Hiding My Candy

Hiding My Candy: The Autobiography Of The Grand Empress Of SavannahHiding My Candy: The Autobiography Of The Grand Empress Of Savannah by The Lady Chablis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was very intrigued by this character after reading (and watching) Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, so when I discovered she wrote an autobiography I had to read it. She is witty, clever, and oh so full of herself… It gets a little wearing after awhile. I was hoping for something a little more serious and behind the scenes perhaps, but The Lady is all about image, and this book is all about perpetuating that, so nothing new here really. Still, it’s fascinating to try and understand someone who is on the opposite end of every imaginable spectrum from myself…

Book description:
After leaping off the pages with her unforgettable debut in John Berendt’s bestselling Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, the unabashed personality known as The Lady Chablis now brings her irresistible charisma to the remarkable odyssey of fabulousness that USA Today calls “sassy” and “provocative….” Born Benjamin Edward Knox in Quincy, Florida, “The Doll” always knew she was different. At a Tallahassee club, in her teens, she found the drag mother who would set her on the path to stardom. Before long, The Lady Chablis had a headline drag act replete with trademark saucy wit, down-home wisdom, and, of course, breasts. The rest is “Miss Thang” history….

 

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The Time Traveler’s Wife

The Time Traveler's WifeThe Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the kind of book that inevitably touches on all kinds of existential questions, the meaning of time, and the nature of love. Told alternately through their own eyes, they occasionally come across as extremely self-absorbed and perhaps even shallow characters, but part of that is just the lens through which we are viewing these characters. I did not find the jogging back and forth in time to be confusing. What was chronological for Clare, was not for Henry and vice versa. I was tempted to go back and try and read the segments chronologically for Henry. Although I put the book down for several months somewhere in the middle, I was able to go back to it and pick it up without rereading. So maybe that says something, too, about the nature of time as it is experienced through the book. I liked the side characters perhaps more than Henry and Clare. Alba seemed more mature than either of her parents. I’m not sure Clare ever really grew up. She seems a bit frozen in time, while Henry is in and out of her life.

Description: A most untraditional love story, this is the celebrated tale of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who involuntarily travels through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare’s passionate affair endures across a sea of time and captures them in an impossibly romantic trap that tests the strength of fate and basks in the bonds of love.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire HunterAbraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This might have gotten another star from me, but I just wasn’t in the mood for blood and gore. Though it lacks the cleverness of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the alternative history presented is quite believable! With the extensive “introduction” about how the author was given the journals and the dictum to write a book from them, I expected to return to the narrator at the end with some twist or other, so it felt a bit incomplete at the end. While P&P&Z stuck quite closely to Jane Austen’s text (which is what made it work, in my opinion!), this book was derived from a mix of historical stuff with some madeup history (like Lincoln meeting Poe) thrown in, so the whole thing was a lot more ambiguous as to what was historical and what wasn’t. Yes, this is fiction, but I think it might have been stronger with an actual underlying source. In the end, it almost works. I just think this book could have been so much more.

Description: While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.

Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation.

Saving CeeCee Hunneycutt

Saving CeeCee HoneycuttSaving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A quick read and a heart-warming story with some brilliantly laugh-out-loud moments. While the book touches on some dark topics – mental illness, child neglect, prejudice, racial injustice – you know that everything is going to be just fine. Reading this book is like watching a Shirley Temple movie. I especially enjoyed the photographic adventures of the traveling brassiere. Everyone should have friends and surrogate mothers like these women.

Description: Twelve-year-old CeeCee Honeycutt is in trouble. For years, she has been the caretaker of her psychotic mother, Camille-the tiara-toting, lipstick-smeared laughingstock of an entire town-a woman trapped in her long-ago moment of glory as the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen. But when Camille is hit by a truck and killed, CeeCee is left to fend for herself. To the rescue comes her previously unknown great-aunt, Tootie Caldwell.

In her vintage Packard convertible, Tootie whisks CeeCee away to Savannah’s perfumed world of prosperity and Southern eccentricity, a world that seems to be run entirely by women. From the exotic Miz Thelma Rae Goodpepper, who bathes in her backyard bathtub and uses garden slugs as her secret weapons, to Tootie’s all-knowing housekeeper, Oletta Jones, to Violene Hobbs, who entertains a local police officer in her canary-yellow peignoir, the women of Gaston Street keep CeeCee entertained and enthralled for an entire summer.

Laugh-out-loud funny and deeply touching, Beth Hoffman’s sparkling debut is, as Kristin Hannah says, “packed full of Southern charm, strong women, wacky humor, and good old-fashioned heart.” It is a novel that explores the indomitable strengths of female friendship and gives us the story of a young girl who loses one mother and finds many others.

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