Saving Ceecee Honeycutt

Saving Ceecee Honeycutt

4.3 966
by Beth Hoffman

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Steel Magnolias meets The Help in this Southern debut novel sparkling with humor, heart, and feminine wisdom

Twelve-year-old CeeCee Honeycutt is in trouble. For years, she has been the caretaker of her psychotic mother, Camille-the tiara-toting, lipstick-smeared laughingstock of an entire town-a woman trapped in her long-ago moment of…  See more details below


Steel Magnolias meets The Help in this Southern debut novel sparkling with humor, heart, and feminine wisdom

Twelve-year-old CeeCee Honeycutt is in trouble. For years, she has been the caretaker of her psychotic mother, Camille-the tiara-toting, lipstick-smeared laughingstock of an entire town-a woman trapped in her long-ago moment of glory as the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen. But when Camille is hit by a truck and killed, CeeCee is left to fend for herself. To the rescue comes her previously unknown great-aunt, Tootie Caldwell.

In her vintage Packard convertible, Tootie whisks CeeCee away to Savannah's perfumed world of prosperity and Southern eccentricity, a world that seems to be run entirely by women. From the exotic Miz Thelma Rae Goodpepper, who bathes in her backyard bathtub and uses garden slugs as her secret weapons, to Tootie's all-knowing housekeeper, Oletta Jones, to Violene Hobbs, who entertains a local police officer in her canary-yellow peignoir, the women of Gaston Street keep CeeCee entertained and enthralled for an entire summer.

Laugh-out-loud funny and deeply touching, Beth Hoffman's sparkling debut is, as Kristin Hannah says, "packed full of Southern charm, strong women, wacky humor, and good old-fashioned heart." It is a novel that explores the indomitable strengths of female friendship and gives us the story of a young girl who loses one mother and finds many others.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hoffman's debut, a by-the-numbers Southern charmer, recounts 12-year-old Cecelia Rose Honeycutt's recovery from a childhood with her crazy mother, Camille, and cantankerous father, Carl, in 1960s Willoughby, Ohio. After former Southern beauty queen Camille is struck and killed by an ice cream truck, Carl hands over Cecelia to her great-aunt Tootie. Whisked off to a life of privilege in Savannah, Ga., Cecelia makes fast friends with Tootie's cook, Oletta, and gets to know the cadre of eccentric women who flit in and out of Tootie's house, among them racist town gossip Violene Hobbs and worldly, duplicitous Thelma Rae Goodpepper. Aunt Tootie herself is the epitome of goodness, and Oletta is a sage black woman. Unfortunately, any hint of trouble is nipped in the bud before it can provide narrative tension, and Hoffman toys with, but doesn't develop, the idea that Cecelia could inherit her mother's mental problems. Madness, neglect, racism and snobbery slink in the background, but Hoffman remains locked on the sugary promise of a new day. (Jan.)
Library Journal
In Hoffman's charming debut, Cecelia Rose (CeeCee) Honeycutt tells the story of her tragic life and the strong women who stepped in to save her. At age 12, CeeCee realizes her mother, flouncing around Willoughby, OH, in prom dresses and matching shoes, is crazy and the town's laughingstock. Her father is never home, and nothing is going to change so CeeCee buries herself in books as an escape. But her true liberation comes after her mother's tragic death when great-aunt Tootie sweeps CeeCee off to Savannah. There, a group of powerful, independent women offer the young girl love, laughter, and a new chance at life. Readers who enjoy strong female characters will appreciate CeeCee, a survivor despite her heartbreaking childhood, and Aunt Tootie and her friends, all of them steel magnolias. VERDICT Exemplifying Southern storytelling at its best, this coming-of-age novel is sure to be a hit with the book clubs that adopted Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees. Interestingly enough, both novels share the same editor. [Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/09.]—Lesa Holstine, Glendale P.L., AZ
Kirkus Reviews
Sunshine enters an unhappy child's life in a Southern getting-of-wisdom novel as uncomplicatedly sweet as one of Oletta's famous cinnamon rolls. A fairy tale with streaks of psychology and social conscience, CeeCee Rose Honeycutt's odyssey unfolds mainly in Savannah, Ga. The 12-year-old moves there in the late 1960s to live with her kindly, wealthy Great-Aunt Tootie after the death of CeeCee's increasingly deranged mother and with the encouragement of her neglectful, distant father. Tootie's cook Oletta-big, black and stern, but with a heart of gold-exerts a growing influence on the girl, fattening her up with delicious food while offering life lessons, reassurance and companionship. The novel's society is almost exclusively female and generally quirky, ranging from Tootie's eccentric elderly friends to her feuding neighbors. Male characters are rare and generally flawed: layabouts, crooks and emotional black holes. Race issues supply the strongest story line (a robbery on the beach) in a narrative more episodic than linear. Mainly, CeeCee comes to terms with her feelings of shame, guilt and loss over her mother; hears about slavery, segregation and the KKK; encounters a wide range of human behavior, from generosity to mean-spiritedness; makes a friend; and above all finds a new, all-female family. Humor, wish-fulfillment and buckets of sentiment bulk out an innocent, innovation-free debut that would work well for teenage readers.

