Liz Murphy, the Learned Owl Book Shop, Hudson, Ohio
“Welcome to my world, baby girl” (to paraphrase Fannie Flagg's title) is what came to my mind on meeting the narrator of Beth Hoffman's delightful debut, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt (Viking, Jan.). Twelve-year-old CeeCee is a survivor. Alone too much, and with too much responsibility because of her psychotic mother, CeeCee is old beyond her years. When her mother dies, her mostly absent father sends her south from Ohio to Savannah under the care of her never-before-seen Great Aunt Tootie. The reader is introduced to a wide assortment of Southern women, each of whom plays a role in CeeCee's healing and coming to terms with her life. Each character also helps paint a detailed picture of the dichotomy between the “old South,” with its decaying gentry, and the changing South, where black and white are more than servant/mistress and white gloves are being exchanged for jeans and flip-flops. This lovely novel has earned the status of “LizPick” even before it's published.