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Dreaming Southern

2.9  ·  Rating Details ·  237 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
Broke, with their furniture piled into a trailer, Lila Mae Wooten and her four kids hit the road in a 1953 Packard, en route to a land of movie stars, swimming pools, and their share of the American Dream. For the Wootens, heading for the Golden State--and Lila Mae's husband, Roy--by way of Alabama, Louisiana, and Minnesota, there's no such thing as a direct route.

Paperback, 272 pages
Published January 1st 2000 by Plume (first published 1999)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Aug 09, 2009 Jenn rated it did not like it
Shelves: chick-lit
This rambling novel follows a mom and her two kids on a cross country drive to California via Route 66. Becky Jean, her teenage daughter whines and disses her mother from the backseat all the way. There are a few funny scenes, but I read this a long time ago in my early stages of chick-lit discovery. If I were to have read it now, I would have put it down after 50 pages.
May 11, 2017 Melanie rated it it was ok
A quick, easy and quirky read. Good for lazy days reading on the deck or by the pond. Not much substance and kind of felt like the author tried too hard to create atmosphere and time period such that it got a little tedious.
Aer Bluewilson
Jul 02, 2013 Aer Bluewilson rated it really liked it
This book was pretty good, due to the ratings and reviews here I thought it was not going to be. I think a major issue with this book is people compare it to Rebecca Wells Ya-Ya Sisterhood series, and that hurts it. You can't go in comparing it to other "Southern" books, like the Ya-Ya books or even Fannie Flagg's Fried Green Tomatoes at The Whistlestop Cafe novel. It is not a book that deals with racial (it touches on race very briefly) or even gender issues, it is not about a group of women wh ...more
Ron Charles
Dec 05, 2013 Ron Charles rated it liked it
What a paradox the family car trip is: At what other time are loved ones pressed together so tightly, for so long, with so little to do?

Are we there yet?

Anyone who's ever driven across the country, knee-deep in Happy Meal wrappers, playing "I Spy" until "I scream," will appreciate the comedy of "Dreaming Southern," Linda Bruckheimer's first novel.

"Surely, Lila Mae thought to herself, she could handle a car trip across country with a few high-strung, smart-alecky kids." But Lila Mae, mother of ex
Jul 11, 2007 Irishcoda rated it liked it
I totally enjoyed the first part of Dreaming Southern by Linda Bruckheimer. The heroine, Lila Mae Wooten, reminded me of a sort of Lucy Ricardo/Carmichael from Kentucky. She means well but is so scatterbrained and impulsive, she just gets herself and her kids into all kinds of crazy messes. She even has a sort of Ethel-like sidekick with a juvenile delingquent son. I alternated between laughing and rolling my eyes at all the predicaments the Wootens get into because of Lila Mae's desire to see t ...more
Gail Griffith
Feb 12, 2017 Gail Griffith rated it it was ok
A bit of a bore
Michael Alan Grapin
Sep 10, 2015 Michael Alan Grapin rated it really liked it
Lila Mae and Roy Hooten found themselves in financial straights and decided to escape from Kentucky to California a step or two ahead of the creditors. Roy went ahead and managed the trip in three days by car. Lila Mae drove their Packard, towing a trailer with their meager possessions, joined by their four children ranging from infant to fifteen years old. Unlike Roy, Lila Mae took the most circuitous route possible befriending strangers along the way much to the chagrin of her long suffering c ...more
Feb 09, 2013 Brenda rated it did not like it
Normally books about southern women are some of my favorites, as only Joshilyn Jackson, Dorothea Benton Frank, Mary Kay Andrews, Dorothea Benton Frank, and many others can depict. I was excited by the title, and that is about where my excitement ended. The main character is a twit, she is trying to make it to California to be with her husband and ends up on all of these ridiculous side trips, and "adopting" many characters along the way. As if the ridiculousness of this trip wasn't bad enough, t ...more
Lila Mae's husband has left Kentucky leaving her instructions to pack up the kids and their belongings into the car and follow him out to California. It only took him three days. But Lila Mae has a completely different map in her head and she ends up all over the place - Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama and New Mexico. In each location, trouble and adventure seem to follow her and her brood of sassy children.

The story started out as a cute, chick-lit story but after awhile, things just got
Jan 19, 2017 Sara rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-books
Hilarious road trip book that will resonate with anything who was alive in the 1950s, grew up in the South or had a charismatic relative who was able to persuade her family and total strangers to accompany her on wild adventures. Lila Mae and her brood of 4 children set out by car, hauling a trailer full of furniture and personal belongings to join her husband in California. Their trip includes many detours based on her romantic wish to travel Route 66, her kids desire to go to the Grand Canyon ...more
Evelyn Porter
Feb 01, 2009 Evelyn Porter rated it liked it
The first 2/3 of the book is very enjoyable. We meet a woman from Kentucky and her four sassy children, piling into an old 1950's car, hitched to a trailer, and embarking on a grand adventure to rejoin the husband / father in California.

