The Story of Sassy Sweetwater by Vera Jane Cook

The Story of Sassy Sweetwater by Vera Jane Cook
AISN: B00700F02Q
320 pages
Musa Publishing
January 19, 2012

I read The Story of Sassy Sweetwater by Vera Jane Cook in a little over a day via Kindle. I had read the first chapter a while back and was intrigued, and then when I had a weekend to do some extensive reading, I finished it practically all at once. This was a wonderfully woven story of the life of a young, Southern, feisty, irrepressible girl who faces tragedy after tragedy in her life, but persists on to experience true happiness when she can. Thirteen-year-old Sassy Sweetwater and her mother, Violet, are on their way back to her mother’s home in South Carolina when the story begins. When they get to Carter’s Crossing, the secrets and lies of the family and extended family start to surface right away. The time is 1962 and the setting is in the South, so you can imagine Sassy saw plenty in her small town regarding race, the Klan, and protests. Sassy had already seen much in her short life, as she and Violet had gone from town to town and Violet from boyfriend to boyfriend as Sassy’s mother made her living as a waitress. All of these issues are threaded in with her family’s own horrific episodes. Sassy and her mother begin living with her rich, fairly icy grandmother in her southern farmhouse. Other extended family members live there as well and yet others come to visit quite often. There are many characters in the book, mostly Violet’s brothers and sisters, who come in and out of their lives. Some of the family issues included rape, incest, and murder. This book reminded me of so many stories I have read before, yet I never felt it was copying or repeating any of them. I think Sassy’s story would make a good screenplay.

When you are reading a story of the South, you know you are in for a treat regarding names of characters. Grandma Edna, Pike, Seamus, Dudley, Betsy Lou Buttercup, Thomas Tierney, and Dixie Craft (a man), are just some of the names from the novel.

Sassy grows up as a confident young woman, but she seems to make poor choice after poor choice, and yet she has an indomitable spirit that refuses to give up. As a young adult she has the opportunity to visit France and live there as she studies art and painting. Through the years she has found that her once stern grandmother is probably her best friend and supporter in the world. Sassy returns home to make more mistakes, but finally finds she is as happy as she always thought she would be. The Story of Sassy Sweetwater would make a great selection for a book club, especially if a club is looking for women’s fiction or Southern fiction.

A few passages from the book I enjoyed:

     “‘Listen to this, ‘Family quarrels are bitter things. They don’t go according to any rules. They’re not like aches or wounds, they’re more like splits in the skin.'”
     I stared at him not knowing what to say. I knew he was referring to the McLaughlin family and what he had just said made sense, though I couldn’t have told you why.
     “F. Scott Fitzgerald,” he said.
     “Who’s he?” I asked.
     “A great writer,” he said. “Like Joyce and James and Keats.”

     As Dixie watched Patrick Toulouse grow taller every year, I knew he was still searching for gold, for a telltale similarity. I knew what he was thinking, what he still hoped to find. I knew, but I avoided the subject like a discussion of democracy with Fidel Castro.

     I want to paint lines and circles and force the realm of reality. I don’t want my paintings to look like anything anyone else could ever paint. I want my inner vision exposed on canvas, splattered in color, for my vision is uniquely mine, but it is open to interpretation, not like a stupid static barn, which can only be what it is–a stupid static barn.

For participating in this tour, I received a free Kindle version of the book.

Previous and future tour participants include:

  So Many Precious Books July 8 Review & Giveaway
  Library of Clean Reads July 9 Review
  Library of Clean Reads July 10 Interview
  From Isi July 10 Review
  I Feel So Unnecessary July 11 Review
  Silver’s Reviews July 12 Review
  Girl Who Reads July 15 Interview
  A Book & A Lattee July 16 Review
  Romance & Inspiration July 17 Review
  The Eclectic Reader July 19 Review & Giveaway
  Joy Story July 22 Review
  Faerie Tale Books July 23 Review, Guest Post & Giveaway
  Reading Renee July 25 Review
VW Stitcher July 30 Review
Maniac Mama of 2 July 31 Review
M. Denise C. Aug 1 Review

  Books, Books & More Books Aug 6 Interview
The Self Taught Cook Aug 8 Review
Wall to Wall Books Aug 9 Review & Giveaway

–author Vera Jane Cook
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  2 comments for “The Story of Sassy Sweetwater by Vera Jane Cook

  1. August 1, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    Thanks for taking part in the tour. It sound like you loved The Story of Sassy Sweetwater as much as I did. I didn’t want it to end.

  2. August 2, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    You are welcome, Teddy! I really did enjoy this one!

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