Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cold Sassy Tree Olive Ann Burns

This is just what I needed this week.  It has been a while since I've read a book that I loved.  Thank you Colby for the advice to "stop what you are doing and read this now."  I loved this book!  Years and years ago (during high school maybe?), I read this after my aunt recommended it to my mom or something.  I remember I liked it, but I didn't remember anything else.  Now I can't believe I could ever forget forget it because I enjoyed reading it so much.
Cold Sassy is a fictional town in Georgia, and this book takes place in 1906.  Will Tweedy is 14, and tells the story about his family and the events that changed them that summer.  I enjoyed his voice and the southern accents, "ast," " 'tweren't," "swannee."  Olive Ann Burns uses her characters' voices to create the whole feel of the town.

In the second page of the book Will Tweedy says, "I and my little redheaded sister, Mary Toy, always followed him down the hall and he usually gave us each a stick of penny candy."  Don't you love how he added that little detail about Mary Toy?  I liked him right away.  Just a few pages later, when describing Miss Love Simpson he says "I had always admired Miss Love, with all that wavy brown hair piled atop her head, and that smiley, freckledy face and those friendly gray-blue eyes.  She was a merry person, like Grandpa."  Wouldn't you love to be described as a "merry person"?

There is a sweet story that his Grandma would tell about his Grandpa, "When he come back to Cold Sassy after the War, he was the handsomest man you ever seen and I was a old maid.  Twenty-one year old and never had a beau in my life.  I was fixin' to go to church one Sunday morning when this good-lookin' feller, he tapped me on the shoulder and said, 'Ain't you Miss Mattie Lou Toy?  You don't need no sermon today.  Stay out here and le's talk.'...So we stayed in the churchyard, like a re'lar courtin' couple, and talked one another's ears off.....Fore that day was over Mr. Blakeslee said he was a-go'n marry me..."  Cold Sassy Tree is filled with these little heart-warming moments. 

I also loved the sweet wisdom that Grandpa shares in nuggets throughout the book.  Like, "Livin' is like pourin' water out of a tumbler into a dang Coca-Cola bottle.  If'n you skeered you cain't do it, you cain't.  If'n you say to youreself, 'By dang, I can do it!' then, by dang, you won't slosh a drop."  Later after Will escapes a close run in with a train he is asking his Grandpa if it was God's will that he survived.  His Grandpa said, "What God give you was a brain.  Hit's His will for you to use it--p'tickler when a train's comin'."  Grandpa's religious explanations were especially meaningful.  He offers a "family prayer" right after Will's accident that is so great. 

Cold Sassy is a small town, the kind that makes "small town" an adjective. I loved how when tragedy strikes, they gather together, bring food, and take care of each other.  Of course, the other side of the coin was how when anything happens, there is someone there to judge, report and repeat what had happened.  There are so many examples of this in the story.

I loved the family dynamics, and really how no one is perfect.  Will makes some choices that drive you crazy, and Aunt Loma is such a pill, but by the end they have really endeared themselves to you.  At least they did to me.  I loved the Grandpa's teachings and his critiques of preachin' and where he thought the pastors were getting it wrong. 

This book is getting a spot in my top 10. 


Sharlene, Mom, Grammy said...

Wow. Kammy, with a review like this, I'm heading to the library. Sounds great. I'm in the middle of a book right now, but this is next on my list. said...

One of my all time favorites! "Bed of Roses" makes me cry every time. There's a sequel, but the author was battling cancer and never got to finish it.

Amy said...

I loved this book! I agree with you on the Grandpa's thoughts about God. This book just makes me happy all around!

salty c-snake said...

Glad you reliked it kammy!! What is it about the southern voice that is so entertaining to read?? Ok, I don't want to have any spoilers here, but what did you end up thinking about the Grandpa's romance? I couldn't help myself, I felt bad for Grandma, it bothered me. But still loved the book!!

Kammy T said...

I did feel bad for Grandma too. If it weren't for that one conversation, I wouldn't have had any problem with his romance. But I still liked him a lot!