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The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  3,940 Ratings  ·  305 Reviews
It's a steamy June afternoon in Louisiana, circa 1956, and Sissy LeBlanc is sitting on her front porch, wondering -- half seriously -- if she could kill herself with aspirins and Coca-Cola. She's been living in stifling old Gentry since the day she was born and trapped in a sham of a marriage to PeeWee LeBlanc since she was only seventeen. In short, she's fed up, restless, ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published August 6th 2002 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published October 23rd 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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When I checked this book out, I wanted a taste of Southern cheekiness that only White women can offer. Anyway, I figured this would be a source for some easy entertainment, White women fainting in the heat or gossiping behind fans. Surprisingly, Sissy is much more than that. A Southern belle with a free spirit who is trapped in Gentry, Louisiana. Her past is a rocky one, but an interesting one. Her children, Chip in particular, are very interesting characters in this story. The most interesting ...more
Sep 18, 2016 Ruth rated it it was amazing
I love this book! If you like books with strong female characters, twists that you weren't expecting, and books that reflect to the past, I think you will love this. There is a kind of prequel (sp.?) which recently came out and I am very excited to read it (The Bad Behavior of Belle Cantrell).
CJ -Doctor can you help me, 'cause somethin' don't feel right
This book had its moments of being highly entertaining and vapidly self-absorbed. I blame the characters for both.

Sissy is a victim of her own mistakes. She is funny, high-spirited, defeated and tenacious. She's also not in love with her husband but with her old high school boyfriend. This doesn't ruin anything folks because this is made clear about four pages in.

Parker Davidson, who should know better than to go after married women, has been in love with Sissy since their high school days and u
Sometimes books suffer from misrepresentation/mismarketing just as movies do. The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc is one of these books: it looks like a fluffy chicklit romp, from cover to title, to inside flap synopsis, to back cover excerpts from The Southern Belle's Handbook, a metatext that runs through the novel.* Actually, it's quite a dark book, albeit one with a neatly tied up happy ending.

For example, the novel explicitly engages with racism, white privilege and anti-semitism (Parker
Sep 15, 2008 Therese rated it did not like it
Recommended to Therese by: The cheapskate cruising the book table at Costco.
Shelves: crapola
Selfish, self-absorbed people acting stupidly. These characters are not appealing and don't make me want to root for them. The action & plot aren't even as attractive as a train-wreck. The prologue gives a good idea of how it all turns out anyway, so why should I keep reading? I'm about 1/2 way through it. Might not get any farther.

Funny, I was thrown by the main character's reference to "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and looked it up before mentioning it here, thinking it was an anachroni
Jun 24, 2014 Desiree rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone looking to enjoy & escape from the heat both actual and metaphorical
From the book: "If you know anything about summer in Louisiana you know the heat, moist and heavy, presses down on the pavement until it sends up shimmering mirages, and lovers, looking for a little noontime solace, stick to one another in high-ceilinged bedrooms. But the bar was cool, especially after a couple of tall glasses of bourbon and Coke over cracked ice"

The ultimate summer read of all time for me. The only S-word left out of the title describes it most perfectly: Sizzling

From the descr
Amy Pyles
Jan 17, 2014 Amy Pyles rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
I'm feeling generous with 2 stars. The first half of this novel was absolutely horrible. I'm sure worse have been written, but I don't think I've read any. A little bit of actual content showed up in the second half, but by then it was too late to care about the characters or anything they did. The writing and pacing just never seemed to work out right, either. There were small glimmers of hope, but they never came to fruition for me. Overall this book was a big disappointment, and I'm terribly ...more
Mar 18, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it
Really good book. Definitely not what I thought it would be (which was a light and fluffy classic chick lit- southern style) and although it was southern through and through and started off as a slightly edgy story turned dark about the second third of the way in and I was hooked. Some of it was a little strange, like I thought hmmm I wouldn't act that way if that happened, but with all stories there has to be a slight suspension of disbelief (even in the straight up non-surreal fiction) and I w ...more
May 01, 2009 Kayte rated it really liked it
I really, really, really wish that I could have given this book 3.5 stars. 3 wasn't enough though, so I went with 4. This is a great book if you're looking for a quick read. At first I thought it was going to be light and fun, which it was at parts. But there were some pretty intense themes in this book. And let me just say that if you don't like graphic sex scenes in your books, this may not be the book for you. But I really enjoyed it and recommend it to anyone who wants a little twisted chick ...more
Jul 14, 2016 Donna rated it it was ok
This was a summer beach read that I bought a couple of years ago and just got to on this year's vacation. I have to say I was a bit disappointed even though I wasn't expecting great literature from this one. The characters are cliches, Sissy is the heroine in everyone's eyes. However, I found her to be selfish and simply a liar. The men are stereotypical and none are very interesting. Then the epilogue wraps everything up into a neat little bow. Just not my cup of tea even for a summer read.