At a very critical moment in the book, the author changes gears and time periods. The reader ends up wondering what happened and where is the remainder of the story leading us. Readers who grew up prior to the 80's will enjoy the sense of nostalgia, old song lyr
Kelly Waldschmidt
May 16, 2013 Kelly Waldschmidt rated it did not like it
I was excited by the title and the cover of the book. The first few pages in, I felt like this wasn't for me. I really do not care for the main character, she bugs me. I am only 19 pages in and am giving up. I usually push through and make myself finish a book, or at least, get through half before I quit, but I'm not feeling it. After reading several Good Read reviews of this book, it seems like I am not the only one feeling this way. I read the reviews hoping to see some positive reinforcements ...more
Aug 22, 2012 Kipahni rated it it was ok
Old Southerner's have the art of talking down. They can ramble on and on and weave in and out of stories before arriving at the main point, leaving the listener entertained if not a little exhausted. Much like this book, it rambles with no clear destination in mind and just when you feel like finally you understand the main theme, it just drops and feels flat. A quick read, slightly charming and could even make a good abc family movie, but otherwise don't waste your time.
Linda Johnson
It took me a while to get into this book, but I ended up enjoying it. The first half is quite funny and the second half is quite sad.
One thing that did bother me is that Lila Mae's kids, especially the eldest, Becky Jean, at times seemed just downright cruel to their mother and I thought that way too much time was focused on Lila Mae picking out her burial plot at the end of the book, but overall it was a light, mindless read. I'm still trying to figure out what the plot was though...
Jun 26, 2009 Tara rated it did not like it
I read about 5 chapters and decided I am just not the right demographic for this book. It was supposed to be a laugh out loud funny book about a southern family traveling to California. I just could not get into the story or identify with the characters. I think if I was from the south or remembered life in the 1950's this book may have been more interesting.
Nov 12, 2010 Cynthia rated it did not like it
I honestly didn't find the humor in this book. I kept waiting for a plot to develop and every time the storyline started to go in a certain direction it was dropped cold. The second part jumped ahead some 30+ years and I hoped it would tie up some loose ends but was a total waste of time. I very seldom do not recommend a book, but this time is one of them.
Jul 03, 2011 Patty rated it liked it
At first I laughed and laughed as I read this book because so many of the phrases were those I heard during my growing up years in small town, KY. Then the author just seemed to ramble aimlessly. Mostly I just didn't think she tied events together enough to weave a story. Still I laughed a lot...
Jan 08, 2014 Emily rated it it was ok
Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for something somewhat mindless and fluffy. Whatever the reason, this book just never caught my attention. It was somewhat rambling and silly. I think that was the idea. If you like rambling and silly, go for it. Otherwise, there are a whole lot of other good books out there.
Aug 11, 2007 Joselle173 rated it liked it
A quick read about a Kentucky Mom and her four kids moving across country to CA on a road trip in the early 1950s. Hysterical at some points. I didn't care for the ending - sort of falls apart, which was a disappointment with the first 2/3rds of it being really good. Still worth the read though.
Mar 09, 2010 Suzanne rated it did not like it
Never "got" this book. Kept reading it, kept reading it, kept reading it (until I actually finished it) thinking it would get better, tie it all together & make sense. It never ever did. Very frustrating.
Mar 16, 2014 Cheryl rated it it was ok
It's difficult to rate this book. The first part is definitely 3 or 4 stars--but it takes a sharp turn near the end and goes from funny and entertaining to wistful and rather sad. It's well-written, but I was hoping for a less somber ending.
Jan 07, 2009 Amy rated it did not like it
I trtied. Honestly. But if I saw one more double name (Becky Jean, Lila Mae, Irene GAye, Billy Cooper...and that's just in the first four pages!) I thought I'd scream. Not all of us in the south go by two first names. Cripes.
Sep 03, 2007 Angela rated it liked it
This was a fun read. It took me a minute to get into it though. She starts you off right in the midst of travel and leaving their home behind. She's driving to California to her husband and she has her four children with her. All sorts of crazy things happen to them on there way.
May 06, 2010 Posey rated it did not like it
I got about three quarters of the way through the book and gave up. Boring!
F.R. Southerland
Sep 19, 2016 F.R. Southerland rated it liked it
Loved the story until the last chapter.
Oct 19, 2015 Cindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hoo-eeee, now that's what I call a road trip!
Jen Slipakoff
Nov 19, 2014 Jen Slipakoff rated it did not like it
I gave up. The first few pages were so mind-numbingly awful and based on the reviews here, it doesn't get better.
Bad and boring. How boring? Well I kept waiting for it to get better and interesting....and it NEVER did!
Sep 30, 2015 Patt rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up-on
I couldn't get further than half way through this one for some reason. It was just rather boring to me at this time. Maybe I'll wait a few months and try to read it again.
Apr 07, 2012 Jenn rated it did not like it
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