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Savannah Blues: A Novel ~Mary Kay Andrews

Beach

Beach

I had a hard time with this book, which was my book groups June selection.  Primarily I think the book came in the wrong time zone for me.  I would have probably loved it on an airplane, beach or rainy read in a mountain cabin, but not in the middle of a busy time with too much to do.

This book was classified as a mystery at one book distributor, and from Amazon.com it was listed as a Romance.    I would tag it as a Southern Romance; Mystery; Antiquing; Lite book.

Most of the group found it very entertaining and that the timing was good to take the plunge away from the thought provoking and just ease on into the Southern comfort of the story and the details about the yummy food.   Several members thought that the book was an excellent description o f how a “picker” worked estate and garage sales to find antiques for dealers.   The group truly enjoyed the reprieve from the heavy reading and overall would rate this book highly entertaining.

Three things that made me rather angry with the book:

  1. The evil folks were all from “up North” and attempting to override the locals.  The most evil person in the story was a flamboyant, sexy woman from Chicago!
  2. That I was reminded that Southern Traditions are locked in place and primarily folks are not able to change their ways or views.  Even with the homosexual characters, there were limits to the tolerance.
  3. That money truly equals power and that a there is a huge divided class system still.

What I liked about the story was that the lead woman just did her “own thing” and found success – figured things out to her satisfaction.

I enjoyed that some of the characters were actually attempting to recycle and reuse.

Yep!  This book needed a beach and a blanket with lots of lazy time for me.   Did not encourage me to rethink the South – though it did help me recall how stunning the beaches are in Georgia.

Most of book group agreed that the traditions got in the way of progress, and most of the group thought it was a most pleasant read.

We did not get to the politics and how the book ignored what was going on in SC with health care and profiling and anti-homosexual activity, how that southern traditions limit southern thinking, and how believing in their superiority over the rest of the Nation limits us all – nope! Too full of stereotypes and pettiness.

If you want a traditional book with southern charm and you need an escape – This is the book for you.

Have you read a book that you did not care for?  Did you let your book group know your feelings?  Do you attempt to find something to like about each story?   Do you ever just quit reading a book? Or set it aside?

This book is available from this here and via Recommended Reading:

Other reading you might enjoy:

Breakfast with Buddha
Merle’s Door
American Wife
Three Cups of Tea  and Mountains to Mountains
Beauty on a Sandy Beach

What do you think?

18 Responses to “Savannah Blues: A Novel ~Mary Kay Andrews”

  1. Meredith Says:

    Wow, Patricia, that sounds like a total flop of a read! I was raised in the South and returned here about 7 years ago, and now live in rural South Carolina, and I cannot say I have encountered many attitudes like those. Of course the old-timers may still be stuck in their ways: my grandfather, who is in his 80s, worried for years that my sister and I might marry “Yankees.” But then I did even worse than that and married a “furriner.” 😉

    But I’d say a lot of that tradition is in the writer’s imagination — if the novel was meant to be contemporary. Even our good Southern traditions are getting sucked up in the wake of modernity and corporate marketing. (Although one irritating tradition that seems here to stay, unfortunately, is the hellfire and damnation and eschatological fervor. You could never manage to write a light-hearted summer novel about that, tho.)
    .-= Meredith´s last blog ..carpe diem =-.

  2. J.D. Meier Says:

    I never made it to the beaches in Georgia, but I’d like to check them out.

    It sounds like the book made you think and made you feel. That’s a good outcome for any book.
    .-= J.D. Meier´s last blog ..Lessons Learned from Dad =-.

  3. Tony Single Says:

    Patricia, I wish I even had a book group to be a part of. It seems like something that would be right up my alley. I may have to start sniffing out some possibilities there…

    As for your book, I agree with Meredith. Seems like it was more of a flop than a worthwhile read. I’m not fond of stereotyping or tradition for the sake of tradition either. Give me characters and situations that are as fully rounded as those you’d come across in real life please!

    The last book that I absolutely had to put down and walk away from was the first of that Left Behind series of books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. It’s all about the endtimes from a certain eschatological view that seems to flourishing in all kinds of Christian circles these days. Now, I may be a Christian myself, but I have to say that I was deeply offended by this stereotypical, narrow minded, judgemental hellfire and brimstone Bible tract masquerading as fiction. Bleh!

    Yes, I think some books just aren’t worth wasting one’s time on.

  4. Talon Says:

    I don’t mind books where characters are stuck in their ways and it reflects on WHO they are, but if it’s a common thread running through the book, yeah, it’s irritating.

    I’ve read every book I ever started. Even if it sucked, I pushed through it. I was always hopeful that it would redeem itself right up to the last page – lol! Some never did, some had little pockets of greatness.

    “And Ladies of the Club” by Helen Hooven Santmyer was one of those books that I nearly put down. It was a monstrous book – 1,300 pages I think. The first 150 pages were brutal. But I finally just started reading at page 200 and looked back where necessary to see who was who and it turned out to be one of my favorite books ever. But it was seriously the first book that I nearly just gave up on. This was back in the 80’s and I think it’s why I never give up on a book until its over — because that book was so good and lingers still.
    .-= Talon´s last blog ..The Simple Goodbye =-.

  5. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    There have been many books that I didn’t like. I never finish them – I have a friend who reads each book to the end even if she suffers through it. I tend to give myself permission to stop.
    .-= vered | blogger for hire´s last blog ..Be Kind To Your Behind =-.

