Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt (copy)

Cecelia "CeeCee" Rose Honeycutt was twelve-years-old when she realized life with her mother was getting worse. There were hints like the three straight weeks her mother went cuckoo crazy for shoes that resulted in overflowing shoeboxes in both bedroom closets. Another time she caught her mother sitting at the kitchen table sporting her favorite pink robe with candy apple stilettos peeking out from under the hem. One embarrassing time CeeCee arrived home from school to find her mother perched on the stoop wearing a ball gown and tiara.

CeeCee's father was no help. He was a travelling salesman who took every opportunity to get out of town and away from the family. He cut up the credit cards and yelled for her to take her medicine, but still she over shopped and walked around bewildered. When the money became tight, CeeCee's mom began to shop at the local Goodwill for prom dresses.

Many times CeeCee came home to a quiet, dark house. Climbing the steps she would see her mother immobilized in the upstairs bedroom pouring over a scrapbook filled with memorabilia and too lethargic to turn on the house lights. Other times she might catch her mother in a rage where fragile vases and china plates were flung around like a water sprinkler.

On this ominous day CeeCee would have to face facts. Returning from the library, she opened the front door and was greeted with a smelly gray smoke. She rushed into the kitchen to see a pot of macaroni and cheese overflowing onto the stove top. Upstairs she found her mother with the scrapbook poking a finger at one of the pictures. "My life is here; this is my 'real' life."

CeeCee looks into her mother's eyes and asked, "Momma, what's my name?"

"Why, CeeCee Rose of course and your friend is Nancy Drew."

"Well, sort of. Nancy Drew is a character in one of my books."

Camille Sugarbaker Honeycutt is stuck in 1951 where she remains forever the Vidalia Onion Queen. With an absent father and all her people in the South, who will take care of CeeCee? Her life is perched precariously on the ledge of an abyss and her mother is slowly elbowing her off.

Saving CeeCee Honecutt by Beth Hoffman is a new southern novel that brings the crazy back down home, because everyone knows our southern roots include insanity.

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