Saving CeeCee Honeycutt: A Novel

By Beth Hoffman
Publisher:Pamela Dorman Books, (1/12/2010)

Average Rating:
5.00 out of 5 (3 Clubie's ratings)

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Steel Magnolias meets The Help in this Southern debut novel sparkling with humor, heart, and feminine wisdom

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.

Laugh-out-loud funny and deeply touching, Beth Hoffman's sparkling debut is, as Kristin Hannah says, "packed full of Southern charm, strong women, wacky humor, and good old-fashioned heart." It is a novel that explores the indomitable strengths of female friendship and gives us the story of a young girl who loses one mother and finds many others.
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Lizzy's thoughts on "Saving CeeCee Honeycutt: A Novel"
updated on:11/5/2010


CagneyC's thoughts on "Saving CeeCee Honeycutt: A Novel"
updated on:9/19/2010

A really good story.  The writer has a genuine ability to make the reader feel that the reader is present at the various incidents in CeeCee's life. 


Silver's Reviews's thoughts on "Saving CeeCee Honeycutt: A Novel"
updated on:8/19/2010

Flying dishes, prom gowns, red high-heeled shoes, embarrassing school days....what more could a child take.  

Cee Cee Honeycutt lived with her parents who consisted of a mother who thought she missed out on life since she left her home town in Georgia to marry an older man and her father, an absent traveling salesman.  Life didn't really turn out very well for anyone in the family, but once Cee Cee met Great Aunt Tootie, her life was something she never would have imagined.

Here is how she happened to be with Aunt day as Cee Cee's mother was coming back from the Goodwill store wearing her newest prom gown, she absentmindedly ran into the street and was hit by an ice cream truck and died.  Cee Cee was then moved to Savannah, Georgia, with her Great Aunt Tootie, but not before her loving neighbor, Mrs. Odell, told her about the Life Book we all have with pages that need to be turned when the time comes. 

And what a page in Cee Cee's life was turned when she arrived in Savannah....loving people to surround her and protect her, especially Oletta, Aunt Tootie's cook, and of course Aunt Tootie who showered Cee Cee with hugs and affection that had been lacking in the previous twelve years of her life.  Cee Cee’s unconventional neighbors and a beautiful home also helped add pages to her Life Book.

You will absolutely LOVE this book especially if you like sweet, nostalgic, heartwarming reads with a Southern charm...some of the scenes were laugh-out-loud and others brought tears to your eyes with the tenderness. 

The characters were lovable and genuine.  It is a beautiful, touching read...just like a BIG hug. 

Going to end my review with a quote from Oletta, my favorite character:  "Don’t go wastin’ all them bright tomorrows you ain’t even seen by hangin’ on to what happened yesterday.  Let go, child.  Just breathe out and let go.”  Page 290    Cee Cee definitely had “bright” tomorrows to put in her Life Book thanks to all the loving women in her life.

Thanks, Miss Hoffman… This is going to be one of my all-time favorite books.



"Saving CeeCee Honeycutt: A Novel"
By Beth Hoffman

Average Rating:
5.00 out of 5 (3 Clubie's ratings)

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From Publishers Weekly
Hoffman's debut, a by-the-numbers Southern charmer, recounts 12-year-old Cecelia Rose Honeycutt's recovery from a childhood with her crazy mother, Camille, and cantankerous father, Carl, in 1960s Willoughby, Ohio. After former Southern beauty queen Camille is struck and killed by an ice cream truck, Carl hands over Cecelia to her great-aunt Tootie. Whisked off to a life of privilege in Savannah, Ga., Cecelia makes fast friends with Tootie's cook, Oletta, and gets to know the cadre of eccentric women who flit in and out of Tootie's house, among them racist town gossip Violene Hobbs and worldly, duplicitous Thelma Rae Goodpepper. Aunt Tootie herself is the epitome of goodness, and Oletta is a sage black woman. Unfortunately, any hint of trouble is nipped in the bud before it can provide narrative tension, and Hoffman toys with, but doesn't develop, the idea that Cecelia could inherit her mother's mental problems. Madness, neglect, racism and snobbery slink in the background, but Hoffman remains locked on the sugary promise of a new day. (Jan.) 
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"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 

"In Hoffman's charming debut, Cecelia Rose (CeeCee) Honeycutt tells the story of her tragic life and the strong women who stepped in to save her. At age 12, CeeCee realizes her mother, flouncing around Willoughby, OH, in prom dresses and matching shoes, is crazy and the town's laughingstock. Her father is never home, and nothing is going to change so CeeCee buries herself in books as an escape. But her true liberation comes after her mother's tragic death when great-aunt Tootie sweeps CeeCee off to Savannah. There, a group of powerful, independent women offer the young girl love, laughter and a new chance at life. Readers who enjoy strong female characters will appreciate CeeCee, a survivor despite her heartbreaking childhood, and Aunt Tootie and her friends, all of them steel magnolias. VERDICT 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. Interestingly enough, both novels share the same editor." 
-Library Journal 

"'Welcome to my world, baby girl' (to paraphrase Fannie Flagg's title) is what came to my mind on meeting the narrator of Beth Hoffman's delightful debut, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. Twelve-year-old CeeCee is a survivor. Alone too much, and with too much responsibility because of her psychotic mother, CeeCee is old beyond her years. When her mother dies, her mostly absent father sends her south from Ohio to Savannah under the care of her never-before-seen Great Aunt Tootie. The reader is introduced to a wide assortment of Southern women, each of whom plays a role in CeeCee's healing and coming to terms with her life. Each character also helps paint a detailed picture of the dichotomy between the 'old South' with its decaying gentry, and the changing South, where black and white are more than servant/mistress and white gloves are being exchanged for jeans and flip-flops. This lovely novel has earned the status of 'LizPick' even before it's published." 
-Publishers Weekly, "Galley Talk" by Liz Murphy, the Learned Owl Book Show, Hudson, Ohio
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Beth Hoffman was president and co-owner of a major interior design studio in Cincinnati, Ohio, before selling her business to write full time.

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