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Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns

Cold Sassy Tree (1984)

by Olive Ann Burns

Series: Cold Sassy (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,622712,399 (3.91)113
Modern times come to a conservative Southern town in 1906 when the proprietor of the general store elopes with a woman half his age, and worse yet, a Yankee. 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.… (more)
  1. 120
    Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg (citygirl)
    citygirl: Small, Southern towns of yesteryear, with a folksy feel and entertaining characters.
  2. 133
    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (bnbookgirl)
  3. 61
    A Painted House by John Grisham (dara85)
  4. 40
    Empire Falls by Richard Russo (readerbabe1984, readerbabe1984)
  5. 10
    Unquiet Earth by Denise Giardina (readerbabe1984)
  6. 00
    On Agate Hill by Lee Smith (ReneeReader)
    ReneeReader: While more serious than Cold Sassy Tree most of the time, On Agate Hill taps into a similar vein of Southern life in the time soon after the war. In this case it’s a girl coming of age, not a boy. On Agate Hill reads like a diary too.
  7. 00
    The Darling Dahlias and the Silver Dollar Bush by Susan Wittig Albert (ReneeReader)
    ReneeReader: While the Darling Dahlias are a mystery series, they’re well written and researched by the experienced hand of Susan Wittig Albert. They feature a set of interesting women during the war in a small Southern town. The tales and characters are often humorous although usually a bit lighter. A true flavor of Southern life in the past.… (more)
  8. 00
    Lake Wobegon Days by Garrison Keillor (ReneeReader)
    ReneeReader: Humorous small town life with strong characters although Midwest rather than in the South.
  9. 00
    The Reivers by William Faulkner (TheDivineOomba)
    TheDivineOomba: The Reivers by William Faulkner has a similar feel as Cold Sassy, with a similar leading character. But the Reivers is a bit more dark and has a more solid story.

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» See also 113 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 71 (next | show all)
A fine, southern read.

Reminded me of a Mark Twain Huckleberry Finn/ Tom Sawyer. Lots of interesting episodic hijinks with a boy living in Georgia. Thoughtful observations from his Grandfather - a man who doesn't always seem easy to take (or always do the right thing). ( )
  mrklingon | Dec 3, 2019 |
I could not finish this book. I forced myself to keep reading/skimming until I got to chapter 17. One of the ladies at my book club said that if I liked "Gone With the Wind," I would enjoy this book. Umm. No. Sadly, this is not the case. You know that scene in Gone With the Wind where the city of Atlanta is burning down? I wish someone would toss this book in the fire too...

( )
  caslater83 | Sep 20, 2018 |
Digital Audiobook performed by Grover Gardner

Thirteen-year-old Will Tweedy narrates Burns’ historical novel which takes place in the small Georgia town of Cold Sassy Tree circa 1906. It starts when his grandfather, E Rucker Blakeslee elopes with Miss Love Simpson. It’s a scandal, given that Blakeslee’s wife was buried just three weeks prior, that Miss Simpson is only half Blakeslee’s age, and even worse, Love is a Yankee!

Oh ,what a treat this novel is! The characters are richly drawn, and cover the gamut of personalities. I was completely engaged in the story from beginning to end, laughing aloud several times as I watched the residents engage in gossip and speculation. Change is a constant theme … from the personal relationships to the introduction of automobiles, the citizens of Cold Sassy Tree manage to adjust, sometimes with grace and other times with more than a little consternation.

Will is a wonderful observer with the curiosity of a young boy, especially when it comes to relationships between male and female adults. I loved the pranks he played and the tall tales he wove. And was touched by the tenderness of his first love.

Grover Gardner does a marvelous job performing the audio. He has a lot of characters to interpret and does a great job of Will Tweedy and Grandpa Blakeslee. He even does an acceptable rendition of the female voices. ( )
  BookConcierge | Sep 14, 2018 |
The cornpone humor and outrageous characters grew on me as I got further into this story about 14-year-old Will Tweedy, his recently widowed Grandpa and Grandpa's young bride, Love Simpson. As Southern literature goes, this was more on the 'Hee Haw' end of the spectrum but it still had some touching insights into human nature and sincere affirmations of faith. ( )
  wandaly | Jun 9, 2018 |
Setting is Georgia in the early 1900's. The first 60 pages is a slow go. I didn't think the author would ever go beyond the Granny dying. The only thing that kept me going was the Southern way of talking. I would have loved to have heard this book on audio!
Story is told by a young boy Will Tweedy and tells about his relationships with his family, esp his grandfather E. Rucker Blakeslee. After Granny dies, Will Tweedy's grandfather remarries within 3 weeks. She's much younger and a Yankee which sets the tongues wagging in this small town of Cold Sassy Tree. Besides this ruckus, the story also dwells on all of Will Tweedy's laughable antics and they are many.
I probably would not have read this but it was a book club book, but having said that, I am glad that I did finish it. ( )
  travelgal | Feb 24, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 71 (next | show all)

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To Andy my beloved
To Becky and John our grown children
And to my father who was fourteen in 1906
First words
Three weeks after Granny Blakeslee died, Grandpa came to our house for his early morning snort of whiskey, as usual, and said to me, "Will Tweedy? Go find your mama, then run up to yore Aunt Loma's and tell her I said git on down here. I got something to say. And I ain't a -go'n say it but once't."
To mourn is to be eaten alive with homesickness for the person.
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Average: (3.91)
1 13
1.5 1
2 50
2.5 7
3 187
3.5 40
4 331
4.5 44
5 256

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