Title: Eat, Drink, and Be From Mississippi
Author: Nanci Kincaid
Release Date: January 6, 2009
Challenge: 2009 Pub Challenge, Countdown Challenge, A to Z Challenge
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
From the dust jacket:
At least the young man on Truely Noonan’s doorstep is from the South. Truely, and his sister Courtney, are transplanted Mississippians who have made their fortunes in California, but they’re due for a change. They have more money than they ever dreamed of, homes with spectacular views, and their brother-sister bond is sweet and strong. But their marriages have disintegrated. Something inside rings hollow. They are both lost.
The young man, Arnold, doesn’t exactly look like a savior. A troubled teenager from the streets, he is talkative, thuggishly dressed, and clueless. Truely and Courtney turn Arnold into their mission, introducing him to foreign foods, bringing him books on tape, buying him new clothes. Arnold resists their good intentions at first, but he needs a place to stay, and at least he has good Southern manners. Then something shocking happens that shows Arnold in a new light – and it’s no longer clear who’s been changing and teaching whom.
Eat, Drink, and Be From Mississippi is a warmhearted, beautifully written, and uplifting story about love, family, and finding your way home.
Eat, Drink, and Be From Mississippi is a slow moving and beautifully written Southern novel. It is an extremely rich story about the meaning of family – those you are related to by blood, as well as those as you adopt as your own. I first heard about it from an Entertainment Weekly book review, in which the reviewer says that the novel isn’t believable (and then goes on to give it an A-). And, upon reflecting, its true – stripped down to the bare bones plot, the novel doesn’t have a very believable storyline. But the triumph of Eat, Drink, and Be From Mississippi is that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t have to be believable to be utterly charming and completely readable.
Though I said that Eat, Drink, and Be From Mississippi is a slow moving novel, that doesn’t mean it’s slow. There’s a careful distinction there. Though the novel moves at a lazy pace at times, it is always gripping. It never loses its forward momentum or the interest of the reader. Instead, the novel takes its time, meandering through Truely’s life. Kincaid makes sure to firmly establish Truely’s character before really beginning his story. Even if the book weren’t about a Southern boy from Mississippi, Eat, Drink, and Be From Mississippi would remind me of the South because of its lazy playfulness. If you like Southern novels, you’ll adore this book as much as I did.
Kincaid’s writing is part of what makes the novel such a gem. It’s beautifully whimsical – she doesn’t take herself or the characters too seriously. I’m honestly not sure what it is about the writing, but it completely sucks you into the novel. I think the writing is what makes the difference for this novel.
I thoroughly enjoyed Eat, Drink, and Be From Mississippi; I think it was an exceptionally well-written novel that kept me hooked from beginning to end. It’s a great read for a lazy day; you won’t be disappointed!
Thank you Miriam at Hachette for providing me this book to review!