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Product Details

Little, Brown Young Readers
Publication date:

What People are saying about this

Mary Kay Andrews
"A tender and touching debut. Charming, disarming, sweet as the scent of magnolias on a Southern summer night, SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTT is a true delight."--(Mary Kay Andrews, bestselling author of The Fixer-Upper)
Kim Edwards
"CeeCee Honeycutt is a sweet, perceptive girl with a troubled family, and this story of the summer that transforms her life is rich with hard truths and charm. This book unfolds like a lush southern garden, blooming with vivid characters, beauty, and surprises."--(Kim Edwards, bestselling author of The Memory Keeper's Daughter)
Kristin Hannah
"SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTT is an absolutely delightful debut novel packed full of Southern charm, strong women, wacky humor, and good old-fashioned heart. From the moment you first step into young CeeCee's unique world, you'll never want to leave."--(Kristin Hannah, bestselling author of True Colors and Winter Garden)
Luanne Rice
"Reading SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTT, I barely stopped laughing, even as my heart broke and broke again for CeeCee. She goes through the wringer with Southern grace, but you never forget all she's lost, and you never lose sight of her courage and deep resources. Beth Hoffman has written her heart out in this novel that will clearly be the first of many."--(Luanne Rice, bestselling author of The Geometry of Sisters and The Deep Blue Sea for Beginners)

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Meet the Author

Beth Hoffman was president and co-owner of a major interior design studio in Cincinnati, Ohio, before selling her business to write full time.

