Thursday, September 16, 2010

Book Hungry's September Snack: GODS IN ALABAMA

It's that time of the month again! Yes, friends, the second meeting of my Twitterati's book club, Book Hungry is now in session, the honorable Cynthia Reese is presiding over the festivites as September was her pick, and boy was it an AWESOME (Kelly, I hear you singing that) one :)

To be honest, GODS IN ALABAMA by Joshilyn Jackson is a book I would normally pass right by when wandering through the library. As you all know by now, I am fairly shallow when it comes to books and that all important first impression. Yes, I do judge them by their covers. Sue me. But, when Cynthia named it as September's book of the month, I ran right out to my local library and rescued it from the shelf it was being held hostage on.

I didn't even stop to look it over. No quick glance at the cover. No reading the book jacket to see what it was about. Just a grab and go. It was a hit and run, library style.

As I used to do with homework when I was in school (way, way, way back when) I said to myself, "Self, you will read this first. Get it out of the way." See how responsible I can be? But, guess what, guys?

I REALLY liked this book. Arlene's voice was immediately endearing to me. At the risk of being Jerry Maguire cheesy, GODS had me at "redneck ninjas" :-D

What is it about, you ask?

When Arlene Fleet left Possett, Alabama for college and a new life in Chicago, she made three promises to God: No lies would ever cross her lips again, No more getting down and dirty with every Tom, Dick (heheh), and Harry that crossed her path, And especially, no going back to the small town and buried secrets of her past. All God had to do in return was keep her past hidden, her secrets safe.

And, Arlene is keeping those promises, even if it means a lot of frustration for her boyfriend Burr (who might just be the perfect man...I'm just saying). But all her good intentions go up in smoke when a blast from her past shows up at her door, demanding to know about the one person Arlene has sworn never to think of, much less speak of, again.

Jim Beverly. Star high school quarterback. A god worshipped by all. All except Arlene. And Arlene is the only one who knows what happened to Jim Beverly. Arlene and God...and now, God is welshing on his end of the deal.

Whoever said you can't go home again never met Arlene's family. The rigid Aunt Flo, the sweet, never-do-wrong Clarisse, and Arlene's crazy mama. And, of course, Burr, the love of her life who just might not love her after he finds out who she really is.

Now that you have a little taste of what GODS is all about, allow me to tell you why I liked this book. :)

For me, any tale is really about the characters. The plot, while important, is secondary. The greatest mystery, most perfect romance, or saddest story is nothing if the cast of characters are not fully formed. And, the characters in GODS jumped right off the page.

Arlene is real. She doesn't lie, but that doesn't mean she always tells the truth. She doesn't fornicate, but that doesn't mean she's pure. And, while she may not have gone home for more than a decade, she's never missed a Sunday evening call from her Aunt Flo, who is the shizznit if any of you are wondering. Yes, Flo may be a bit on the cold side, but she's FIERCE (yes, Kelly, that was me singing). And, she's fiercely protective of her family.

None of the characters were flat, and that included Jim Beverly. I wanted to be disgusted by him, to tell Arlene not to be too torn up about what happened, that that jerk deserved what he got, but I just couldn't. He had his redeeming qualities, and I kind of hated that I couldn't hate him.

Whew! Now that you've listened to me go on and on and on and on about this book, check out the other bloggers in the club and get their takes on September's pick GODS IN ALABAMA

Abby Mumford
Alyson Peterson
Cynthia Reese
Elizabeth Ryann
Kelly Breakey
Patty Blount
Vaness Noble


  1. Redneck ninjas? Okay, this I gotta read...

  2. There were so many things that she said here that took me by surprise. "Hello you big green whore."

    I snorted on that one. Plus, like you, I completely overlooked this book in my search for a good read. Although I did read the back on this one and thought, "Um, no, I don't think so."

    So glad we were forced to read it here. Another winner! Great Review Karla.

  3. "I kind of hated that I couldn't hate him."

    YES!! YES!! Exactly why Jackson gets my vote for master of characterization. Her bad guy isn't all that bad and her heroine isn't all that heroic.

    There were so many great lines but especially loved how the Southern voice was so audible.

  4. umm, karla, this might be my favorite review of the bunch.

    you nailed it, arlene style.


  5. Haha, redneck ninjas and asshole grandpa! I think we're all willing to hang out with Arlene because she's so funny, even if she greets you with confessions of murder.

    This was such a great fun review, Karla.

  6. Linda: Yes, you must. The voice in this book is so clear and fun. Redneck ninjas is just one of the phrases that had me LOL-ing

    Kelly: Yes, Cynthia did good in her pick, huh?

    Patty: Exactly. The voice rang so clear and true in this tale.

    Abby: Awww **blushes** thanks!

    Elizabeth: Asshole Granpa **snickers** I'd definitely welcome Arlene into my circle of friends :)

  7. Redneck ninjas + asshole grandpa?



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