Requisite disclaimer: I know Beth. She’s been a commenter on my blog for years. I love her. And she loves my dog.
Also: The publisher sent me this book.
This is my unbiased opinion of her new book, Looking for Me.
Teddi Overman found her life’s passion for furniture in a broken-down chair left on the side of the road in rural Kentucky. She learns to turn other people’s castoffs into beautifully restored antiques, and eventually finds a way to open her own shop in Charleston. There, Teddi builds a life for herself as unexpected and quirky as the customers who visit her shop. Though Teddi is surrounded by remarkable friends and finds love in the most surprising way, nothing can alleviate the haunting uncertainty she’s felt in the years since her brother Josh’s mysterious disappearance. When signs emerge that Josh might still be alive, Teddi is drawn home to Kentucky. It’s a journey that could help her come to terms with her shattered family—and to find herself at last. But first she must decide what to let go of and what to keep.
There are a few things in life I just completely love with all my heart. Family. Books. Food. My Country. Being Southern. Southern Novels. Art. Antiques. Fixing Up Things (at least I want to, as many can tell if you follow me on Pinterest).
Basically what I’m saying is this book was written for me.
Looking for Me is the story of Teddi Overman, and the lengths she does to, well, find herself. Growing up with an unhappy mother, with little indication as to why she is so unhappy, and a somewhat emotionally distant father, and a brother who is a nature prodigy (seriously, the boy LOVES The Great Outdoors), Teddi struggles to find herself and her place in this world, to get away and just go find what she wants. Early in life, she discovered a love for restoring furniture, or, one could say a knack for putting things to rights. Her mother has other ideas for Teddi, but her father and his gift of a car and a map help her escape. As she finally breaks away from her family, she journeys to Charleston, SC, and there, she finds some sembelance of what she wants. In the time she is gone, her father dies, her brother disappears, and her mother continues to be her mysterious, unhappy self. It is when her mother finally agrees to come visit Teddi in Charleston, that Teddi begins to learn new things about herself, and about the family she left behind.
I’m a firm believer in the right book and the right time. My timing for this book could not have been more perfect. It showed up in the mail (thank you Penguin, for sending the audiobook!). I read the description, saw that Jenna Lamia (I looooove Jenna Lamia) read it, and having been promising myself for AGES to read one of Beth’s books, so in the car it went. Jenna’s magical voice brought Teddi to life. I LOVE Teddi. I love her family. I love her shop. I want her shop. I even love her dog. And Beth’s writing is a perfect example of Southern Literature. The cadence of the Southern accent, the cadence of Southern life, are there. The love of family, the pain of loss, the search for ones own identity, within the family and without. And the slightly ambiguous ending, the not knowing for sure…about….something (I’m not telling) made it a perfect read for me. And geez, now I really, really, REALLY want to go to Charleston.
Now, back to Saving Ceecee Honeycutt for me. I don’t know what I’ve been waiting for.
Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman
Read by Jenna Lamia
Publisher: Penguin Group
Publication date: 5/28/2013
Time: 12 hours 14 minutes
Rating: 5 out of 5