So this is an idea I snagged from the online version of Library Journal. One Thursday a month I will dust off an older book that I have read and give it its day in the sun. This month's books is Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns.
Here is the description of the book from amazon.com:
"On July 5, 1906, scandal breaks in the small town of Cold Sassy, Georgia, when the proprietor of the general store, E. Rucker Blakeslee, elopes with Miss Love Simpson. He is barely three weeks a widower, and she is only half his age and a Yankee to boot. As their marriage inspires a whirlwind of local gossip, fourteen-year-old Will Tweedy suddenly finds himself eyewitness to a family scandal, and that’s where his adventures begin."
I first read this book in the ninth grade and absolutely loved it. I re-read this book in eleventh grade and I liked it just as much, if not more, the second time around. So many authors who write Southern fiction tend to make their characters so off the wall or eccentric that they go beyond being colorful and into the realm of completely unbelievable. Frequently I want to ask them 1) if they realize that they have reinforced a lot of the stereotypes about the South, and 2) who they knew in real life who came anywhere close to the characters they've written about. This is not the case with Cold Sassy Tree. While the characters in this book are certainly unique and the events are mostly humorous, you never get the feeling that the author is trying to make fun of them. Or that she was trying to win first place in "craziest Southern family" contest. This is an easy read, but with more substance to it than what would be classified as a "beach read." Highly enjoyable.
If you are looking for a pleasant, fun read, I highly recommend Cold Sassy Tree.