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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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2,912501,981 (3.94)83
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)

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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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Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
So slow moving. Will Teeedy a young teenager and "town" boy lives in a small Georgia town in the early 1900's. His Grandpa, with whom he had a warm relationship, was a straight speaking store owner who married a second time shortly after his wife died...to a young and fun lady. This book is a great capture of real life at the time, but I have little desire to read the other books in the series. ( )
  bereanna | Sep 22, 2015 |
A number of other reviewers here have described this as a coming-of-age story. I don't think it's that, at all. I see it as a loving paean to small-town life in a particular time and place, and to small-town characters. I thought the characterizations, situations, dialogue and local mores were astonishingly true to life, as if the book were an actual memoir of a boy's recollections of his remarkable grandfather. I just adored the character Rucker Blakeslee!

Olive Ann Burns was a very gifted writer; it's tragic that she didn't live to complete the sequel. ( )
  runeshower | Jul 10, 2015 |
Listening to this reminded me of my grandpa from South Carolina, who died a couple of years ago, even though this book took place in a small town in Georgia. Listening to the language really took me back and made me all nostalgic. Anyway, I think it's a wonderful coming-of-age story from a teenage boy's point of view, with characters I believed were real and events that were both funny and true-to-life. ( )
  KR_Patterson | Apr 28, 2015 |
I read this for the work book club - and I only found it so-so. The writing was too rambly, the kid too innocent, while the town folk felt real, the adult family members, while real, felt a bit subdued, as if talking down to a kid.

Which brings me back to Will Tweedy. He is 14 going on ten in this book. A kid growing up in the deep south should know considerably more about life than he did - the pranks were incredibly juvenile, the crush of his life, Lightfoot - felt like something an 11 or 12 year old kid would have, even in this time period. Also, he doesn't question the circumstances of the people around him, such as the lint-heads or the African American folk. And that is the biggest problem in this book. Will doesn't really have personality. He has the stereotypes typical about boys (likes fishing, a bit mischievous) but that is all there is of him.

As for the language, it can be difficult at times if you are not used to the dialect. Also, a lot of characters are mentioned and trying to figure out how everybody relates to each other can be a challenge.

It isn't to say this is a bad book - its well written, characters are revealed through the plot. This book is cozy, without much of a story. And that where the book fails. I think its a great book if you want to read about small town early 20th century southern life, but if you want something a bit more deep, skip this book. ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Mar 17, 2015 |
2 stars
Do you enjoy a sweet story? Are you a religious person with deep faith? Do you enjoy books set in the South at the turn of the century? Then this book is probably a good choice for you.

My own response to the two first questions is not affirmative, and that is why I cannot give it more than two stars. No, it is not a bad book. It is fine, it’s OK………if a bit boring. Although it gives a pretty good depiction of small town life in Georgia, it says nothing about racial inequities which of course still remained after the Civil War. The whites certainly don’t see their black servants as their equals but they are not cruel. White Trash on the other hand are looked down upon, and many of the new inventions of that era are interwoven into the plot – cars, telephones, house plumbing and electricity. But it is all so cute.

This is not only a coming-of-age story, but also a story of how it is to grow old. How do you deal with that? Will is the central character. He tells the story about is grandfather and what he did when his grandmother died. Yup, he got married again, three weeks after her death! Now this is darn-right scandalous! What will people think?! But the question is why, and you learn the real answer to that throughout the rest of the book. Is Will the main character? Or is it his grandfather?Are the grandfather’s actions and the way he chose to live his life and his behavior towards all those around him that is the central focus of this book? I know what I think. I also know that it drove me crazy that everyone was most concerned with what other folks would say.

But you know what is right and what is wrong, and we all do when it comes down to the basics, so the book’s message is rather simple. Maybe you like uncomplicated feel-good stories. There are hypocrites galore in this book. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, but I will add that there is at least one that isn’t a hypocrite.

There must be some suspense in a book, right? Well, a few bombs are thrown in, but are they adequately explored? Or are they just thrown in for the effect? Miss Love’s rape and Uncle Campbell’s suicide.

OK, I have something really good to say about the book….. Well, at least the audiobook narrated by Tom Parker. The narration is excellent. You know immediately who is talking simply by the tone. Will never sounds like his grandfather. The women are prefect too. And Loomis, the black servant, he speaks just as he should. It is not hard at all to understand the Southern dialect.

Just one more thing…. I have read reviews that compare this book to Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”. One should never compare one book to another. No two books are ever the same in content or how they are written. Stupid me; I was thinking perhaps I would get another of Lee’s, and that hope made me so mad when it wasn’t fulfilled. I should have known better.

Completed July 13, 2013 ( )
2 vote chrissie3 | Jul 13, 2013 |
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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)

(summary from another edition)

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