed world of prosperity and Southern eccentricity, a world that seems to be run entirely by women. From the exotic Miz Thelma Rae Goodpepper, who bathes in her backyard bathtub and uses garden slugs as her secret weapons, to Tootie’s all-knowing housekeeper, Oletta Jones, to Violene Hobbs, who entertains a local police officer in her canary-yellow peignoir, the women of Gaston Street keep CeeCee entertained and enthralled for an entire summer.
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CeeCee Honeycutt has been taking care of her mentally ill mother for most of her twelve years. Her father is absent much of the time so it’s been up to CeeCee to tend to her mother. After Camille’s death, CeeCee’s great aunt Tootie arrives to take her home to Savannah. That’s the start of a new chapter in CeeCee’s Life Book.
All I knew for sure was this: I had been plunked into a strange, perfumed world that, as far as I could tell, seemed to be run entirely by women.
CeeCee’s new life is filled with caring and eccentric women. Each one seems to have a special lesson to impart. Little by little, like the fragile orchid, CeeCee begins to bloom in their warm and gentle care.
If there’s one thing I’d like most for you, it’s that you’ll find your calling in life. That’s where true happiness and purpose lies. Whether it’s taking care of abandoned animals, saving old houses from the wreckin’ ball, or reading to the blind, you’ve got to find your fire, sugar. You’ll never be fulfilled if you don’t.
Beth Hoffman’s charming debut novel is filled with wit, wisdom, and love. The characters will stay with me for a long time. I recommend Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, it’s a wonderful book.