Thursday, February 18, 2010

SAVING CEE-CEE HONEYCUTT: REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

GIVEAWAY ENDED
SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTT

BY BETH HOFFMAN

ABOUT THE BOOK:

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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I was born on an elevator during a snowstorm, a story my father often enjoyed telling whenever the opportunity arose. For the first five years of my life, I lived (along with my mom, dad, and older brother) on my grandparents’ farm in northern Ohio. It was a rural area, and other than a few tolerant garden toads, a highly social chicken, and Midnight, our family dog, there wasn’t anyone to play with. So I created imaginary friends. I’d draw pictures of them and build them homes out of shoeboxes—replete with interiors furnished by pictures I’d cut from a Sears & Roebuck catalog. Eventually I wrote stories about my friends, giving them interesting names and complex lives.

From earliest memory, there were two things I loved above all else: writing and painting. I wrote my first short story when I was eleven and sold my first painting at the age of fourteen. I believed the sale of the painting was a sign of what direction I should take in life. So I chose a career in art that eventually segued into interior design, but I still kept writing and dreaming of becoming a novelist. Life sent me on many creative journeys and I ultimately landed in Cincinnati, Ohio, becoming the president and co-owner of an interior design studio.

Years went by, long hours and hard work brought success, and with it came the inevitable stresses of business ownership. During the busiest year of my professional life, I nearly died from the same infection that took puppeteer Jim Henson’s life—group A streptococcal infection that resulted in septic shock. After finally being discharged from the hospital, I returned home to convalesce. I spent weeks reevaluating my life—the good, the bad, and the downright painful. As I struggled to regain my health and find spiritual ballast, my dream of writing a novel resurfaced. But no matter how I looked at it, there simply weren’t enough hours in the day to fulfill the demands of my career and write a novel. So I let the dream go.

Then, on a snowy morning in January of 2004, a complete stranger said something to me. And like an unexpected gust of fresh air, his words blew the door wide open. In an eye-blink I knew if I were to write a novel, it had to be now or never. I chose now. I sold my portion of the design business, and after a month of sleeping and meditating and realigning my energies, I plunked down at my computer. Day after day my fingers blazed over the keyboard, and I didn’t come up for air until I typed “The End” nearly four years later.

If there’s a moral to my story, it’s this: take a chance, embrace your dreams, forgive, let go, move on. And if life gives you a big smackdown, there’s a reason—and it just might lead toward your own little piece of the rainbow.

Oh, and there’s one more thing: be mindful of the words of strangers.

REVIEW:

Cecelia Honeycutt; CeeCee, is a delightful tween! She is a good student and one can't even imagine where she gets her spirit from! CeeCee is a delight to read about. She lives in Willoughby, Ohio, in 1967, where she is, however, a lonely young lady who finds that reading is her best friend. She has no friends as much as she'd like to because the kids at school make fun of her. How can that be from the sweet kid I described? In order to answer that, let's meet her mother.

Camille Sugarbaker Honeycutt was a 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen and following her marriage, "the Queen" began to live up north with her husband It was there, in a small town in Ohio, that CeeCee Honeycutt grew up. Camille's life, however, went down hill fast once she left the south. CeeCee’s mother was mentally ill and perhaps what we might call a manic-depressive.

CeeCee doesn't know a name for how her mom acts, she only knows that her mother’s moods change very quickly and that is the reason her father, a machine tools salesman, is away for weeks often times. This, of course, means that CeeCee must care for her mom because most of the time, Camille is unable to care for herself, let alone her daughter. Mrs. Gertrude Odell, their 80 year old neighbor, seems to be the only one to care about, or for, poor CeeCee. She treats CeeCee like a grandchild but is really too old to do much else.

Being that Vidalia Onion Queen was obviously Camille's most important thing and continued to play in her mind as she tried to recapture those moments. She would persistently go to the Goodwill Store and get old gowns of all types and put them on with a tiara on her head quite often. NOW, do you understand why CeeCee is so lonely and the kids make fun or her?

