Sunday, January 16, 2011

"Saving CeeCee Honeycutt" BookLook Jan. 20

“Saving CeeCee Honeycutt”
“Saving CeeCee Honeycutt” by Beth Hoffman is a novel about southern women in the 1960’s. It’s filled with lots of nuts and as syrupy as a slice of pecan pie. These characters are “Steel Magnolias” without the hair salon. They range from sweetly eccentric to full-fledged crazy and we love reading about their absurd behavior and uppity ways.

CeeCee is short for Cecelia Rose. CeeCee is the twelve-year-old daughter of Camille Sugarbaker Honeycutt, formerly and forever Miss Vidalia Onion Queen 1951. Camille was swept off her satin pump clad feet by a northerner (damn Yankee) and is now living in utter misery in Ohio. Momma Camille slips steadily, or rather unsteadily, into complete insanity as her husband spends more and more time on the road working as a salesman. Little CeeCee is left to care for her delusional mother with no support except a kind elderly neighbor lady.

After the untimely death of her mother who was run over by the ice-cream truck as she crossed the road dressed in one of her Goodwill gowns with matching heals and tiara, CeeCee is rescued by her mother’s elderly Aunt Tootie. Just picture little Cinderella driving off with her kindly fairy god-mother in a big Buick convertible headed for a happy ending in a southern mansion in Savannah Georgia.

Of course Aunt Tootie wasn’t christened Tootie, she was named Talullah. I love the names and nicknames of these southern women. When pronounced with a soft drawl and accented with an eyelash flutter they are pure poetry.

My own grandmother, Lucy Trotter Brigeforth Allen was nicknamed Aunt Tot. This odd moniker used a version of her middle name and carried the expectation that at age 37 this unmarried nurse would be the old maid of the family – everybody’s Aunt. Boy did she fool them! Picture the Southern Belle driving off into the sunset with her dashing Mr. Allen headed for a happy ending in a…farmhouse growing tobacco ever after.

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