This week, I finished reading Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman. The first I read about this book was that it was Steel Magnolias meets The Help . I must say that review left me a bit wary. I love Steel Magnolias and I adored The Help , but that doesn't mean that a combination of the two would necessarily be good. Also, saying something like that serves only to raise expectations and possibly leave the reader disappointed. Perhaps my low expectations played a factor in how much I enjoyed this book, but I really don't believe it did.
Cecilia Honeycutt, or CeeCee as she prefers, is a twelve-year-old girl living in 1967 Ohio with a father who is away most of the time on business and a mother who is losing her grip on reality. Due to tragic circumstances, at the beginning of the summer, CeeCee goes to live in Savannah with her Great-Aunt Tallulah, or Aunt Tootie as she prefers. CeeCee is a wonderful character. She is smart and determined and, perhaps my favorite quality in a character, a tremendous reader. "Books became my life, or maybe I should say books became the way I escaped from my life."
Perhaps taking a cue from the 1939 film, The Women, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt has almost no male characters. It is lovely to read about all the women surrounding CeeCee and how much wisdom and enrichment they bring to her life. A twelve-year-old girl can use all the female enlightenment she can get and CeeCee finds it in spades. The women influences rang in age from ninety-one to a new-found friend CeeCee's very own age. The women are white, black, wealthy and poor. The end of the novel culminates in a garden party with each of these wonderful characters and I must say it's a party I wish I could attend. I adored these women and I think you will as well. I wish I could share all the wonderful bits of sage advice, but I will just leave you with this one:
"It's what we believe about ourselves that determines how others see us."