Title: Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
How was it obtained: Over the summer my family had a great vacation. A book exchange was proposed as a part of the week. I walked away with Cold Sassy Tree. I think the book is from Liz's library.
Time spent on the "To Read" shelf: 5 months. Not too bad.
Days spent reading it: 15 days.
Why I read it: This book was the catalyst for the Patrick Challenge. I was wondering to myself if Ben had read the book he took from me at the exchange. Naturally I thought it was so cool, he should have read it by now. (Better get on it Ben, I expect a full report after Christmas) Then I thought, well heck, I haven't read my book exchange book yet. Maybe I had better get on that. And maybe I had better start reading all the other books I should have read by now. So I started with Cold Sassy Tree.
Brief Review: Boy Howdy! 'Hit sure were somet'in to read 'dis here book! Haw!
Set in Northeast Georgia around the turn of the 19th century, Cold Sassy Tree follows the exploits of Will Tweedy during a unique year of his life. The book starts with his grandma dying, and his grandpa marrying 3 weeks after the funeral--to the great scandal of the family and town. Will is a detailed observer of this quirky town. He reflects the thoughts of a souther town where everyone knows everyone else's business.
I am conflicted in my appreciation of this book. One the one hand it was difficult to read the dialect, and the truth is a small town is sometimes boring. On the other hand, the character of Will Tweedy makes this tedious lifestyle exciting. Olivia Ann Burns created a great character in Will, who is able to make trouble and to explain the scandals of the town. He lets loose rats at a Christmas play, he spies on his family, he nearly gets killed by a train while walking across train trestles. I enjoyed this book, but also found it laborious at times.
What kept me going was my connection to the geographic location--the town of Cold Sassy is modeled after Commerce, Georgia--which was about 30 minutes from where I went to college for four years. I knew all the sights and towns mentioned in the book. I think readers who enjoy southern small-town life would enjoy this book. It is full of quirky characters, gossip centered events, and a lot of soul.
Favorite quote from the book: The fights were embarrassing to the family but real entertaining to the Baptists, for he would stand up at the next Wednesday night prayer meeting, in the testimonial and confessing part, and tell the Lord all about it. One Wednesday night he ended a long prayer with "Lord, forgive me for fittin' thet man yesterd'y--though Thou knowest if i had it to do over agin I'd hit him harder."
Stars: 3 0ut of 5.
The Final Word: Soulfully-southern.