Between, Georgia, by Joshilyn Jackson

Between, GeorgiaJoshilyn Jackson’s novel Between, Georgia is the story of Nonny Frett, born to teenage Hazel Crabtree, who turned up on Bernese Frett Baxter’s doorstep in labor in the middle of the night. Bernese, a nurse, also happens to be the sworn enemy of Hazel’s mother, Ona Crabtree. Hazel gives her baby to the Fretts, and Nonny is adopted by deaf and blind Stacia Frett. Once Ona gets wind of the deception, her cold war with Bernese heats up and eventually breaks out into all-out war in an incident involving a dog attack. Biologically a Crabtree, but raised a Frett, Nonny always seems to be in between: caught between her no-account husband Jonno, whom she can’t seem to get rid of, and her friend, Henry Crabtree (either a distant relation or no relation).

First of all, it bears repeating (because every review I’ve read by a Georgian includes this fact), Between, Georgia, is a real place. I have driven through it. And that’s all most people say about places like Between. It is Between Athens and Atlanta, yes, but also exactly between Loganville and Monroe, which is think is the original origin of its name (if I’m not mistaken). One review I read of this book criticized it for having eccentric characters. It is true that Southern literature has its fair share of crazies. Maybe this video can illuminate things for you Yankees.

I know the reviewer said she’s lived in a small Southern town and folks were actually normal, and she’s probably telling the truth. Mainly (as Huck would say). But these are real people. I sure know them. So yes, this book has crazy people in it, but I think some of them were my family members—in fact, I’m pretty sure a lot of the Crabtrees were based on family members.

Joshilyn Jackson spoke at a Georgia Council of Teachers of English conference I went to a couple of years ago. She is hysterical in person, and has a wonderful voice, which is why folks seem to like her audio books. I remember her saying at the conference that she got interested in Between as she drove through town because she noticed the population sign: it had evidently lost a resident, and the sign had been changed. Jackson imagined that a person who would be so meticulous about the population sign must be someone like Bernese.

This was a fun, light read, and it was genuinely funny in some parts. It’s always a bit interesting to read about places you know or have visited or lived in.

Rating: ★★★★☆

This book qualifies for the Loved One’s Choice book in the Take a Chance Challenge because my mother passed it on to me and said I would like it. She was right. I did.

Reading Update: Spring is Here


Nasty spring rain ruined my weekend plans. Drivin’ N Cryin’ (remember them? from a few blogs posts ago?) were playing at a free street festival in nearby Woodstock, and we had planned to go, but it rained. And rained. And hailed some. And rained some more. It is still kind of gross outside. I know we’ll have some other nice weekends this spring, but this one was to include a free Drivin’ N Cryin’ concert.

I’d like to say all that time indoors meant I read a lot, but mostly I worked on my genealogy. I am alternately engrossed in or neglectful of my family history. I seem to have no in between. Still, I enjoyed doing it, so it was productive.

I am still reading Joshilyn Jackson’s Between, Georgia, and I am enjoying it so far. It is what I thought it would be: a fun, light read. I started using my Audible app to see if I like it better than iTunes for listening to audio books, and it does have a few more features that I like, including connections to Facebook and Twitter, and a bookmarking/note-taking system like my Kindle. The books did take quite a while to download to it, however. I am listening to The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Luiz Zafón, which I purchased via my monthly Audible credit some time ago. The reader does a great job with the Spanish names. I started a new book via DailyLit: The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas. I love a great Dumas swashbuckler, and though I’ve seen the movie version, I’ve never read the book. If I don’t put it on hold or read faster than one post a day, I should finish it around the end of October.

I talked to my sister today. It was great. I haven’t talked to her on the phone in ages. I miss her.

In other news, Diana Wynne Jones died on Saturday. I haven’t read her books, though I had planned to, and my daughter, who has read some of her books, was sad to hear this news. Neil Gaiman has posted a wonderful tribute to her on his blog.

photo credit: Cia de Foto

Reading Update: Where is Shelley’s Ghost?

Does anyone know how long it takes a book to travel through the post from the UK? I ask because I won this book:

Shelley's Ghost

For creating this video:

(And before you get excited, I was one of three entrants, so they just decided to award the prize to all three of us.)

I want my book! It was mailed on or around March 3, I think, and given that was over two weeks ago, I’m starting to wonder.

So last week was a good reading week for me, as I devoured Water for Elephants in a day, and I finished listening to the audio version of A Discovery of Witches. I will be wrapping up Great Expectations on DailyLit this week.

I started reading Jon Clinch’s Finn, the story of Huckleberry Finn’s infamous Pap. It’s a little dark, and I’m not sure I’m in the mood for dark right at the moment. It calls to mind Faulkner, and I think I will be glad I’ve read it when I finish it, but I think I want to pick up Allegra Goodman’s The Cookbook Collector, though it has really mixed reviews on Goodreads. I planned to read it anyway for the Sense and Sensibility Bicentenary Challenge. I also toyed with the idea of picking up Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson. First of all, I’ve been through Between, which is a real place. Second, Jackson was hysterical in person when I heard her talk about her books. Third, I know it will be funny and light.

Yeah, I can’t decide.