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Saving CeeCee Honeycutt 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 960 reviews.
slosch More than 1 year ago
Got my hands on a pre-pub ARC and I must say, I feel very fortunate indeed to have this early sneak peak. The characters are so real, you close the book wanting more; in fact, I miss them - Aunt Tootie, Oletta, Mrs Odell - they were my friends too. CeeCee is a young girl we can all relate to, with her normal fears and blunders and her good-hearted soul. The writing is phenomenal - don't speed read or you might miss an important piece of the landscape of this delightful novel. For a first-time novelist, Beth Hoffman has hit a homerun right out of the park. She takes you from tears streaming down your face to nervous anticipation, relief and outright joy and then does it again, all in what seems to be the blink of an eye. Be sure to set aside enough time to read the entire book in one sitting - yes, it's that kind of feel-good read. I'll definitely be in line to get a signed hard copy in January and plan to re-read it several times.
M5 More than 1 year ago
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is a joy. With a history in literary criticism, I tend to be a tough reader--often digging into post-modern and modernist texts rooted in darkness and frustration (Ian McEwan, Philip Roth, and Virginia Woolf are favorites). Saving CeeCee Honeycutt was a beautiful departure. Ms. Hoffman's novel is playful, insightful, wise, and thought-provoking. She raises issues of motherhood, parenting, mental illness, race, life experience, and true human connection within a truly pleasurable read. There is a well-tuned balance of readability and depth. I am amused by the criticisms here [amazon] of characters who are not fully formed, as I think that is rather purposeful. This novel is not one written to explore the many nuances of the various female characters. Rather, it is about the ideas of influence, insight, and a community of women. Each of the singularly fabulous characters has a life to which we, as readers, are not privvy. We, like CeeCee, see only slivers of lives that have been steeped in a wide variety of influences. In many ways, this is what true human experience is--knowing the parts of people they choose to show us or that we peek at through the bushes without them knowing. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is a moving tale about female friendship and admiration--about finding new paths, moving beyond loss, and growing up at all ages. It is one of those books you read and then want to send to each of your best friends. A truly enjoyable and lovely book.
RoseMorris More than 1 year ago
I've never written a review before, but I had to write one for this book! I stayed up half the night to finish it because I couldn't stop reading. The writing is beautiful and the characters are living/breathing people. CeeCee is a very smart little girl living in Ohio with her mentally ill mom and her dad who is rarely home. In fact, she has never really known a true childhood because she's been taking care of her mom for a long time. In order to push away her painful life, CeeCee reads books constantly. The author painted a picture of CeeCee's life that was painful but was also very funny at times. After something very sad happens, CeeCee is sent to live with her aunt in Savannah and that's when her life changes in the most wonderful way! There's a housekeeper/cook named Oletta and the friendship that happens between Oletta and CeeCee is the most touching friendship I've ever read about. And there are lots of women both black and white and young and old who help CeeCee heal and eventually forgive all he things that happened to her in Ohio. As the mother of a very smart 13 year old girl, I really appreciated and admired the author's way of developing CeeCee's character. I laughed and I cried while reading this wonderful book and I slowed down reading when I got to the last three chapters because I didn't want the story to end!!! This is a book that has so much depth and it made me think about all the women I've known from childhood to the present. I wish I could give this book 10 stars! Thank you, Rose Morris
debbi-at-the-beach More than 1 year ago
I read this book aloud to my eighty year old mother who can no longer see to read. We laughed, we cryed, we thoroughly enjoyed this book. Each character was described so well, we could picture each one. Loved this book, waiting for more from this author.
southcoastmom More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and was sorry when it ended. The strong female characters are wise, sweet and quirky and they open CeeCee's eyes up to a whole new world. My absolute favorite is the housekeeper. The descriptions of Savannah and surrounding areas are beautiful and accurate and will make you wish you were there too. A delightful read, I highly recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found myself wishing I lived in Savannah, Georgia on Gaston St. The characters were lovable, vibrant and so colorful! The cover of the book attracted me and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved this book. When you miss the characters at the end of the book, then you know it was a great read.
sweetpeaSP More than 1 year ago
Cecelia Rose Honeycutt is a darling 12 year old girl struggling to find her place in a small town in Ohio. CeeCee's mother, the former beauty queen, is slipping into madness, severe mental illness. Her father is never around because he can't cope with his wife's illness. All CeeCee wants is a friend, and to be accepted by her peers but with her mother's peculiar behavior she has become an object of scorn and ridicule. When CeeCee's mother is struck and killed by a truck her great aunt takes CeeCee to her home in Savannah, Georgia. Aunt Tootie is a pure delight, a kind, warm Southern lady, who has only CeeCee's best interests at heart. Thus begins the story of CeeCee's new life in Savannah, surrounded by people who care about her and want only what is best for her. I loved this book. This is tragic at times but heartwarming and insightful, even funny and filled with hope. Wonderful!
SharonChance More than 1 year ago
In "Saving CeeCee Honeycutt," Beth Hoffman paints an amazing portrait of life in 1960s Georgia, capturing a certain unusual gentleness of the time, with the social and political upheaval of the world a long way from the beautiful bubble CeeCee inhabited. You can almost smell the sweet magnolia blossoms and the fresh peach preserves in every word. She has also captured the rarified glory of sweet female friendship that is so indicative of women raised in the South. (That's not to say Northern gals don't have close friendships, it just different below the Mason-Dixon line, sugar!) This is gorgeous and glorious novel that celebrates the indomitable strengths of those female friendships and how very much those friendships are cherished.
