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Between, Georgiaby Joshilyn Jackson
Synopses & Reviews
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 lost her and won't forget how they were done wrong. Now, in Between, Georgia, population 90, a feud that began the night Nonny was born is escalating, and a random act of violence is about to ignite a stash of family secrets. Ironically, it might be just what the town needs...if only Nonny weren't stuck in between.
"The biological daughter of poor, scared teenager Hazel Crabtree, Nonny Frett was left at birth with the wealthy, respectable Frett clan — a secret that doesn't keep long in a rural Georgia town of 90 people. Growing up at the center of a Crabtree-Frett feud begun by her birth, Nonny is caught between her biological family and her adopted one, between contempt for her philandering husband and the comfort of marriage, between an apartment in Athens, Ga., and her childhood home, Between. When a Doberman belonging to Nonny's biological grandmother Ona Crabtree attacks Nonny's adopted mom, deaf and blind Stacia Frett, and Stacia's twin sister, Genny, the families' dormant 'war' awakens. Though Jackson (Gods in Alabama) might cut a few corners plotwise, her strengths more than make up for it: plenty of Southern sass ('Don't call me again unless you are personally on fire') and rueful, charming confidences ('I wanted the divorce with all my heart. I did. Only I wasn't sure I wanted it tomorrow') make this a theatrical and well-paced Southern family drama. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"There's 'no such thing as a town smaller than Between,' Joshilyn Jackson writes about the setting of her new Southern novel. It's not awfully far from Athens, Ga.; it's surrounded by pines and threatened by kudzu. Its major attraction is a museum devoted to porcelain dolls and butterfly farming: 'a must-stop spot for the kind of people who liked to pack up a camper and go see freakishly large balls... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) of tinfoil.' Between is also the home of the Fretts and the Crabtrees, who are like the Montagues and the Capulets, only more eccentric. The Fretts are 'meticulous to the point of mental illness,' Jackson writes. If they ever cuss, they use only cuss-words that appear in the Bible. They have money; they create order. The Crabtrees, meanwhile, live in squalor and chaos, sloping in and out of common-law unions and borderline felonies. The primal Crabtree landscape is a helter-skelter vision of 'rusted-out bodies of cars and partial cars, heaps of old lawn mowers, fridges, gas stoves, and chunks of various engines.' Crabtree men don't ask for dessert; they holler, 'Baby Jesus, but I (expletive) need some pie.' A faithful summary of 'Between, Georgia' would have to go on for pages to honor its enormous cast of quirky characters and its breathlessly intricate plot. But what you need to know is that the narrator, a spirited young woman named Nonny, was born a Crabtree and raised as a Frett. Her adoptive mother and aunts, in their tidy print dresses and orthopedic shoes, are naturally at odds with her Crabtree grandmother and a slew of redneck Crabtree cousins. But an attack by a vicious Crabtree dog brings the families together and sets the action going. There's also Nonny's husband, Jonno, physically irresistible and ethically deficient, from whom she'll be divorced as soon as they can stop having 'goodbye sex' and get to their court date in Athens. Jonno plays in a rock band called X. Machina — as in deus ex machina, an ancient Greek plot-resolving device that comes in handy when this book reaches full gallop. Jackson, whose first novel was 'gods in Alabama,' has a gift for juggling a zillion movable parts. Adept at the kind of farce that requires characters to hide from each other in the bushes, she's also good at poignancy and at darker scenes of mayhem. There's so much back-story that it takes the reader a while to get oriented, but once you've got it straight, Jackson produces an astringently humorous performance. Though 'Between' hasn't the emotional depth that occasionally enriched 'gods in Alabama,' it's equally dotted with Southern 'characters.' A favorite: the airhead virago Amber DeClue. Please let Scarlett Johansson play her if there's a movie so she can deliver the line: 'I have to go iron my hair.' Frances Taliaferro is a writer in New York." Reviewed by Frances Taliaferro, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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"There's a lot to admire in Between, Georgia....
"A climactic ending with perfect story resolution makes this book tidy and uplifting, and even the most cynical reader will surely smile as the back cover closes." Debi Lewis, Booklist (starred review)
"Between, Georgia is a small miracle, and Nonny Frett is the most engaging woman who ever lived in the pages of a book. Joshilyn Jackson is an enormously talented writer." Anne Rivers Siddons, author of Sweetwater Creek
"A raucous novel, populated by wild characters, tenderly drawn. Joshilyn Jackson writes with wit and warmth about the complex nature of family, while handing down a beautiful and fierce new definition of motherhood." Julianna Baggott, author of Girl Talk and coauthor of Which Brings Me to You
The author of "Gods in Alabama" returns with this heartwarming #1 Book Sense Pick about a young Southern woman caught between a decades-old family feud that is escalating and threatening to expose family secrets.
About the Author
Joshilyn Jackson, a native of the Deep South, has worked as an actor and an award-winning teacher, and is now a writer and a mother of two. She is the author of Gods in Alabamaand Between, Georgia. Jackson lives with her husband and children outside of Atlanta.
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