It’s 1967 and twelve year old Cecilia Rose (CeeCee) Honeycutt lives in Willoughby, Ohio with her father, Carl, a traveling salesman who is almost never home, and her mother, Camille Sugarbaker Honeycutt, who is rapidly succumbing to mental illness. CeeCee’s life is a nightmare of worry and embarrassment as she tries to cope with her mother’s increasingly bizarre behavior. When CeeCee’s mother is killed in a traffic accident, her great Aunt Tallulah arrives from Georgia, and after a brief consultation with Carl, takes CeeCee to her home in Savannah.
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman is a gentle, heartwarming story told from the perspective of twelve year-old CeeCee as she tries to cope with her mentally ill mother and absentee father. At times CeeCee’s observations seem old beyond her years. When CeeCee moves to Georgia, the author’s descriptions of Savannah are so vivid, the city almost becomes a character in the story. The cast of quirky friends and neighbors that troop through Aunt Tallulah’s home and CeeCee’s life add humor and pathos to the story. The South in the 1960s was alive with racial strife and some of that is depicted in the story although the author wraps up a racially tense situation almost too neatly. There is not a lot of action or dramatic tension and the ending might be too fairytale like for some, but for those who want a sweet slice of Southern charm, sprinkled liberally with eccentric characters, and wrapped in a happy ending this could be the one.
I listened to the audio book and Jenna Lamia’s narration was amazing. Her portrayal of the twelve-year-old CeeCee, was so good I quite forgot I was listening to an adult portraying a child’s voice. Her portrayal of the other characters was equally charming. The audio was smooth and clear and the Southern accents of Savannah made the story come alive.
If you liked Saving CeeCee Honeycutt you may like:
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
The Divine Secrets of the Ya ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery