DNF: Looking For Me by Beth Hoffman

Looking-for-meDNF at 50%

Because I so loved the author’s debut novel, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, I picked up Looking For Me (Penguin, 2013) by Beth Hoffman on my Kindle.

Looking For Me was a different story and writing style than CeeCee. The narrator, Teddie Overman, is an adult woman (as opposed to the adolescent CeeCee), and the first half of the story fluctuates between her current life as a single antique furniture refurbisher in Charleston and her childhood memories of growing up on a farm in Kentucky. In particular, Teddie is trying to piece together what happened to her brother, Josh, who mysteriously disappeared many years ago.

While the writing is cozy, safe and sweet, the stories – both past and present – meander along for hundreds of pages without any sense of urgency, direction, or plot. At about halfway in, when nothing more seemed to be happening outside Teddie’s furniture business, I skipped ahead to see if she’d make any progress, solve the mystery of her missing brother, or experience any interesting revelations otherwise. Nothing more unfolds or is determined, other than an eventual love interest, who is fairly unrelated to the rest of the story and isn’t prevalent enough to deem the novel a romance.

Because the story in general lacked plot and direction, and a resolution was missing from the ending, I was not invested enough to go back and read the remaining 50%. The writing, however, is good. This title may appeal to readers of southern lit and fans of Fannie Flagg, or anyone seeking a story featuring a mature narrator with slow, easy pacing and real-life settings.

Book Review: Dear America: I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly, The Diary of Patsy, A Freed Girl (Mars Bluff, South Carolina 1865) by Joyce Hansen

i-thought-my-soul-would-rise-and-fly-by-joyce-hansen-on-bookdragon1-800x1155The protagonist of this Coretta Scott King Award-winning novel is Patsy, a freed slave down South after the Civil War, who walks with a limp and stutters. She is believed by most to be simple and dull-minded, but what she lacks in the realms of speech and expression, she makes up for in her rare ability to read and write quite proficiently, which she learned while attending to her former master’s children during their schooling. Though Patsy and the other former slaves are technically free, nothing about their lives and their work has truly changed. Most simply do not know where to go, or are indebted in some way and forced to continue serving the same master. This frustrates the African American community and the author does well in expressing the seeming hopelessness and anticlimax after the Civil War.

Lots of vivid characters, an interesting insight into the politics among servants and the dysfunctional households whom they served. A fairly good read and a satisfying ending.