Saving CeeCee Honeycutt *** 1/2 by Beth Hoffman
I’m joining Jain in her bi-monthly edible book review at Food for Thought, where in her words, pages from your book magically mix with the kitchen and your camera. Don’t miss this visual feast!
Favorite quote from the book:
People is wise ’cause they get out in the world and live. Wisdom comes from experience—from knowin’ each day is a gift and accepting it with gladness. You read a whole lot of books, and readin’ sure has made you smart, but ain’t no book in the world gonna make you wise. (Oletta talking to CeeCee)
With an absentee father, and as the sole care giver of her mother, CeeCee Honeycutt is trying to survive her childhood. Her mother, Camille, is trapped in her own world where she is the reigning 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen and is the ‘tiara-wearing, lipstick-smeared laughingstock of the entire town’.
A passage about Camille:
Her bedroom was a perfume-scented battlefield. Above all else, it was a testimony to her illness. The mirror above the vanity table was cracked in half. Hair rollers and tubes of lipstick were scattered across the floor like spent bullet casings—all of them sad reminders of Momma’s long-fought interior war.
CeeCee retreats into her world of books and the comfort of her elderly neighbor, Mrs. Odell. When her mother dies, CeeCee’s dad ships her off to live with her Great Aunt Tootie in Savannah, whom she has never met. There, twelve-year-old CeeCee, flourishes- surrounded by the care of strong women who help her heal.
All I knew was this: I had been plunked into a strange, perfumed world that as far as I could tell, seemed to be run entirely by women.
Oletta, Aunt Tootie’s cook and housekeeper, becomes CeeCee’s confidant…
I am making my version of Oletta’s chicken salad…
Tarragon Chicken Salad
1 Roasted Chicken from the deli
3/4 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
1/2 cup chopped pecans (walnuts or almonds work too)
1 cup halved red seedless grapes
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
2 ribs of celery, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Pull chicken and dice meat. Mix with all the above ingredients and refrigerate to allow flavors to marry. (You can substitute a combination of sour cream and mayo if you like.)
While I enjoyed this book, it did not quite live up to the hype and the reviews I had read (definitely not 5 stars for me). Some of the characters seemed one dimensional…bordering on the ridiculous. However, it was a sweet story and quick read. I particularly enjoyed Oletta’s relationship with CeeCee.