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Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns

Cold Sassy Tree (original 1984; edition 2007)

by Olive Ann Burns

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3,194601,744 (3.92)88
Title:Cold Sassy Tree
Authors:Olive Ann Burns
Info:Mariner Books (2007), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:listsofbests to get
Tags:unowned, listsofbests, teenreads.com ultimate reading list

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Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns (1984)

  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.
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    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (bnbookgirl)
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    A Painted House by John Grisham (dara85)
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    Empire Falls by Richard Russo (readerbabe1984, readerbabe1984)
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    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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One of the modern classics I had heard much of (it being set in Georgia, where I was born, raised, and now currently live), but never read. Not in my wheelhouse, really. But I won the sequel in a white elephant book exchange recently, and was advised I needed to read this one for the other one to work. It's a fast moving and entertaining tale, but does suffer from the dreaded transcribed accents, which, as I have said previously, bug the crap out of me. Ah well. ( )
  Jon_Hansen | Apr 2, 2017 |
You know that painful gritty feeling in your eyes when you have hay fever? *heavy sigh* It isn’t always hay fever. If it transitions into feeling excruciatingly like iron filings in your eyes, take yourself off to the optometrist and get it treated. Quick smart. No mucking about. It’s a disorder affecting the cells in your eyes, and you will need drops and sticky creams involving steroids and specially designed eye heat pads at bedtime to fix it.

And that’s how I came to listen to Sue’s gift of this Cold Sassy Tree audiobook at bedtime. For the best part of the last fortnight I set up the next CD before glueing my eyelids together and I drifted off to sleep to the sound of Tom Parks reading this deceptively nostalgic story about a small turn-of-the-century town in the US state of Georgia.

The first few CDs focussed on the scandal engulfing the town. Narrated by 14-year-old Will Tweedy, the story explains how the gossips had a field day when his grandfather E. Rucker Blakeslee, proprietor of the general store, eloped with his milliner Miss Love Simpson just three weeks after his wife had died. Will, too young to understand everything, but old enough to be a keen observer, soon discovers that this is no love match but rather a marriage of convenience for both of them. It’s easy enough to deduce his reasons: Grandpa needs a wife the way that blokes did need wives in the days when women did all the home management. But Miss Love’s reasons are more opaque…

As the story progresses Will has (innocent) adventures with a girl, and a hair-raising narrow escape with a train, and so the reader is swept along in what seems like gentle nostalgia for a bygone age. But there is some careless racism involving African-American bit players in the story which made me wonder a bit… Olive Ann Burns published this in 1984, and it seemed surprising to my 21st century eyes that even in 1984 an author could be oblivious to the offence that must be caused by its indifferent representation of racial inequity. There’s also a lot of heavy-duty Christianity which became tiresome – perhaps it was authentic, but I felt that the author was playing to a particular type of audience in the south.

Or was she?

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2017/03/30/cold-sassy-tree-by-olive-ann-burns-read-by-tom-parker/ ( )
  anzlitlovers | Mar 29, 2017 |
To begin with, please do not compare this to To Kill a Mockingbird. It's not really fair to do that, because it raises expectations a little too high. This is a vivid, realistic depiction of small town life and a family, warts and all. The dialogue is good and reminds me so much of my great grandmother and her kids (my Paw Paw and great aunts and uncles). Unlike To Kill a Mockingbird, it does not focus on human rights and social issues. I would say it is more of a study of personality. There are hints at the social injustices going on all around Will Tweedy and he seems aware of some of them, but they are not the focus of this story and no great wrongs are going to be righted or even fought about. That's not what this story is about. So if you go in expecting characters like Atticus Finch and Boo Radley, you will be disappointed. But that's not the author's fault. Read Cold Sassy Tree for its own sake and its own characters, and you are just about bound to enjoy it. You might even cry at the end. ( )
  aurelas | Dec 23, 2016 |
Cold Sassy Tree - Olive Ann Burns
Audio performance by Grover Gardner
3 stars

Cold Sassy Tree is a small town in Georgia. It’s 1906. It’s new century, and despite lingering scars of the Civil War, progress will come to Cold Sassy Tree. Things are changing in the country, in the state, in the little town and especially in Will Tweedy’s interesting family.

I’m not sure what to think about this book. There’s warmth and humor, but it’s also sad. Somehow, I got very pulled down by in the petty meanness and the small minded bigotry of Cold Sassy Tree. It made it difficult for me to appreciate the humor. Maybe I was affected by our current 21st century political climate. Or, maybe I’m just too much of a damn Yankee.

This was one of the ‘free’ audible books offered with my amazon prime subscription. I was irritated with the quality of the recording. Maybe the difficulty was that I had to ‘stream’ the book rather than download, but it had an annoying tendency to skip like a broken record. Overall, an underwhelming experience. ( )
  msjudy | Oct 11, 2016 |
Read it; it's worth it. ( )
  JennysBookBag.com | Sep 28, 2016 |
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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."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 038531258X, Paperback)

If the preacher's wife's petticoat showed, the ladies would make the talk last a week. But on July 5, 1906, things took a scandalous turn. That was the day E. Rucker Blakeslee, proprietor of the general store and barely three weeks a widower, eloped with Miss Love Simpson—a woman half his age and, worse yet, a Yankee! On that day, fourteen-year-old Will Tweedy's adventures began and an unimpeachably pious, deliciously irreverent town came to life. Not since To Kill A Mockingbird has a novel so deftly captured the subtle crosscurrents of small-town Southern life. Olive Ann Burns classic bestseller brings to vivid life an era that will never exist again, exploring timeless issues of love, death, coming of age, and the ties that bind families and generations.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:29 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

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)

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