Eat, Drink, and Be from Mississippi

( 5 )

Overview

Truely Noonan is the quintessential Southern boy made good. Like his older sister, Courtney, Truely left behind the slow, sweet life of Mississippi for jet-set San Francisco, where he earned a fortune as an Internet entrepreneur. Courtney and Truely each find happy marriages--until, as if cursed by success, those marriages start to crumble. Then their lives are interrupted by an unexpected stranger--a troubled teenager named Arnold, garrulous, charming, thuggishly dressed, and determined to move in to their ...
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Eat, Drink, and Be from Mississippi

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Overview

Truely Noonan is the quintessential Southern boy made good. Like his older sister, Courtney, Truely left behind the slow, sweet life of Mississippi for jet-set San Francisco, where he earned a fortune as an Internet entrepreneur. Courtney and Truely each find happy marriages--until, as if cursed by success, those marriages start to crumble. Then their lives are interrupted by an unexpected stranger--a troubled teenager named Arnold, garrulous, charming, thuggishly dressed, and determined to move in to their world. Arnold turns their lives upside down--and in the process this unlikely trio becomes the family that each had been searching for. In the best Southern fiction tradition, Kincaid has brought us an inspiring story about finding the way home.
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Editorial Reviews

People Magazine
"Playing off its tantalizing title, Kincaid's tale offers a fresh, winning take on basic themes of modern life--leaving, longing and reconnecting with childhood."
Washington Post
"It takes a little nerve for a non-native Mississippian to write a novel with "Mississippi" in the title, but [Kincaid] isn't fazed by stepping onto hallowed literary ground. . . . This novel isn't in the end, so much about Mississippi as it is about our American future, and on that subject it is decidedly and sweetly optimistic."
Entertainment Weekly
"[T]here's something raffish and whimsical about Kincaid's prose that hooks you good and pulls you in.... [A]ffecting." A-
Valerie Sayers
[Kincaid's] straight-up storytelling makes for comfort fiction the way Mississippi cooking (which figures prominently in these pages) makes for comfort food: It's familiar, easy enough to gulp down and, in its descriptions of decent folks struggling to grapple with their cultural legacies, unassuming and likable…The intertwining connections among Truely, Courtney and Arnold are finally hopeful without being naive, unexpected without being gimmicky.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

With a sensibility as sweet as a glass of sugary iced tea and a plot as placid as a hazy summer day, Kincaid's sixth book (after As Hot As It Was You Ought to Thank Me) tracks the domestic travails of Truely and Courtney Noonan, brother and sister Mississippians who have forsaken sleepy rural life for adventure in California. Courtney is first to head west, finding marital contentment with Hastings, a countercultural hanger-on she meets at a Grateful Dead concert. With a scholarship for San Jose State, Truely soon follows, connecting with a computer whiz, making an Internet fortune and falling hard for Jesse. Both Noonans seem happily married, until Jesse miscarries and leaves Truely. Then Hastings leaves Courtney for a younger woman because he's "not ready to grow old." Though they both live in the Bay Area, these rootless siblings seldom cross paths, until Arnold, a black teenager, insinuates himself into their lives. Kincaid has been pigeonholed as a Southern writer, but this unsentimental story about the forging of an unorthodox family has universal appeal. (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Mississippi may just be the setting for the beginning of this novel by the author of As Hot as It Was You Ought To Thank Me, but the Deep Southern sensibility colors the whole story, as it does the life of protagonist Truely Noonan. His vibrant, strong-willed sister Courtney shocks her parents and local convention by fleeing Hinds County for California, where she almost immediately hooks up with the wealthy, distinctly non-Mississippi Hastings, whom she eventually marries. When it comes time for college, Truely follows, going to San Jose and leaving behind his high school sweetheart. His rise to fortune in the technology field doesn't assure a happy life, though, and late in the game he and his sister both find themselves involved with teenage Arnold, a gang boy with legal troubles looking for an attachment. It's a warm, folksy, easy-to-read tale of flawed people trying to find their way. Recommended.
—Ann H. Fisher

Kirkus Reviews
The lives of two Southern siblings, comfortably relocated to California but partnerless and childless, are transformed by an unlikely friendship. In a readable, discursive, not especially eventful story, Kincaid (As Hot As It Was You Ought to Thank Me, 2005, etc.) explores ideas of family and connection via Truely and Courtney Noonan, born and raised in the Deep South, who grow up to move beyond their parents' expectations and codes. Rebellious Courtney's decisions to quit college, move to California, then move in with a wealthy, older property developer are difficult for her traditional-minded parents to accept. Truely's choice to follow his sister west deepens the wounds. Truely becomes a high-tech entrepreneur and marries Jesse, but the relationship fails as, eventually, does Courtney's. Truely's next long involvement, with Shauna, also falls apart, but not before he is sucked into her family's problems when her brother Gordo is badly wounded in Iraq. Gordo's troubled young black friend Arnold becomes an initially unwelcome lodger in Truely's loft and Courtney takes him under her wing, tutoring him for the GED. Truely's role as a surrogate father only deepens when Gordo, recuperating in a VA hospital, tries to commit suicide, an act which implicates Arnold and results in his arrest. Now Truely realizes how much Arnold is a part of his life and "family"; a combination of his money and Gordo's doing the right thing eventually liberates Arnold to go "home" with Truely. An engaging but overlong and not wholly convincing lesson in opening up to commitment.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316009157
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 1/6/2009
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Nanci Kincaid
Nanci Kincaid is the author of Crossing Blood, Balls, Pretending the Bed Is a Raft (made into the feature film My Life Without Me), Verbena, and As Hot as it Was You Ought to Thank Me. She divides her time between San Jose and Honolulu.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

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(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2009

    Good book

    Good read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    FAULKNER IT'S NOT!!! BECOMES HACKNEYED AND POLITICALLY CORRECT LAST 65% OF BOOK.

    Save your money, don't buy the book. If you want an author that captures an area and it's nuances read David Guterson. I finished the book only because I bought it otherwise I would have stopped 1/3 of the way into it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Entertaining But Scattered

    I liked this book but it had a lot of "lose threads" and characters that weren't really necessary. There were story lines that just seemed to trail off into no where. All in all it was a good book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

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