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September 9, 2016

Looking Back - Cold Sassy Tree


Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.


Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
Fiction
1984 Delta
Finished in October 1996
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good!)

Publisher's Blurb:

The one thing you can depend on in Cold Sassy, Georgia, is that word gets around - fast. When Grandpa E. Rucker Blakeslee announces one July morning in 1906 that he's aiming to marry the young and freckledy milliner, Miss Love Simpson - a bare three weeks after Granny Blakeslee has gone to her reward - the news is served up all over town with that afternoon's dinner. And young Will Tweedy suddenly finds himself eyewitness to a major scandal. Boggled by the sheer audacity of it all, and not a little jealous of his grandpa's new wife, Will nevertheless approves of this May-December match and follows its progress with just a smidgen of youthful prurience. As the newlyweds' chaperone, conspirator, and confidant, Will is privy to his one-armed, renegade grandfather's second adolescence; meanwhile, he does some growing up of his own. He gets run over by a train and lives to tell about it; he kisses his first girl, and survives that too. Olive Ann Burns has given us a timeless, funny, resplendent novel - about a romance that rocks an entire town, about a boy's passage through the momentous but elusive year when childhood melts into adolescence, and about just how people lived and died in a small Southern town at the turn of the century. Inhabited by characters who are wise and loony, unimpeachably pious and deliciously irreverent, Cold Sassy, Georgia, is the perfect setting for the debut of a storyteller of rare brio, exuberance, and style.

My Original Notes (1996):

Great book! Very entertaining. I felt like I knew the characters and cried when one died. It was heartbreaking. It took me a few chapters to really get involved in the book, but once I did I couldn't put it down. The ending was so emotional that I rushed out to buy the sequel, so I could find out what happened next. The author never finished the second book, though. She died of cancer, but part of the book was published. I'm going to read it next, I think.

"Rich with emotion, humor and tenderness... a novel about an old man growing young, a young man growing up, and the modern age coming to a small southern town." ~ The Washington Post Book World

It was humorous. I laughed out loud quite a few times! 

My Current Thoughts:

I remember how much I enjoyed this book and how disappointed I was when I read the sequel. I still have a copy, so I think I'll hang on to it and read it when I'm in need of a good laugh.

Have you read either of Olive Ann Burn's novels? What did you think? 

About the Author:

Olive Ann Burns was born in Banks County, Georgia, in 1924. Because she made her appearance before her doctor made his, her father delivered her and placed her on a newspaper, so the printed word was literally her first contact with the world. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in journalism, she wrote for The Atlanta Journal Sunday Magazine. In 1976 Burns was diagnosed as having an unexpected illness, and she decided she would write a novel. The idea for Cold Sassy Tree grew from a family history she was working on with her sisters for their children. Burns collected stories of her father's, most of which focused on his grandfather, who owned a store in Commerce, Georgia, the model for Cold Sassy. The highly acclaimed sequel to Cold Sassy Tree, Leaving Cold Sassy, was Burns's final work before her death in 1990.  

12 comments:

  1. I am glad I never got around to the sequel if it disappointed you. I really enjoyed this one and still have my copy, too!

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    1. Kelly, I would certainly skip the sequel and give this one a reread someday.

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  2. I felt the same way about both books. I thought someone else finished Leaving Cold Sassy but I could be wrong.

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    1. Kathy, I found this interesting article on the Internet.

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  3. I remember reading this one with one of my book groups a long time ago and it was a definitely crowd pleaser! I never got around to the sequel.

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    1. Iliana, see my note above to Kathy.

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  4. I remember reading Cold Sassy Tree after it was recommended to me by a friend. This was before I kept notes on my reads, so I don't have anything written down about my first thoughts. I remember thinking CST is like a good Fannie Flagg book, with the friendliness of the people in the story, the humor and the occasional drama.

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    1. Deb, I agree. I think CST is very much like Fannie Flagg's books, particularly Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man (although, honestly, I don't remember a lot about that book, either!).

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  5. I think I kept my copy of this one, too, and I don't keep many books. I do remember liking it a lot but I swear I could not remember what it was about.

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    1. Lisa, it's one of those books that readers seem to remember fondly, but don't remember the details. Might be time for a re-read for all of us!

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  6. Les,
    I LOVE this book! Olive Ann Burns came to our local library to sign this book, and to my regret, I was not able to attend. (She died not long after publication, I think.)
    The way that she wrote of the differences between the small town people and those that lived in the country in Georgia? She got that just right. (My Dad would have been one of the country folks.) It is a book that I have taken to England and given to friends and family!

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    1. Kay G., this was a wonderful book, wasn't it?! Yes, she died shortly after the book, but was able to have a sequel (of sorts) published after her death. I wrote about that this past Friday.

      Thanks so much for commenting!

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