Title: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
Author: Beth Hoffman
Release Date: January 12, 2010
Publisher: Viking Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Cecelia Rose Honeycutt is only twelve years old and is already responsible for her mentally unstable mother. Her father has virtually abandoned them both, unable to deal with his wife’s highs and lows, and leaving poor CeeCee to cope with her madness.
Just when CeeCee thinks she can’t take it anymore, the unthinkable happens and her mother meets with tragedy. CeeCee’s life changes completely, and she begins to blossom in an environment surrounded by strong, independent women who care for her welfare.
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is a book that’s difficult to classify in terms of genre. It’s not women’s fiction because the protagonist is only twelve years old, but it’s not YA either. It’s set in the 1960’s, so it could be historical fiction, but the novel is much more about the characters than the history. It really is a Southern fiction novel, if that can be considered a genre of its own.
CeeCee is an absolutely wonderful character. Often, it’s frustrating to read novels where children are the narrators because they speak in the voices of adults. It’s difficult to write a convincing child without making her too precocious or unbelievably smart. However, Hoffman pulls it off like an expert – CeeCee is warm, sweet, and very intelligent, but it’s clear she’s still a child. Her emotions aren’t ridiculously complex, yet she isn’t annoyingly immature. Because of the situation with her mother, she’s been forced to grow up too fast for a child her age. She’s incredibly complicated, yet her wonderful simplicity is what makes her so appealing.
Hoffman touches on a lot of different serious issues in Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, including mental illness and racism, yet they never drag the book down. This is a light, sweet novel full of Southern charm. Hoffman doesn’t shy away from these problems, but she manages to tackle them in such a way so that the innate goodness of this book remains intact.
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is a novel I’d handsell – it’s extraordinarily sweet, but is never sappy or corny. Reading this book restores a little bit of innocence in a world that can be dark, ugly, and cruel. It was a wonderful read that I definitely recommend.