Sunday, November 19, 2006

Between, Georgia - More Than A Town (Chari-Dee's take)

It is official, yes, official! I just filled out my paperwork and mailed me my check to the Joshilyn Jackson CDSSF(Crazy, Drooling, Screaming, Stalker Fans). And no, that link will not take you to the CDSSF web-site. Joss doesn't know about us and we want to keep it that way. If, like me, you totally adore this woman, send your check or money order for $75 to Dee c/o Dee & Dee Dish and I'll sign you up! Notice, I said mail the check to me, that's cause I'm the first member - notice the "mailed me my check" that wasn't bad grammar, that was the truth. I'm sorry, but at this time I cannot accept Credit Cards, but should membership grow at the rate I am expecting, I will be able to rectify that.

What has turned me into such an intense fan? The answer my friends is her novel Between, Georgia . I just finished reading this last night, and I fell so hard and fast for this book, I had to shout from the roof-tops about it. See the bad scanned in picture up there? How cool is it that she signed the book for me - even though I wasn't even there?! That is right, not only did Dee get me a signed copy of gods in Alabama , but she got me the signed hardcover of Between as well. How awesome is she? But Joss, it is me that should be thanking you - for writing something that is such a pleasure to read!

I know, this is a book review blog, so without further ado - on with the review (well, my version of one any way). And just like last time, read Dee's review last , because no matter what she may tell you, she does write the reviews way better than I.

Between, Georgia, population 90, is the setting for this tale of life, love, and self discovery. But, Between is not just a town, it is the constant state of Nonny Frett's life. In First Person narrative, Nonny takes us through her life, filled with ups and downs and twists and turns that easily rival any roller coaster and start right out of the gate. The book grabs you from line one and does not let go. I'm a sucker for an excellent opening line and this book definitely delivers, "The war began thirty years, nine months, and seven days ago, when I was deaf and blind, floating silent and serene inside Hazel Crabtree." Even if I would have wanted to, after reading that line, it would have been impossible for me to put this book down. She doesn't stop there with the memorable lines. The last line of Chapter 1 reads, ".....I know, but pull some pants on and hurry down. Stacia needs us to help her steal Ona Crabtree's grandbaby." I know, great huh?

Nonny Frett was born to a Crabtree. Birthed in the front room of the Frett's, Nonny enters the world from a child that doesn't want her and slides right into the loving arms of her true mamma, who does everything she can to have her. The Frett's and Crabtrees are mortal enemies. They are the epitome of the haves and have not's. When Nonny's biological grandmother finds out who Nonny really is, she wants her, in her sick and twisted way she loves her, and the way she sees it, she was wronged and she cannot forgive that. So, the hate between the two families escalates to an even bigger presence.

Nonny is raised by a deaf and soon to be blind mamma and her twin sister, Genny, who has nerves as strong as, well as strong as something the polar opposite of steel. The cast of characters that make up Nonny's life are as endearing as they are infuriating. Her pushy Aunt Bernese, her baby cousin Fisher, her soon-to-be ex-husband, and her best friend Henry Crabtree, and even her drunken natural grandmother Ona Crabtree are central to her life. The good and the bad.

In Between, Nonny struggles with who she is and what she truly wants. I could identify with Nonny. 30 years old and still not sure how to just get things done. One of my most favorite moments in the book is when Nonny goes into her mammas room one night to talk. She has had a very confusing day, she has made lots of promises to people and to keep one of them means she would have to break the rest. She is wanting guidance, some one to tell her what she should do. Her mamma asks her how she felt about something that had happened that day, and they start to talk about seeing things through. "You do not have this thing that's in me. The thing inside Bernese. I am not sure what to call it. Will or evil, or maybe it is only that we see things through." And then when Nonny tells her mamma that she can see things through her mamma says, "You never have before....... I couldn't trust that this would be the moment that you would pick to grow into yourself. I know you will. But there have been things you knew you needed to do before, hard things, and you folded in and waited and hoped either until something outside came along to make you or until it was too late." I identified so intensely with this part of Nonny, I just didn't know it. Not until I read that. But now that Joss has so eloquently pointed this hidden part of my soul out to me, I intend to fix it.

One of the other things I got from this book was that seeing things through doesn't necessarily mean you do it alone. The thing about seeing things through is you have to know what you want, know that you will do anything to get it, and then figure out how to do it and who to have help you. Towards the end of the book, after the war escalates and comes to an explosive climax, Nonny realizes exactly what it is she wants, and she tells her mamma, "......I know it. I don't know how to do it...........But you do."

This book has changed me. Changed me at a cellular level, and it is a change that is for the better. There are no words to express the true beauty that is Joshilyn Jackson's writing, you just have to experience it and live it for yourself.

Take Care

P.S. In the near future, we will be running a contest! Make sure to leave comments and let us know what you think. Also, keep checking back over the next couple of weeks for your chance to win the loot.

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