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Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
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Cold Sassy Tree (original 1984; edition 1986)

by Olive Ann Burns (Author)

Series: Cold Sassy (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,631752,443 (3.92)114
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)
Member:Melwilk
Title:Cold Sassy Tree
Authors:Olive Ann Burns (Author)
Info:Dial Press Trade Paperback (1986), Edition: Reprint, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:to-read, owned-to-be-read

Work details

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.
  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 114 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
Read this years ago, but just re-read while listening to the audio. The story was so enriched because of the Southern accent.
( )
  Meladylo | Sep 12, 2020 |
In July, 1906, Grandpa Blakeslee, successful farmer and businessman, shocks his two daughters and many of the townspeople of Cold Sassy Tree, Georgia, when he announces his intentions to marry in short order Miss Love Simpson, a milliner employed at his general store. Now, there were two reasons that this news was sending shock waves throughout the small community. One, besides the fact that Miss Simpson, was from the North, was that she was twenty years his junior, he being 59 and Miss Simpson in her late 30s or approximately the same age as his daughters. The second reason, probably more shocking, was the fact that Grandpa Blakeslee had only been a widower for three weeks since his beloved Mattie Lou died from a lengthy illness. Why...that violated the proper social rules for mourning.

The events in Cold Sassy Tree that summer is told from the perspective of our novel's protagonist, Will Tweedy, a 14-year-old and grandson of the cantankerous subject of the town's gossip. It is a stretch to call this novel a coming-of-age story since it takes occurs over only a few months, but our protagonist learns much about what it means to be a family, the dangers of gossip, and the mercy of God's grace. As one would expect with a 14-nearing-15 adolescent, there is a number of humorous moments in store for the reader, even, if hard to believe, an encounter with a train on a trestle. If you grew up with or enjoy reruns of the Andy Griffith Show, I would recommend this frequently humorous but yet poignant short novel set in a small northeast Georgia town in simpler times. ( )
  John_Warner | Jul 31, 2020 |
Despite the main theme of death and how people deal with it personally and in community, this book manages to entertain with its spirited characters, spot-on Appalachian dialect, insights into small town life, and page after page of homespun humor. It's not a "nice story." This is a book that deals with the dark side of family life and flawed humanity, but it doesn't plunge the reader into despair because the evil is counterbalanced with lessons in love, mercy and forgiveness. Delighted to have run across this story. ( )
  MMKY | Jul 3, 2020 |
A year in the life of a 14yr old boy, wondering about life & wanting to be appreciated by his family, feeling closest to his grandpa. Mostly a compendium of the pranks Will pulled, by the time the tale got to the last quarter I was starting to get tired of the spitefulness & mean-spirited attitude of some people. Then it was all pulled together before the end by Grandpa's philosophical take on the true meaning of religion. A compassionate look at life in a southern small town in 1916. ( )
  juniperSun | Jun 6, 2020 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)

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Epigraph
Dedication
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."
Quotations
To mourn is to be eaten alive with homesickness for the person.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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.

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