In the tiny Georgia hamlet of Between (population: 91), the only news is the seemingly never-ending feud between the Crabtrees and the Fretts. Caught at the crux of the quarrel is Nonny Frett, the biological daughter of impoverished teenager Hazel Crabtree. Soon after her birth, Nonny was left "on the better side of the tracks" with the relatively affluent Frett family. Now grown up and badly married, this true "betweener" must confront old family conflicts as she negotiates a new life and motherhood.
Jackson, whose first novel was Gods in Alabama , has a gift for juggling a zillion movable parts. Adept at the kind of farce that requires characters to hide from each other in the bushes, she's also good at poignancy and at darker scenes of mayhem. There's so much back-story that it takes the reader a while to get oriented, but once you've got it straight, Jackson produces an astringently humorous performance.
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but listeners will guess that for themselves from the first few tracks of this wonderfully realized audiobook. Her brand of Southern fiction was born to be read out loud, with its quirky characters and astute observations about human nature. And Jackson herself is the one to do it; it's clear throughout the narration that she's having a raucous time as raconteur. As she spills forth the story of Nonny, a young Georgia woman caught in the tumble of a feud between her adoptive and biological families, there is palpable energy and sustained warmth. What is especially surprising is how skillfully Jackson manages the large array of divergent character voices, from the calm, matter-of-fact tones of Nonny's adopted mother to the wild redneck sensibility of her biological grandmother. Particularly delicious is Jackson's nasal, braying inflection to portray Nonny's bossy and narrow-minded aunt Bernise. The one place Jackson's dexterity falls short is in the novel's male voices, which sometimes fall flat. Otherwise, this is a delight from start to finish. Simultaneous release with the Warner hardcover (Reviews, May 3). (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
An entertaining adult novel that will have appeal to older teenagers since it falls into the bordering-on-outrageous shenanigans of a quirky Southern familywell, two families actually. Nonny is the illegitimate daughter of a Crabtree teenager who has been adopted into the Frett family, with a mother who is deaf and blind and brilliant. She has grown up in the small town, with her Crabtree grandmother nearby, always trying to get a piece of her, angry that her grandchild is being raised by the Fretts. It's a long story, that part of it, but readers will enjoy every tidbit. The plot of this novel is basically about the events of a few days in which Nonny is trying to get divorced from her cheating husband, and trying to find a way to establish peace between the warring factions of the Fretts and the Crabtrees. A five-year-old girl being raised by Nonny's aunt is essential to the story. And, just to complicate things further, Nonny is falling in love again, this time with a Crabtree. Between, Georgia is actually the name of a town. It's also, obviously, a metaphor for Nonny being "between" in so many aspects of her life, and this time she is determined to push ahead and find her own authentic self. Totally enjoyable fiction. Take note, there are some sexual situations and swear words.
After a great debut with Gods in Alabama, Jackson's follow-up poses the same dilemma for readers: you can't wait to finish it but don't want it to end. Between, GA, is a real place-it lies between Athens and Atlanta-but Jackson's little town is fictional. Thirty-year-old Nonny exemplifies "between": she works as an interpreter for the deaf in Athens, yet the folks she loves are in Between; her erstwhile husband is in Athens, but a little girl in Between owns her heart. Plus, two local feuding clans make Nonny a Frett by name but a Crabtree by birth. Jackson gives us Southern chick lit with a twist while she explores, mostly through spunky female characters, the themes of family obligations, nature vs. nurture, the mysteries of love, and the gods at work. While the subplot with Nonny's husband stretches credulity at times, the characters, especially Nonny's deaf-blind mother and her two polar opposite aunts, are spot on. Jackson's got a winner, and public libraries will definitely need multiple copies.-Rebecca Kelm, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
A long-standing family feud threatens to destroy a southern town. In her accomplished second novel, Jackson (Gods in Alabama, 2005) sweeps the reader away to a place where gravel crunches underfoot and the smell of corn bread wafts in the air. Between, a tiny dot on the Georgia state map, is oversized when it comes to personalities. When Ona Crabtree's vicious Doberman attacks Genny Frett, it shatters the town's harmony and reignites the embers of a bitter quarrel that began 30 years earlier with the birth of Nonny Jane. A Crabtree by blood, she was adopted by a Frett, forever placing her in limbo between the warring families. They seem to be polar opposites: The Crabtrees perch on the edge of society, taking lawlessness as their guiding principle; the Fretts, whose prosperous business has turned Between into an offbeat tourist destination, are ruled by propriety. At heart, however, the two clans are more similar than they may care to admit. Both have members with fiery tempers and capable of holding on tight to a grudge. During her childhood, Nonny became accustomed to being the prize in their bitter tug of war. Now an adult living an hour's drive away, she must come to terms with her own culpability in this horrid feud. Upon learning about the Doberman attack, she races back to Between. Her sick Aunt Genny and her aging mother aren't the only people pulling her home; the town also holds a potential sweetheart (if Nonny can make a final break with her soon-to-be-ex-husband) and a neglected niece. With her short fuse and history of bungled relationships, Nonny won't be able to broker a peace agreement and spare future generations of Between's children from this bitter fight until sheclaims ownership of her life. The plot is precise and sweet, and Jackson includes the perfect ingredients: quirky characters, a picturesque setting and ample surprises. Evocative and lovingly crafted.