Thursday, February 24, 2011

Review: Georgia Bottoms

Summary: Georgia Bottoms is known in her small community of Six Points, Alabama, as a beautiful, well-to-do, and devoutly Baptist Southern belle.

Nobody realizes that the family fortune has long since disappeared, and a determinedly single woman like Georgia needs an alternative, and discreet, means of income. In Georgia's case it is six well-heeled lovers-one for each day of the week, with Mondays off-none of whom knows about the others.

But when the married preacher who has been coming to call (Saturdays) decides to confess their affair in front of the whole congregation, Georgia must take drastic measures to stop him. In GEORGIA BOTTOMS, Mark Childress proves once again his unmistakable skill for combining the hilarious and the absurd to reveal the inner workings of the rebellious human heart. -- Little, Brown

I have been a fan of Mark Childress' for quite awhile now -- long before my blogging days. I have enjoyed many of his novels, including CRAZY IN ALABAMA; and I just love how his books can make me laugh. And it's not only Mr. Childress' books that are funny! My book club was lucky enough to have him call a few years back to discuss his last novel ONE MISSISSIPPI. (Trust me, he kept us entertained!) So when I heard that his latest novel GEORGIA BOTTOMS was being published, there was no doubt that this fan would be checking it out!

I had a lot of fun with GEORGIA BOTTOMS, and this novel definitely made me remember why I like Mr. Childress' books so much. They are just pure entertainment and so much fun! GEORGIA BOTTOMS is humorous Southern fiction at its best -- don't be surprised to find yourself laughing out load at certain scenes. And it has a very memorable character in Georgia -- she's a modern day version of Scarlet O'Hara.

Tell me the premise of this book isn't original. Since Georgia's family no longer has their fortune, but they still have the expenses of their estate, Georgia turns to what Georgia does best -- she "entertains" men. In fact, she has a different man for every day of the week (although she does manage to take off one day a week!) When the Baptist minister almost announces their indiscretion to the entire congregation, Georgia kicks into survival mode. And, she does a fairly good job of damage control... or so she thinks.

The book's description really doesn't do this book justice since it only covers the first few pages of the novel. However, I don't want to give too much away about the rest of the story because I think it's best to just experience it. What I will say is that Georgia is surrounded by a hilarious cast of characters and the church scene is just the beginning of some extremely funny (and almost preposterous) experiences.

There is no doubt a great deal of humor in this story, and there are times that I found myself laughing at things that might not be perceived as funny (like dementia, broken hearts, and acts of desperation.) However, that's what makes Mark Childress books so terrific. They just make you smile and laugh at human nature. And don't think, based on this review, that this book doesn't strike a few serious chords. There are also some sweet and even touching scenes at the end of the novel which I appreciated even more because of all the silly ones.

GEORGIA BOTTOMS definitely read like a movie to me -- does that even make sense? What I'm trying to say is that I could picture the scenes and characters perfectly thanks to Mr. Childress' descriptions. In fact, I'm confident in saying that Georgia, her family and friends, and her antics are perfect for the big screen. It could happen considering that CRAZY IN ALABAMA was made into a movie with Melanie Griffith in 1999. Needless to say, I'll be anxiously awaiting to see if my prediction comes true!

GEORGIA BOTTOMS would certainly be an entertaining book for book clubs. I'm not sure it will appeal to those groups who are looking for a more "literary" read, but it your discussion would have the potential to be a lot of fun! Since Georgia is such a hoot, there wouldn't be a lack of conversation about her behavior and motivations. Plus, the theme of delicious food (which occurs everywhere in this novel) would provide for plenty of great serving ideas.

I found a great reading guide on Mr. Childress' site which includes not only some discussion questions, but also a possible menu and even some recipes. (The Coca Cola Cake sounds yummy, but I admit that I'd probably pass on the Miss Angie's Five-Layer English Pea Salad.) Some of the topics you might want to revisit include the theme of ants (yes you read that right!), friendship, female stereotypes, racial discrimination, dementia, desperation, parent/child relationships, secrets, guilt, and forgiveness.

If you are a fan of Southern fiction or you are just looking for a very funny read, then I highly suggest giving GEORGIA BOTTOMS a try!

Thanks to the publisher for sending a review copy of this novel.


Kailana said...

I love books that make you laugh. Will have to check into this one for when I am in need of some humour. Thanks for the review!

bermudaonion said...

Well, you know I do love Southern fiction! I can't wait to give this one a try.

Are you saying you've never had Coca-Cola Cake? I thought you grew up in the South! LOL

Rebecca Rasmussen said...

This book sounds like great fun!!!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

After reading Joshilyn Jackson's books I'm now a fan of southern books too! I agree with Kathy - WHAT, you never had coca cola cake? I hope you had red velvet cake at least! :--)

Sandy Nawrot said...

That is exactly how I felt with The it was movie running behind my eyeballs as I read. I love Southern fiction, especially the stuff that laughs to keep from crying. Georgia should have known better than to get involved with the town minister...too much conscience!

Beth Hoffman said...

This book is on my list, I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I loved his book Crazy in Alabama, and the move adaptation was!

Karlie said...

I can't wait to read this one. I love Mark Childress!

marthalama said...

I adore Southern fiction so much. I've wanted to read this since I first saw the title and the cover (just love the cover). Thanks for the review now I must get this book. And yes Coca-Cola Cakes are yummy.

Jill said...

Picked this up yesterday...can't wait to start reading, especially after your great review!

Beth F said...

I absolutely love Coca-Cola Cake! It was very popular when I was in high school.

I too love Southern fiction, so I will be adding it to my list.

SuziQoregon said...

I put myself on the waiting list at the library for this one as soon as I read my first blurb about it. This sounds like just my kind of book. Definitely looking forward to reading it.