Oh, Joshilyn Jackson. How do you craft such intriguing, lovable characters? And create a menagerie of love and amusement out of such weird, dysfunctional people? And because I loved this book so much and the description itself is funny and awesome, here’s the publisher’s blurb:
Nonny Frett understands the meaning of the phrase “in between a rock and a hard place” better than any woman alive. She’s got two mothers, “one deaf-blind and the other four baby steps from flat crazy.” She’s got two men: a husband who’s easing out the back door; and a best friend, who’s laying siege to her heart in her front yard. And she has two families: the Fretts, who stole her and raised her right; and the Crabtrees, who won’t forget how they were done wrong.
Now, in Between, Georgia, a feud that began the night Nonny was born is escalating and threatening to expose family secrets. Ironically, it might be just what the town needs… if only Nonny weren’t stuck in between.
To say I raced through this book is an understatement. As I borrowed an audio version from the library (time crunch!), I found myself prolonging errands so I could spend just a little more time in Between. I loved that Jackson incorporated completely out-of-the-box characters like Stasia Frett, a blind and deaf woman who felt compelled to become Nonny’s mother when her biological mess of a teenage birth mother couldn’t care for her.
As Between is such a small town, the Fretts and Crabtrees no each other very well. Tthe Crabtrees might be hardscrabble poor and vicious, but that doesn’t mean they take kindly to their own flesh and blood being taken in by a holier-than-thou Frett.
Sometimes it’s hard to articulate why you mesh so well with a story, but I’ve quickly become enamored with Jackson and find myself savoring each and every one of her words like an expensive truffle. Though Nonny could be boneheaded at times, I thought she was a wonderful and caring person — a truly great daughter — and couldn’t help but laugh at the Frett sisters, all of whom were good-hearted but more than a little eccentric. Bernese was probably my favorite. Jackson always has at least one character that brings the zingers, making you laugh or cry at the most unexpected moments. That was definitely Bernese for me.
Entertaining and heartwarming by the close, I wanted to drive my own self down to share a glass of tea with the ladies of Between, Georgia. Nonny’s struggles with family — those who gave you life versus those with whom you make a life — will ring true for many. Fans of Southern fiction and Jackson’s exquisite storytelling will find plenty to love here, and I can’t wait to pick up her newest novel: A Grown-Up Kind Of Pretty.
4 out of 5!
My thoughts on the narration: As with Backseat Saints, my first experience with Jackson, Between, Georgia was narrated by the author herself. She has impeccable timing and a warm, pleasant voice. I thought her take on Henry, Nonny’s unlikely love interest, was a little exaggerated — he sounded like a Creole caricature, really — but loved everything else about her sweet Southern lilt. She’s awesome.