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I may be the last…

January 8, 2008

person left, in the South at least, that had not read this book, but now even that distinction has disappeared. I do not write book reviews for that reason–being the last one to read it usually means that even the review has been reviewed by the time it makes my accomplished bookshelf list.

Here I make exception to recommend Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns. A friend passed this along to me about a month ago. I set it aside to read through over my Christmas break. I thoroughly enjoyed it, not least for the reasons that it’s written from a boy’s perspective (I live with four), it’s about a south Georgia town (from which my heritage stems), and it’s deeply impressed with the relationships and mindset of southern folk (of which I know intimately).

To review a book with the phrases, “I laughed, I cried.” seems passe. But those phrases hold truth in this recommendation. When I’m reading and laugh out loud with snorting so that my husband asks, “What are you reading?” I can say that’s a good book. When I’m reading about a death, and find myself weeping as though the person were of my own family, it’s not because I’m overly sentimental.

I discovered upon picking up the Olive Ann Burns’ unfinished sequel, Leaving Cold Sassy, that she began writing as a way to cope with her cancer diagnosis, I’m even more intrigued. Knowing an author’s motivation, and in particular this type of motivation, personalizes her writing even more. The story she desired to tell was not guaranteed to be told in the time left to her. The story she writes is not written with an urgent tone, but there is consistent action given to every character in the span of a year.

The other aspect of her writing that kept me glued to the pages was how she so completely put herself into the shoes of a fourteen year old boy. In talking with a friend about the book, I kept mixing my pronouns to say “he” when I meant Olive Ann Burns. She is a fourteen year old southern boy who lives in Cold Sassy, Georgia.

So as you’re considering books to read for 2008, look into these two from Olive Ann Burns.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 8, 2008 4:02 am

    It’s now on my list of books I need to read.

  2. January 8, 2008 4:22 am

    Make that next to last. 🙂 I’ve never read it — I think I have only vaguely heard of it. But I am putting it on my TBR list.

  3. Ellen permalink
    January 8, 2008 4:05 pm

    Thanks for the recommendation. I had never heard of this author or book before but there is no surprise in that! 🙂
    I love a book that makes you snort! Have a great day…

  4. January 9, 2008 2:26 pm

    I have that book in a stack in the basement…but have never read it.

    Have you ever read my favorite, “Lonesome Dove” by Larry McMurtry?

  5. January 11, 2008 10:02 pm

    I read it many years ago…and loved it! Do you remember the tv movie (I think) with Doogie Howser in it? I also remember reading the sequel, but not liking it as well. May just have to revisit Cold Sassy!

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