KimberleyNC More than 1 year ago
I must talk my husband into moving to Savannah! I could not put this book down, yet I did so I wouldn't fly through it in a day. The characters are real, charming, quirky, funny, endearing. I picked this up at the library, and now plan on buying it for my own library, as well as gifts for a few *girl*friends. I absolutely loved this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LOVED this book.  After reading, I passed it around to all of my friends.  It's a wonderful, touching story that is so well-written that it pulls the reader in  Great southern drama..
acorley84 More than 1 year ago
This was not a favorite of mine.  The story wasn't bad, and was well written with great characters, but it just didn't jump into my heart and capture me. You couldn't help but have empathy for poor CeeCee who seemed like such an intelligent little girl.  There were plenty of great characters who were able to fill the story! I believe that the story flowed smoothly and the characters were well-defined, it just wasn't a story that held my interest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a heartwarming book about love, loss, learning and overcoming through wonderful, supportive female relationships . It is an ending we all hope for. Another Steele Magnolias!
queenofpastures More than 1 year ago
I swallowed the publicity hook, line and sinker. If this novel was to be Steel Magnolias meets The Help, I was in. While enjoyable in a not-required-to-think-la-la-land sort of way, that sort of mindless romp was not what I was hoping for. There are some unexpected turns in the plot, which I commend, but the novel, for me, is only milquetoast.
Golden7 More than 1 year ago
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt had me captivated. I loved everything about this book. I felt as though I was right there along with them. Everytime I had to put the book down I could not wait to get back to them. I did not want the book to have and ending. I want to know more about CeeCee and her life. Thank you Beth Hoffman for writng such a heart warming captivating story. I absolutely loved it :-)
mariposaMM More than 1 year ago
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman was the first download to my new Nook. What a good book to initiate my e-reading! My heart broke for CeeCee as she tried to save her mother. She didn't even know that she needed saving herself. When she arrived in Savannah, I could empathize with how those first few days might have felt for her. In our lives, it is rare to have someone love us as our mothers do. CeeCee missed out on the love of her own mother, yet had three wonderful women love her as a daughter. Set mainly in Savannah, some attention to local details was included in the story. I wanted to travel to Savannah just to experience the hospitality and culture there.
CiiCii More than 1 year ago
For years now I have stayed away from fiction after reading too many books with flat characters and uninteresting plots. This book reminded me of why I fell in love with fiction in the first place- For me, it's the romantic ride of settling into your comfortable clothes, finding that most comfortable place to sit with your favorite drink in hand, and your beloved book in your lap; and waiting, just waiting to delve into a world of colorful characters while experiencing emotions ranging from sheer hate and despair to soaring hope, optimism and love. Tears, laughing out loud and soft little girl like giggles accompanying you along the way. This book brought it all back for me and was such a joy to read. It is one I'll likely read again and again. Thank you Beth Hoffman, for helping me to find my love of fiction once again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How many other people in life have had to endure what CeeCee did with a parent's mental/physical problems. A very enjoyable story to read with several strong, entertaining characters to add to the mix. Beth Hoffman's style of writing I can relate to so that made for an even better experience.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Readable but sappy and not true to life; nothwithstanding its status as fiction, its description of the main character's life is a fairytale; the dynamics of race relations is wholly false, and the last few chapters paint a picture of cotton candy life ?thstanding
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you liked "The Help" style of writing and atmosphere, then you'll like this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book. It's funny, quirky, witty, sad and triumphant! I have it in hard cover, paperback and now on my nook. I have read this a few times and have enjoyed it immensely. I have shared it with many friends who feel the same. It's a shame they didn't make this one in to a movie! Don't miss out on this one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is well written It has you laughing even though your heart is breaking for Ceecee
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked this book very much. Although the story begins with sorrow it soon results in an uplifting life for the main character who is so personable, so very likable, displaying wisdom and courage beyond her age. Many of the characters who begin to surround her, to influence her, to love her, to lighten her life with humor and understanding add much enjoyment to this book which I thought moved right along. A light easy read, but so much to enjoy. I especially liked the author's metaphors, the way she compares so many things in life, ordinary things that are often taken for granted, highlighted by her creativity, the way she cleverly inserts these into the story, adding to the enjoyment of this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I find it somewhere between 'The Help' and "The Secret Life of Bees." It is amazing how as women, we can embrace one another or exclude one another...on a whim.
travelbunny More than 1 year ago
language wise the book was easy to read. There was a very good plot here, but I felt the author just didn't develop it enough. At times I actually felt I was reading a book that was perhaps written for younger girls.
Sharon Karasek More than 1 year ago
A book you wish you could read for the first time again