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Sweet Jiminy by Kristin Gore
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Sweet Jiminy (edition 2011)

by Kristin Gore

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528225,591 (3.62)2
Member:bookmagic
Title:Sweet Jiminy
Authors:Kristin Gore
Info:Hyperion (2011), Hardcover, 240 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
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Sweet Jiminy by Kristin Gore

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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Read on March 13, 2011

This is a story about a town in the Deep South and how the world can change, but it doesn't mean the people do. Jiminy and Bo each find themselves back in Fayeville, both in their twenties, looking for themselves. Lyn, Bo's aunt, works for Willa, Jiminy's grandmother. We meet them and then we find out a lot more about how intertwined their families really are (because of course there's a mystery!). The story is unfolded slowly, but I was never bored reading.

(Again, I'm in readalike mode) I really think that fans of The Help or Saving Ceecee Honeycutt will totally dig this book. While it's got a little more mystery (like The Secret Life of Bees) it's still a wonderful book that makes you think a little more about those unspoken mysteries that everyone knows about (esp in Southern families), but refuse to talk about.

If you were a fan of Gore's previous work, like I was, you're in for a surprise. This is NOT Sammy's Hill, but it is a great read! ( )
  melissarochelle | Apr 3, 2013 |
This is the second book that I have read in the last couple of months that takes place in Mississippi and deals with racial prejudice issues. This novel brings us pretty close to the subject as characters are discriminated against today and others are dealing with crimes of discrimination from years ago.

Although Jiminy is the main character of the novel she isn't necessarily the narrator. We seem to learn the most about Jiminy and her life as she takes it upon herself to look into an unsolved crime that took place back in the 60's. Lyn is a close friend and housekeeper of Jiminy's grandmother and she is appalled to learn that Lyn's husband and only daughter, also named Jiminy, were found murdered in the 60's. The worst fact is that the authorities really did not attempt to find who was responsible, but claimed the brutal murders were an accident.

Through Jiminy's investigation we learn a lot about what life was like back then. Since Lyn and her family were African Americans they were obviously outcasts because of the time period. Jiminy's grandmother, Willa, hired Lyn as a housekeeper but soon became close friends and the two families bonded in a way that was unacceptable to the rest of society.

Lyn's nephew Bo, who is also an African American, arrives in town and Jiminy and Bo start to develop a relationship that is frowned upon. Most of the finger-pointing seems to come from older folks who weren't keen on inter-racial relationships during the 60's. With the help of Willa, Lyn, Bo, and a journalist, Jiminy uncovers not only the secret of the murders of Lyn's family, but also family secrets, and the meaning of K.S.O.

This was a very interesting novel and it made me realize that I should read more about the time of segregation and the end of it. It seemed to have a third party narration, which I am not really fond of, but the author seemed to switch timelines on me without notification. It was a bit hard to follow because of this. I did enjoy the mystery aspect of the book and I can tell you that I didn't want to put it down once I got a chance to sit and read. I ended up with a sunburn sitting on my deck one afternoon! ( )
  jo-jo | Aug 17, 2011 |
Jiminy was halfway through law school when she realized that wasn't the life for her, so she retreated to her grandmother's home in small-town Mississippi for some quiet time to reconsider her life. She didn't find much quiet--instead she learned that racism is alive and well in the rural south. She also learned of the existence of another Jiminy who had died long ago at a far too early age--killed by locals who preferred to sweep the murders of Jiminy and her father under the carpet. Come to find out, when black people died in those days, it didn't make the papers! With the help of Carlos, a reporter whose specialty was "cold cases", and Bo, a pre-med student that Jiminy finds herself falling for, Jiminy sets out to solve the mystery of these long-ago murders. Along the way she steps on the toes of the local bigwigs, and finds herself in danger.

The characters in Sweet Jiminy are especially strong. From Jiminy and Bo to the ailing elderly politician and his scheming son to the racist town fathers, every one of them stands out as an individual. Gore's writing is fine--she carries the reader right along, believing the story as well as the characters and setting. It's a quick, accessible read, but not a light one, by any means. Gore's got a winner here! ( )
  alexann | Aug 2, 2011 |
Jiminy Davis is in law school in Chicago, feeling overwhelmed and out of her element. She gets knocked flat by a bike courier and his T-shirt logo reminds her of her Grandma Willa and Fayeville, Mississippi. So Jiminy drops out of school and goes to live with Willa. Jiminy is shy and naive. She becomes friends with Bo Waters, the nephew of Willa's part-time help, Lyn. They start a romance but Jiminy has no idea of the implications of an interracial romance in this small Southern town.
Jiminy also finds her late grandfather's diary and discovers there was another Jiminy long before she was born, the daughter of Lyn's who was murdered along with her father, Edward in the 1960's. Jiminy is not able to find out much about this because the murder of two blacks was not something that would have been in the local paper. But Jiminy plows forward and seeks help from a lawyer who specializes in solving and bringing to justice racially-motivated murders that have long since been forgotten.

I enjoyed this book but it was not without its flaws. The story is good and Jiminy becomes a very likeable character once you get past her naivete. But the writing is a bit off, too many narrators and choppy transitions between scenes. The novel felt rushed and I realized there isn't a lot of interactions between the characters, interesting though they are. Just when something happens that you think would be discussed, the scene changes, time has passed and I felt like I missed something.
It was unfortunate as this book had tons of potential.I think it was too short to really flesh it out. I liked it in spite of it's flaws but it could have been a great novel instead of a decent read. I would still recommend this but I won't be gushing about it.
my rating 3.5/5 ( )
  bookmagic | Jul 7, 2011 |
This is the story of Jiminy, who quits law school and visits her grandmother in Mississippi for the summer. Gore is a talented writer, but there were a few things that caught me short. The novel didn't seem to know what it wanted to be; it started out as a bildungsroman about the shy girl who doesn't know what she wants to do with her life, and then it turns into a civil rights/crime story. Jiminy unexpectedly transforms from mouse to go-getter with no real explanation. There were a couple of other plot developments that were abruptly reversed or dropped, seemingly at Gore's whim. But the story was interesting and well-written. ( )
  bearette24 | Jun 15, 2011 |
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Book description
In the throes of a quarter-life crisis, Jiminy Davis abruptly quits law school and flees Chicago for her grandmother Willa’s farm in rural Mississippi. In search of peace and quiet, Jiminy instead stumbles upon more trouble and turmoil than she could have imagined.

She is shocked to discover that there was once another Jiminy—the daughter of her grandmother’s longtime housekeeper, Lyn—who was murdered along with Lyn’s husband four decades earlier in a civil rights–era hate crime. With the help of Lyn’s nephew, Bo, Jiminy sets out to solve the cold case, to the dismay of those who would prefer to let sleeping dogs lie.

Beautifully written, and with a sure grip on the tensions and social mores of small towns in the South, Sweet Jiminy will captivate its readers, and fans of Kristin Gore’s earlier novels will be intrigued and compelled by this new direction for her fiction.
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When Jiminy retreats to her grandmother Willa's farm in rural Mississippi, she is shocked to discover there was once another Jiminy-- the daughter of her grandmother's longtime housekeeper, Lyn-- who was murdered along with Lyn's husband four decades earlier, in a civil rights era hate crime. With the help of Lyn's nephew, Bo, Jiminy sets out to solve the long-ago murder, to the dismay of those who would prefer to let sleeping dogs lie.… (more)

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