  6. Patricia Says:

    Meredith,
    I hope I am not being offensive but this book was too much romance for my timing and a bit too light weight. I was just not in the mood – it was not a lovely story like Jan Karom’s series about the south.

    I spent several years in the late 60s and early 70s teaching AIDs awareness on those Southern Beaches to Gay Men. And was arrested for being a caucasian woman riding in the car with a black man in Georgia….it was a no good foreign/Northerner….

    I am also watching the news with all the promotion of “hate” by the Governor and Attorney General – in South Carolina and think the book was total marshmallow fluff on that score. The fervor is still telling is it not…..?

    Good comments and I thank you for sharing….

  7. Patricia Says:

    J.D.
    Yep the book did arouse the feelings level and thus I finished it. So it had an element of worth. The most important part was that we all got together and it made for a great evening with a great group of folks :)
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..Savannah Blues: A Novel ~Mary Kay Andrews =-.

  8. Patricia Says:

    Tony,
    This is a new book group for me and I was desperate to get one started to keep my thinking skills honed and be with friends. I do not like being so isolated. One or two just asked friends and the last book group we had 8 attending folks.

    When my children were little and funds were very spare, we had a sign up sheet for a couples book club and organized them for our children too….a Librarian set up a sign up sheet in the school library, someone picked a book and the library let us use a room…

    I highly recommend book groups. Then there is the discussion on the blog about what we read. Good for the brain.
    One of my kiddos had a movie watching discussion group…that was fun too.

  9. Patricia Says:

    Talon,
    I too have read every book I have started. I keep looking for the redeeming moments. I always analyze each book when I am done to find something to take away. This book I could see that the author was still coming from a place of “tradition” even though she was attempting to move on through those values to be more modern….maybe those reading a romance book will be moved forward by her efforts? Change their thinking…that may be the good of this read?

    I loved the Ladies of the Club……I have read it 3 times and got my mum’s book group to read it. My Mother had a club just like in that book founded on helping women get an education….impressive indeed.

  10. Patricia Says:

    vered,
    I wish I could give myself permission to stop – I just read every page and keep hoping to find some redeeming quality.

    This book I was not at the beach and worried about how the oil spill is being played out in those stuck southern traditions.

  11. Cath Lawson Says:

    I Patricia – I don’t like it when I read a book where it seems like the authors judgements and prejudices are coming through in a bad way.

    An author I used to love did this one time too many. The last time she discriminated against folk who didn’t have the same shopping habits she did and regarded someone who had a mental illness as worthless. I haven’t read any of her work since then.
    .-= Cath Lawson´s last blog ..Why The Perfect Small Business Owner Doesn’t Exist =-.

  12. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. sounds quite tricky to read – but I’m sure it would teach me a bit about America .. as I know very little.

    I’ve started lots of books and put them down to read later! They’re still here to be read later – and on occasion I’ve definitely stopped reading because I’m bored .. or simply am not enjoying .. my frame of mind needs to be right & that’s not always in sit and read mode.

    I was reading quite regularly at one stage & was hooked and would read and read .. not so good for a working day!

    Still life will allow me to start reading again sometime soon .. and I look forward to it ..

    Hope you’re feeling a little better .. and life is easing. With thoughts .. Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Nature in Balance … and the Dark-Bellied Dew Lover! =-.

  13. Patricia Says:

    Cath,
    Nice to find you here – thank you. I seem to have to read every word of a book I pick up. I am able to slow down somewhat these days if I don’t enjoy the book. This author did not see that much of her work was about prejudice…she just considered it normal – the writing had not gotten her to pick ax the depth of her value…and thought just by skimming over this she would convey the whole story. The story was cute – just very wrong timing for me.

  14. Patricia Says:

    Hilary,
    So glad to hear life is easing….I think maybe my reading style is easing too with age….I don’t seem to be so driven. There is definitely a time for a good read and a time for doing other things.

    Thank you for stopping on by.

  15. jannie Funster Says:

    Yes, I have put aside so many books, never to return to them. And perhaps never will. So sad.

    Funny, exaclty 20 years ago I was reading a book I never finished because it was due back at the library and I was moving to Texas. Have looked for the book and never been able to find out what happened to Hannah in Newfoundland with the man in the snowy shack. Did they? Or didn’t they? Even Googled it, to no avail.

    Interesting too these “Pickers.” We’ve been watching the new series on History Channel. Have you seen? Just amazing to see what people save and for how long.

    And funny — I just published a brand-new post to see you’ve commented on my last 2, but not the latest one. You have just missed me the last 2 times, by literally one minute after my newest was posted. Funny to me. Will it happen a third time? Cue Twilight Zone music now. :)

    Hope things are not so busy now and you can take a breather and enjoy some down time?

    xo
    .-= jannie Funster´s last blog ..To Our Favorite Pool Guy On Fathers’ Day =-.

  16. Patricia Says:

    Jannie,
    oh yes indeedy cue the music….loved your story about the library book dilemma! I thought I had written on the new post…maybe too much sunshine today?

  17. Tess The Bold Life Says:

    Patricia,
    I’ve been to the beaches of GA and my oh my I loved my time there. Put books down…all the time if I don’t like them. I have to many blogging buddies that are terrific writers and I’d rather read their good stuff anyday!
    .-= Tess The Bold Life´s last blog ..Stepmom’s Tool Box with Peggy Nolan =-.

  18. Patricia Says:

    TEss,
    thank you for coming by…yes are we not surrounded by lovely writers in the blog world