The last time "the Queen" performed in her costume with her usual, out front of the house to blow kisses to passers-by, she stumbled, or perhaps took a step on purpose, in front of a truck. CeeCee was never sure. The day after her mother's funeral, CeeCee thought a lot about her predicament. No mother, an absent father who no doubt would find someone else soon and CeeCee would be left alone. As she sat thinking of what to do, a long red convertible pulled into the drive and out stepped Tootie Caldwell, CeeCee's great-aunt. She had not seen CeeCee since she was a baby and yet, she came to take her back to Savannah, Georgia to raise her as normally as she could and so CeeCee's father, recognizing an answer to one of his problems, agreed.

In Savannah, CeeCee is surrounded by caring women from Aunt Tootie to Oletta Jones and Violene Hobbs and Miz Goodpepper. What a change this is for CeeCee! From nobody to all these strong women caring about her. These women play the important part of making sure that CeeCee gets through thinking she is going to wind up like her mother. These are strong, well-developed characters who make for an interesting, not a Pollyanna, time for CeeCee in Savannah. Although there are some tough times and topics in the book, this really is a very sweet and fun read. It is entertaining and from the praise it is getting, I believe many people will be meeting CeeCee and loving her, too!

GIVEAWAY

THANKS TO SHANNON AND THE
GOOD
PEOPLE AT PENGUIN BOOKS,
I HAVE
ONE COPY OF THIS
WONDERFUL BOOK
TO GIVE AWAY



--U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY
--NO P. O. BOXES
---INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
IN CASE YOU WIN!
--ALL COMMENTS MUST BE SEPARATE TO
COUNT AS MORE THAN ONE!


HOW TO ENTER:

+1 ENTRY: COMMENT ON WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT THE REVIEW OR BOOK THAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU MIGHT ENJOY THIS BOOK

+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON SOMETHING YOU FIND INTERESTING ABOUT BETH HOFFMAN BY VISITING HER WEBSITE HERE. THERE IS SO MUCH TO SEE THAT YOU MAY WANT TO CHECK IT OUT(I THINK MY FAVORITE PART IS THE SCRAPBOOK SECTION!)

+1 MORE ENTRY: BLOG OR TWEET ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND COME BACK HERE WITH YOUR LINK

GIVEAWAY ENDS AT
6 PM, EST, MARCH 4


94 comments:

traveler said...

This enchanting and unique book is captivating and wonderful. The characters sound incredible saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

traveler said...

Beth Hoffman sounds like a fortunate young lady especially after her illness and her decision about what she would do for her future. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Linda Henderson said...

I enjoy reading books with strong women characters and this one sounds like a good one.

seriousreader at live dot com

Linda Henderson said...

I think it's very interesting that she was born on an elevator. Not many people can say that.

seriousreader at live dot com

ccqdesigns said...

Being a southern belle myself I love to read books about strong southern women. And this one sounds like a real winner. I am very familiar with Savannah, GA having lived nearby most of my life. Can't wait to read this one.

rebecca dot cox at charter dot net

ccqdesigns said...

I read about Riley Carney would started a Non-profit to fight illiteracy at the age of 14 and is a published writer. It is amazing what this young woman has accomplished in such a short amount of time. She was featured on Beth Hoffman's Blog. She is currently providing books to elementary schools to send home with children. We should all think about helping her out with some type of donation, no mater what the size.

rebecca dot cox at charter dot net

ccqdesigns said...

Here is a tweet for you!
http://twitter.com/ccqdesigns/status/9293684005

rebecca dot cox at charter dot net

Tea said...

I think your review of "Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt is great. The book interests me because when I was growing up, my mother was sick with breast cancer. Still, she was strong. She did her shopping, worked in my father's tailor shop and made lots of friends by sending encouraging greeting cards. Also, she never missed an open House Night for school. Still, I know a childhood is different when a parent is sick for one reason or another reason.

I also find the book interesting because of the mood swing angle or the manic depressive angle. I have a high interest in that subject too.

teakettle58@yahoo.com

tea said...

I have blogged in my sidebar about the book. http://readwithtea.blogspot. It links back to you.

scottsgal said...

This sounds so thought provoking - probably a great book club book
msboatgal at aol.com

scottsgal said...

She's loved writing and painting since she was a child
msboatgal at aol.com

Bethie said...

