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My Sweet Vidalia by Deborah Mantella
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My Sweet Vidalia

by Deborah Mantella

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Kudos to Deborah Mantella on her amazing and descriptive storytelling in "My Sweet Vidalia" by Deborah Mantella. I received a copy of this book for an honest review.

This is a most unusual and intriguing novel. The genres for this book are Fiction, Women's Fiction and also has a Magical and Paranormal feel to it.

The story takes place in rural Georgia around 1955. In this book, the story is narrated by Cieli Mae, a baby that was still born to Vidalia Lee Kandal Jackson. Vidalia's husband caused her to lose the baby through violent means. Cieli Mae survives in spirit and serves as a guide, conscience,support system, and storytelling of Vidalia .

These were hard times and there was poverty and discrimination. The descriptions of the trailer park, and the lack of conveniences were heartbreaking.

I find that the author describes the characters as complex and complicated. There seems to be a contrast in good and evil. Some of the characters have deep secrets. There is betrayal and loyalty.

I appreciate the way the author describes family, friends, love and hope. To quote the author, the spirit always has a choice.". I would highly recommend this amazing novel told in a different perspective. I look forward to reading more from Deborah Mantella. ( )
  teachlz | May 8, 2017 |
The baby narrates. The baby, Cieli May, who was stillborn because her father brutally beat her mother, seventeen-year-old Vidalie Lee Kandal Jackson. Cieli May says, “Doc placed my body oh-so-gently upon my Vidalia’s emptied belly, and my spirit melded with hers. We’d been upended, but not undone.” Cieli May’s spirit stayed with Vidalia, initially comforting her, and then gently guiding her through life’s ups and downs. What happened to make Jamerson (JB) Jackson so brutal? Vidalia refers to his mom as Gamma Gert, who raised him on her own. She, lovingly but wrongly, made excuses for him time after time giving him an expectation that the world owed him. And, so Gamma Gert, excusing him yet again said, “My boy didn’t mean nothin’. He just don’t know his strength is all.”

This took place in the mid-fifties in impoverished rural Georgia. It was thought-provoking but an emotionally hard story to read. My heart went out to Vidalia and to the spirit of her dead baby daughter. But, Vidalia endeavors to keep going with the help of some unlikely people. Although Gamma Gert seems blind to her boy’s actions, she’s also loving to Vidalia and helps her return to health. Vidalia eventually gives birth to two sets of twins, for which Cieli May helps her to watch over. The southern dialect was charming and the culture and characters were true-to-life. Deborah Mantella has created a very engaging debut. Rating: 4 out of 5. ( )
  FictionZeal | Feb 4, 2016 |
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For my dad, who taught me to always measure twice.
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My momma believes all babies to be gifts from God, no matter what.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 163026959X, Paperback)

On July 4, 1955, in rural Georgia, an act of violence threatens the life of Vidalia Lee Kandal's pre-born daughter. Despite the direst of circumstances, the spirit of the lost child refuses to leave her ill-equipped young mother's side.

For as long as she is needed―through troubled pregnancies, through poverty, through spousal abuse and agonizing betrayals―Cieli Mae, the determined spirit child, narrates their journey. Serving as a safe place and sounding board for Vidalia's innermost thoughts and confusions, lending a strength to her momma's emerging voice, Cieli Mae provides her own special brand of comfort and encouragement, all the while honoring the restrictions imposed by her otherworldly status.

Vidalia finds further support in such unlikely townsfolk and relations as Doc Feldman, Gamma Gert and her Wild Women of God, and, most particularly, in Ruby Pearl Banks, the kind, courageous church lady, who has suffered her own share of heartache in their small Southern town of yesteryear's prejudices and presumptions.

My Sweet Vidalia is wise and witty, outstanding for its use of vibrant, poetic language and understated Southern dialect, as well as Mantella's clear-eyed observations of "race relations" as "human relations," a cast of unforgettable characters, an in-depth exploration of the ties that bind, and its creative perspective. My Sweet Vidalia is a rare, wonderful, and complex look at hope, strength, the unparalleled power of unconditional love, and a young mother's refusal to give up.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 03 Jul 2015 00:57:52 -0400)

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