Jannette Sternberg
Jun 10, 2012 Jannette Sternberg rated it it was ok
I am only have way threw this book and am embarrassed to be reading such trash. I thought it would be a change from historical fiction to read a book based in more modern times rather than in the ice age. I was expecting just a simple chick lit book with some romance. I am against adultery and was shocked to see it in this book. I might finish the book just cause I already wasted my time getting half way threw it. Also to see how it turns out.
Katrina (trinakb)
Aug 04, 2014 Katrina (trinakb) rated it it was amazing
I had never heard of this book but was perusing the used book store one day and the cover caught my eye and the book summary sounded interesting. It has sat in my "to be read" pile for well over a year and I just decided to give it a whirl. I'm so glad I did, it was so up my alley. It takes place in the controversial south in 1956 where racism and womans sufferage were the constant and change was beyond frightening.

I ordinarily despise infidelity in any book I read, but I was almost rooting for
Angela Avery
Jul 23, 2009 Angela Avery rated it it was amazing
Definitely a scandalous and sassy book about the south! It's a GREAT read. Very interesting to learn more about the southern ways. It reminded me of the Ya Ya Sisterhood movie, just with their southern way of speaking and being sassy. GREAT summer read!
Rory Sylverne-nordberg
May 25, 2013 Rory Sylverne-nordberg rated it it was amazing
Loved it! Great beach read!!
Susan Kelley
Jul 31, 2008 Susan Kelley rated it really liked it
When I first read the back cover of this book, I thought that it would be about a married woman faced with temptation in the form of her former high school squeeze. It seemed like it would be a bit of fluff to while away the summer days.

Wrong, Susan. Just wrong. The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc is so much more than a book about a bored housewife looking for adventure. The reader is taken back and forth between the summer of 1956 and the fall of 1941, as well as a brief foray into 2002.

Feb 06, 2013 Lee rated it really liked it
Somehow I've read 2 books in a row here with unhappy wife story lines, but this one is very different from How To Be Good by Nick Hornby. Anyone from the south can identify with the heat, the food, hunting, etc. The woman makes mistakes but is unapologetic about them...the oldest son is rather scary and opportunistic...a good read with some great nuggets:

One of my favorite lines "What's that they say about Cajuns? If you know one that's rich and honest, you don't know him well."

