Monday, April 29, 2013

The Pecan Man by Cassie Dandridge Selleck

The Pecan Man is a work of Southern fiction whose first chapter was the First Place winner of the 2006 CNW/FFWA Florida State Writing Competition in the Unpublished Novel category. In the summer of 1976, recently widowed and childless, Ora Lee Beckworth hires a homeless old black man to mow her lawn. The neighborhood children call him the Pee-can Man; their mothers call them inside whenever he appears. When the police chief’s son is found stabbed to death near his camp, the man Ora knows as Eddie is arrested and charged with murder. Twenty-five years later, Ora sets out to tell the truth about the Pecan Man. In narrating her story, Ora discovers more truth about herself than she could ever have imagined. This novel has been described as To Kill a Mockingbird meets The Help.

My take: 4 looks
This was a sweet, sweet book. It was short, concise, engaging, and very well written. I loved everyone in it, even Dovey Kincaid.

The racial tension in a time that everyone in the south thinks it's over is evident, and properly portrayed. The naivetee of Ora as she encounters racism and discrimination against her friends is unsettling for me, a woman in the south who thinks that the lower states have overcome their prejudices. The contrast of Ora and Blanche handing the same situation with two very different approaches based on the color of their skin is sobering.

The familial relationships in the book are marvelously drawn, from Ora realizing she doesn't know Blanche's family at all, to the final revelation of who the "Pecan Man" really is. Ora throwing Dovey off of her porch recalled a very similar scene from The Help, but this is in no way a retelling of that story. It is its own novel, and is a good one.

The description of the booking being a cross between "The Help" and "To Kill a Mockingbird" is a correct one, and I hope this author writes many, many more.

Highly recommended.

1 comment:

  1. I was just doing some marketing for my novel The Pecan Man and was pleasantly surprised to come across your lovely review! Thank you so much for reading my little story. I keep wondering why it is doing so well in sales, so when I find things like this, I know that I have lots of help. I just can't even tell you how much I appreciate such a warm and encouraging review like this. Many thanks and the best of wishes...

    Cassie Selleck