Usually I am not a big fan of so-called feel-good novels. But I have to say, Beth Hoffman's Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, or CeeCee Honeycutts Reddende Engler as it is called in Norwegian, was exactly what I needed right now. An easily accessible novel with that made me laugh and smile while reading.
CeeCee Honeycutt is a very smart 12-year old. Unfortunately her mother has severe psychological problems, and her father have all but abandoned CeeCee in her mother's "care" (more like lack thereof). We have a classical case of the narcissistic mother who is being mothered by her child. Hence CeeCee's maturity. It sounds like the recipe for a tragedy, but as the title indicates, there is hope. CeeCee prays and prays, and suddenly her guardian angels start entering the scene. All it took was her mother's death.
CeeCee is swept away to Savannah by her mother's kind and strong aunt.- She suddenly finds herself in a mansion, surrounded by the loving care of "aunt Tootie" and her maid Oletta. The neighbourhood has some eccentric female characters that CeeCee befriends, and slowly but surely CeeCee starts to realise that she can create her own future despite the problems in her past.
There are some conflicts in the text. CeeCee goes with Oletta and two of her friends to spend a day at the beach. Suddenly they are confronted with racism and hatred so strong that there is nothing they can do about it. The encounter gives CeeCee night terrors, but Oletta manages to get her through it. In the end, the conflict is solved through no effort on the characters' part. There is also the neighbouring gossip and tramp who is the source of much ridicule among the people in the novel. Once more the conflict is "solved" without much effort. There is also the issue of CeeCee's absent father and CeeCee's conflict with herself on weather or not she should forgive him. She realises that forgiveness feels best for the one forgiving, but she is still not sure if she can simply give up her bitterness.
The novel is full of eccentric and strong women- Most of them are quite wise, which can be a little annoying at times. And CeeCee is a little too mature at times, despite knowing that she's had to grow up fast.
At the heart of the novel is friendship: friendships between women that accepts and uplifts. If you want a nice cup of instant feel-good, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is just the ticket.