I love stories like Steel Magnolias. Please count me in. I follow.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Bethie said...

I found her story about Eddie very touching.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Beth Hoffman said...

Oh, Bingo -- what a lovely review of my novel -- thank you very, very much!

Y'all are so kind and I thank each one of you for your supportive comments. I hope you enjoy CeeCee's story.

Pricilla said...

I enjoy reading tales of strong women
thank you
kaiminani at gmail dot com

Pricilla said...

I tweeted
http://twitter.com/BrokenTeepee/status/9294883195
thank you
kaiminani at gmail dot com

Pricilla said...

I feel for her mother! Not fun giving birth in an elevator!
thank you
kaiminani at gmail dot com

bermudaonion said...

Great review! I loved CeeCee! No need to enter me.

Neas Nuttiness said...

I love books about Southern Women - I find us very interesting and entertaining:-)

Thanks for the giveaway.

libneas[at]aol[dot]com

Neas Nuttiness said...

You are soooooooooo right - her scrapbook page is fantastic. Love all the animals. But I must say that I enjoyed reading about the author's birth, in your post. I had a couple of children who barely made it to the delivery room - well actually a couple didn't make it to the delivery room, but at least I made it to the hospital with each one. The doctor's didn't always make it either! Thank goodness for my husband and some great nurses!

libneas[at]aol[dot]com

Neas Nuttiness said...

Tweeted @Libby'sLibrary:

Another giveaway from Bookin' With Bingo http://bookinwithbingo.blogspot.com/2010/02/saving-cee-cee-honeycutt-review-and.html

libneas[at]aol[dot]com

Renee said...

what drew me in to want to read it was when you said it was a cross between The Help and Steel Magnolias

reneesuz82(at)msn(dot)com

Renee said...

love the pic of the author with her brother and the chicken

reneesuz82(at)msn(dot)com

Sarah Osborne said...

What most captivates me about the book are the characters! From the woman her bathes in her backyard to a fun loving teen, the book sounds magical.

Sarah Osborne said...

I find it interesting that the author loved writing from the time she was a little girl.

sarahosborne12(at)gmail(dot)com

Sarah Osborne said...

I blogged!
http://myfavoritegiveaways.blogspot.com/2010/02/saving-cee-cee-honeycutt.html

sarahosborne12(at)gmail(dot)com

Linda Kish said...

I'd like to read this to follow her story from a lonely child to her upbringing in the south by strong women. I want to see how she turns out.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Virginia said...

I would love to read this book because I love a lot of humor in my books and this one seems a little different then anything I have read before! Its sounds fabulous.

lead[at]hotsheet[dot]com

Linda Kish said...

I like the moral in her bio...

Take a chance, embrace your dreams, forgive, let go, move on. And if life gives you a big smackdown, there’s a reason—and it just might lead toward your own little piece of the rainbow.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Virginia said...

I found is interesting that she was born on an elevator during a snowstorm! This is very strange to me but I can see it happening!

lead[at]hotsheet[dot]com

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

Any description stating that a book is a cross of Steel Magnolias and The Help definitely has my attention! Thanks for the giveaway.

fitz12383(at)hotmail(dot)com

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

While visiting Beth's site, I learned that she was born in an elevator during a storm!

fitz12383(at)hotmail(dot)com

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

Tweeted:

http://twitter.com/bookmonstrosity/status/9302457228

fitz12383(at)hotmail(dot)com

Margie said...

It sounds like the book is full of strong, interesting characters. It takes place partially in the South, which would be interesting to me.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

The author's favorite activities as a child were painting and writing. But many years later it took the words of a complete stranger to make her realize she should begin writing a novel.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Zia said...

I found her moral of the story interesting. I would love to be entered for this book.

Zia
ziaria(at)gmail(com

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I would like to read this because everyone is raving about it!

nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

amanda18228 said...

I think I would enjoy this book because of all the good reviews it is getting.
amandarwest at gmaildotcom

amanda18228 said...

I tweeted. http://twitter.com/amandawk/status/9312295110
amandarwest at gmaildotcom

amanda18228 said...

