Aunt Sookie & Me: The Sordid Tale of a Scandalous Southern Belle
“‘I suspect folk will have to pass on before times will truly change,” she remarked. ‘Velvet and ignorance has lined many caskets. Don’t waste your breath trying to teach people nothing. My late poppa used to say, ‘Sookie, never go about trying to teach a hog to sing.'”
Michael Scott Garvin, a designer by trade, has written this gem, his second book; I can’t wait to read the first one. The reader should be prepared, since this book is not politically correct but authentic to the time and place. Garvin writes with a great deal of humor, has compassion for his characters, and offers well-drawn chapters. This novel is as suspenseful as it is funny; a wonderful combination.
A good parent message is to love a child for who they are, not for what they do. By this measure, southern belle Poppy Wainwright is a lucky young lady. This is no coming-of-age story, however. Poppy is more adult and resourceful than her unfortunate mother and her church-going, dressed-up neighbors. The book is full of stunning surprises. Poppy’s mother is so damaged that she runs from one ravishment to another, leaving Poppy in the care of Poppy’s church-going grandmother. Poppy’s mother’s other children are not so fortunate. When the grandmother dies, Poppy is sent to live with her Aunt Sookie, who is not really her aunt, but nothing is as it seems in this graceful southern town. Aunt Sookie is a strong, independent woman who has her reasons for being over-protective of little Poppy. She is the total opposite of Poppy’s devout, organized grandmother. She lives in a ramshackle antebellum mansion with a goat named Annabelle. The house has been TP’d by neighbor boys, and the toilet paper has calcified into place. Can a mess of a woman and a mess of a house properly raise a sweet little Christian girl? The reader will be surprised at the answer. The reader will also be surprised by the magnificence of Aunt Sookie’s garden and what fertilized the soil. Just as Poppy is the opposite of what she seems, the character of the devoted wife, Donita Pendergast, seems to be the opposite of Poppy’s mother. However, it seems that no matter what a girl does, the world does not treat them fairly. Aunt Sookie is a counterbalance to the grandmother. The novel is filled with unpredictable characters. I know their stories. Descriptions are vivid as 22 Digby Street in Savannah, Georgia comes alive. I don’t know much about the author’s biography. I believe he lives in Phoenix; however, he must have southern roots to write in such detail.
This novel is fun to read. There are rustic expressions that punch up the dialogue and make the reader smile. The chapters are short and filled with story. Run to get this book and prepare to laugh.
Michael Scott Garvin