And describing th
Leanne Schneider
Jun 27, 2016 Leanne Schneider rated it liked it
3 1/2 stars. This was a good book.....but the first half was a little boring. It was One of those books that you wondered if it was actually going to go anywhere....I almost quit it. But I really wanted to finish it because I was reading it on a hot day in June. So the setting was perfect. I'm glad I stuck with it. Round about the middle, it picks up steam. And the ending is perfect.
Read this on a hot summer day, while drinking sweet tea on the porch, wearing a sun dress. Perfect.
Jun 27, 2012 Megan rated it really liked it
I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed this book. I didn't want to put it down. The characters were extremely interesting and relateable. I love a good Southern setting as well as a historical novel, especially early to mid 20th century (I love Dorothy Garlock books for this reason). Though this book will never hit the mass market the way that "The Help" did, it had many of the same qualities as "The Help." Both are about strong female characters in the South who are trying to surmount their own stugg ...more
Apr 23, 2016 NJones rated it really liked it
Perfect summer reading material. It's full of twists and also intensely relatable. I will read almost anything set in Louisiana, especially when the title character has a name like Sissy LeBlanc. I'm glad this book wasn't too cliched. I really liked the small town odd characters in this book too. Take this one to the pool with you and you will not be dissapointed.
Nov 11, 2015 Cara rated it it was amazing
I love this book! It's an easy read, but kept me interested the whole time. It has a dark storyline to it and there are characters you will loathe, but it doesn't take away from anything. The female characters are strong for the most part and I would highly recommend it to anyone. I will say this, the book did help reinforce my desire to live a childfree life ;)
Ellen Moore
Mar 29, 2014 Ellen Moore rated it really liked it
The book was interesting, but I thought the last half was better than the first. It was sad because it seemed that no one in the book was really happy. I felt that Sissy's oldest son needed some STRICT discipline and supervision before he killed his siblings. The writer's style was effective, and questions I had were answered later in the book as the story progressed.
Apr 12, 2014 Tolly rated it it was amazing
I read this book a while ago. I think of Sissy often. Going to reread it this summer, and I almost never reread books, there are just too many out there, to re-read them. But I feel like I need some Sissy this summer. I came to look it up to see if you had written anything new, hope you are working on something. Cheers!
Jess Gantt
May 21, 2014 Jess Gantt rated it really liked it
A good plot! This book was more dark than I expected, but I also think I need to come to understand that my favorite genre (women of the South during the Civil Rights era) has many inherent dark undertones concerning the treatment of women, racism, and other deep rooted issues from our not-so-distant history.
May 20, 2015 Beth rated it liked it
As another reader and reviewer so aptly put it "This book had its moments of being highly entertaining and vapidly self-absorbed. I blame the characters for both." I could not have said it better. Thank you, CJ. Good summer read. Don't expect high literary thrills, but well written.
sarah parker
This book did hold my interest, though I wasn't thrilled with the drifting off the scenes to remember things that could have been omitted altogether. The story is scattered and tiresome at times. It has the potential of being a really fun read, but as it is, too many letdowns in places that could have had more drama.
Aug 07, 2011 Kendra rated it did not like it
This is one of those odd novels where I can’t quite say that I didn’t like it but I also can’t say that it was good. There was something about the story that kept me coming back for more and wanting to continue but overall, I didn’t really enjoy the book. I absolutely did not like the heroine, Sissy LeBlanc. I found her to be annoying, low class, and frustrating. I felt sorry for her children and her husband and had very little sympathy for her. I kept thinking this book felt like a corny TV mov ...more
Jul 16, 2015 Cathy rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Despres sets the reader up perfectly for a few surprises at the end. Sissy LeBlanc fits in the tradition of smart, strong, sassy southern women (think Scarlett O'Hara or Maggie the cat). Sissy's "The Southern Belle's Handbook"deserves it's own book!
Sakeenah Aleem
Oct 05, 2015 Sakeenah Aleem rated it it was amazing
I love, love, loved this book! It was just what I needed to get me through the dog days of Summer. The plot line was fabulous and the characters were so engaging. Great read for anyone wanting a little scandal in their life.
Aug 13, 2008 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Shelves: my-books-read
This book is good. It's a little "trashy" (some people would say) in some parts. It does cuss. But in the end, it was a very good story. I liked how it was set in the 40's and 50's which dealt with racism, religion, and even sexism. Sissy LeBlanc, is a strong character, in whom I ended up loving at the end. She seemed like a long lost sister, or something, of mine. I loved how she showed how a woman is able to get what she wants, in both her and another character in the story, Clara. It was a gr ...more
Pauline Hopkins
Feb 22, 2014 Pauline Hopkins rated it liked it
very good quick read, great for the beach, or lounge chair.......there are personality traits of Sissy that every female can relate to....the more you read the more you understand the value of this characters *Southern Belles handbook.....rules number 101. you can't change the past, but a smart girl won't let that stop her.......:-)
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Loraine Despres is a best-selling novelist and screenwriter. Her first novel, the rollicking Southern love story, The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc, was a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick, a Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club featured selection. It became a national best-seller and is now in its 25th printing. It begins: “When you get to be a certain age, you realize that ...more
More about Loraine Despres...

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“Letting go is the best revenge. It frees your heart for much more satisfying pursuits.” 2 likes
“If you know anything about summer in Louisiana you know that the heat, moist and heavy, presses down on the pavement until it sends up shimmering mirages, and lovers, looking for a little noontime solace, stick to one another in high-ceilinged bedrooms.” 1 likes
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