Ah, comfort fiction. For me, it typically involves gardening, women supporting one another, and more often than not, it’s set in the South. Sure, sometimes it’s a little on the sweet side, some might argue it’s downright syrupy. Luckily, I never met a dessert I didn’t like, so sweetness is absolutely my thing. I just read Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman, and I loved it!
Cecelia Honeycutt has had a rough go of it. As a young girl in Ohio, she plays witness to her mother’s devastating descent into mental illness. Her father is absent as he’s a travelling salesman, so when CeeCee’s mother’s antics move from the eccentric into the psychotic, she is left to handle things on her own.
CeeCee finds her refuge in the library and in the arms of her elderly neighbor. She struggles to deal with her mother making trips to the grocery store in full pageant regalia and withers under the stares of her classmates. Having an untreated mentally ill mother doesn’t make you particularly popular, as it turns out. Then one day, everything changes.
CeeCee’s father arranges to have her move in with her Great Aunt Tootie, a woman she’s never met. She’s uprooted and re-installed in Savannah, Georgia. Aunt Tootie is pretty much the sweetest woman alive, and CeeCee takes to Oletta (Aunt Tootie’s cook and housekeeper) immediately. Unfortunately, a few weeks of good home cooking and affection can’t make up for a childhood rife with neglect. CeeCee slowly learns to accept and acknowledge her past while allowing the love of her new found life to heal her tortured soul.
What can I say? I’m an absolute sucker for this kind of book. It’s the type of novel that leaves me feeling warm and fuzzy about humanity. If you liked The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd or Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg, you will adore Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. If you haven’t read any of them, what in the sam heck are you waiting for?! Go forth and feel good!
Have you ever met a novel that makes you feel good about humankind? What are some of your favorites?
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