I think it is interesting that she loves to garden.
amandarwest at gmaildotcom

justpeachy36 said...

justpeachy36@yahoo.com

Please enter me in the giveaway.

I have had my eye on this one for awhile. I have heard so many good things about it.

Debbie said...

Strong women characters? What's not to love about that?
fourkidsrgreat(at)gmail.com

Debbie said...

I just can't get over the fact that she was born in an elevator.
fourkidsrgreat(at)gmail.com

g.g. said...

I like books with strong women and this one sound great!

anjamie4 at gmail DOT com

g.g. said...

I like the part in her scrapbook about the 4-legged friends

anjamie4 at gmail DOT com

Sue said...

I grew up in the Northwest and I'm fascinated by books set in the South. It's so foreign to me... Thanks for sharing this book, it looks great!

s.mickelson at gmail dot com

Wendy said...

One of my favorite movies is Steel Magnolias, so I think it would be a book I'd enjoy.

Wendy
ebeandebe at gmail dot com

Wendy said...

I like the interior design photos in her scrapbook section.

Wendy
ebeandebe at gmail dot com

Sandee61 said...

I love Southern fiction and want to read this book so bad!! Please enter me in your giveaway. Thank you.

Sandee61

Muzzley56[at]aol[dot]com

Teresa said...

I like books that show a strong, young person overcome a difficult time. Great review!
mstlee2000 @ hotmail.com

Teresa said...

Gotta love that Beth is an animal lover :)
mstlee2000 @ hotmail.com

Misusedinnocence said...

Having lost my Mom too, I think it would be interesting to read this.

misusedinnocence@aol.com

Esme said...

Do sign me up for what sounds like a wonderful book
thank you so much

chocolate and croissants at yahoo dot com

Esme said...

She was born on an elevator in a snow storm.

chocolate and croissants at yahoo dot com

Esme said...

cococroissants

http://bookinwithbingo.blogspot.com/2010/02/saving-cee-cee-honeycutt-review-and.html


chocolateandcroissants at yahoo dot com

Wickdogg said...

This must be a good book to be compared to The Help and Steel Magnolias. I'd love to read it.

wickdogg AT gmaildot com

Wickdogg said...

She was born on an elevator! Wonder iff she wishes she could remember that, or maybe not.

wickdogg AT gmaildot com

Anonymous said...

I'm always looking for a good book club book this sounds like a good one. I loved how the author followed her dream to write - what courage!
SusieQ@Hinson

DarcyO said...

I like reading books with strong women characters, especially Southern women; they're just so fun. I've heard great things about this book. Thanks for the chance to win it!

dlodden at frontiernet dot net

DarcyO said...

I liked the photo of Beth and her brother with Chickie-girl. She is passionate about animals and I admire that.

dlodden at frontiernet dot net

bison61 said...

I'd like to read a book about strengths of female friendship

tiramisu392 (at) yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Since I love books about the South and coming of age books I look forward to reading this new book.

Colleen Turner said...

I love stories set in the south (since that is where I am!) and love the reference to it being a cross between Steel Magnolias and the Help. I would love to read this book!
Thanks,
candc320@gmail.com

amweeks said...

Great review...made me really feel like I know what this book will be like! And I have never read a book about Southern women that I haven't enjoyed!

amweeks said...

I think it's neat that Beth used to own an interior design company!

amweeks said...

I tweeted! http://twitter.com/amweeks/status/9629651193

Irene said...

I immediately knew I wanted to read this book when I learned about the "Vidalia Queen," aspect. One of the home decorators we worked with while living in Wilmington, NC, was a former Vidalia Queen. Naturally, this book has piqued my interest. Please enter my name. Thank you.

cyeates AT nycap DOT rr DOT com

Irene said...

I am dying to know what the stranger said to Beth Hoffman. It certainly motivated her to write a highly recommended book!


cyeates AT nycap DOT rr DOT com

Irene said...

Tweet....

http://twitter.com/saratoga99




cyeates AT nycap DOT rr DOT com

Vera said...

My favorite book of all time is Gone With the Wind and anything based in Savannah is a must read for me!

vvperesk@gmail.com

Vera said...

I think it's very admirable that the author sold her first painting at 14! vvperesk@gmail.com

nfmgirl said...

I'd love this book! Your review makes it sound a little like Steel Magnolias or Fried Green Tomatoes.

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

nfmgirl said...

Blogged:
http://cerebralgirl.blogspot.com/2010/02/book-giveaways-in-blogworld-02-27-10.html

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

nfmgirl said...

I love the story on Beth's blog about her rescuing Eddie while snowmobiling.

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

Karin said...

Would love to read it. I like humorous books. (which is why I've even read several Junie B. Jones books! I'm a lot older than the target audience, but I get a kick out of her escapades.)

karin56381 (at) gmail.com

ossmcalc said...

This book reminds me of Steel Magnolias with some of the characters as they are described. I used to use a line from the book all of the time when I was teaching - depending upon the situation. I would love to read this book that is probably filled with a story that will make you laugh out loud as well as cry.

Thank you,


Christine
womackcm@sbcglobal.net

ossmcalc said...

I never did understand how with all of the advancements in medicine and treatments that we would lose a man as talented as Jim Henson. I learned that Beth Hoffman nearly died from the same infection that took Jim Henson’s life—group A streptococcal infection that resulted in septic shock.

Thank you,


Christine
womackcm@sbcglobal.net

ossmcalc said...

I tweeted about this giveaway http://twitter.com/ossmcalc/status/9906948427

Thank you,

Christine
womackcm@sbcglobal.net

Michelle @ The True Book Addict said...

This book sounds like along the lines of How to Make an American Quilt or, like the synopsis said, Steel Magnolias. I like books about the bonding of women.

Thanks for the giveaway!

miller4plusmore(at)bellsouth(dot)net

Rebecca O said...

This sounds like an enchanting tale...full of whimsy. Thanks for the review. I hope to read it! Thanks for the chance.
bekki1820cb at gmail

Rebecca O said...

I think that it is awesome that she sold her fist painting when she was only 14. Awesome!
bekki1820cb at gmail

lag123 said...

I love laugh out loud Southern fiction novels and I am sure this one is great.

lag110@mchsi.com

lag123 said...

I loved the fact that she played with imaginary friends and made them houses from shoe boxes with cut outs from the Sears catalog. (I used to make paper dolls from the Sears catalog)

lag110@mchsi.com

lag123 said...

I tweeted: http://twitter.com/lag32583/status/9944947090

lag110@mchsi.com

Amy said...

The first several lines of your review make me want to read it. CeeCee sounds adorable and my heart goes out to her for her love of reading and her loneliness and trying to cope with her mom. I always feel badly for children who become their parents caretakers at an early age. I definitely want to read CeeCee's story!

Aimala127 AT gmail DOT com

Amy said...

I love Beth Hoffman's website. I think her story about how she finally came to write this book fascinating! Thank goodness for that stranger! The scrapobook part of her website is great too!


Aimala127 AT gmail DOT com

CherylS22 said...

I think I'd enjoy this book because it was compared to "The Help" in the opening sentence & I loved "The Help". I enjoy reading stories about women with strength & character.

Thanks ~ megalon22 at yahoo dot com

CherylS22 said...

I find it interesting that Beth was born on an elevator during a snow storm. What an entrance!

megalon22 at yahoo dot com

Sarah E said...

I think I would love this book because I love reading books set in the south. Fried Green Tomatoes by Fannie Flagg is one of my favorite books, and I've read in several reviews that Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is similar to Flagg's most famous work.

Please enter me in this giveaway!

saemmerson at yahoo dot com

Sarah E

Sarah E said...

I find it interesting that Beth Hoffman lives in a quaint historic district in northern Kentucky. I love looking at homes in historic districts.

saemmerson at yahoo dot com

Sarah E

Sarah E said...

I tweeted:

https://twitter.com/saemmerson/status/9963253442

saemmerson at yahoo dot com

Sarah E

Nancye said...

Any book that has a setting in a small town called "Vidalia" has to be good!!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

Tweet! Tweet!

http://twitter.com/NancyeDavis/status/9992031970

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

Beth Hoffman was born in an elevator during a snow storm. Wow! That's pretty cool! My niece was born in an interesting place too. She was born on the side of the road in a Buick!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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