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As Hot as It Was You Ought to Thank Me

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  660 ratings  ·  101 reviews
From a place where you don't have to run away to find yourself, this novel's young heroine, Berry, joins the ranks of other memorable and spirited girl narrators such as Bone in "Bastard Out of Carolina," Kaye Gibbon's "Ellen Foster," Lily Owens in "The Secret Life of Bees," and Scout from "To Kill a Mockingbird."
Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 1st 2005 by Back Bay Books
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Community Reviews

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The characters in Nanci Kincaid's "As Hot As It Was You Ought to Thank Me" are amazingly well written but comparing it to "To Kill a Mockingbird" as some critics chose to do gives the author too much credit.

The book is the story of Berry Jackson, a teenager growing up Pinetta, Fla. As in most small towns, every family scandal belongs to the community.

The community includes all of the usual players–narrator Berry, her father the school principal, her mother, her two brothers, and an extremely wea
This is an unusual recommendation in that the first three pages are great, but the next fifty pages are so meandering and lacking in plot and even kind of annoying that I quit and decided to return the book. Then, stuck at home with a horrible sickness and nothing to read, I picked it up again. It started getting better and then got so good I couldn’t put it down.

Note: Do not read the back cover of this book. The editors have said far too much about what happens and several important parts of t
Cynthia Brooks
I finished most of this in one day. At first the Southern/rural Florida voice was a bit strong for me and put me off. And I’m from rural Florida. But the book was set in the 50s, so she probably got it just right for that era. She’s a good story teller. Lots of family drama and mystery, with a very strong sense of place, narrated by a thirteen year old girl. I loved her description of the hurricane and people’s response to it. It was authentic; you can tell she grew up here:

"Outside we could hea
This is the second time I've read this book and it's fantastic. Family in the 1950s in a very small town in northern Florida (so, still the south!) Told from the point of view of 13 year old Berry, who I just want to squeeze and love. Nanci Kincaid is one of my favorite authors--she gets small towns in the South and creates such an atmosphere in all her books.
I'm not sure what to make of this book. I will say, however, anyone who dares compare this soap opera novel to To Kill A Mockingbird clearly has not read Harper Lee's classic. Some of the characters' behaviors struck me as implausible. I think the author forgot how old her main character was. Berry was the most introspective thirteen year old I've ever seen. Frankly, she struck me as unreal and her behavior was unlike any kid that age that I've ever known. (And I knew many as a middle school tea ...more
I really enjoy a good coming of age book and this one delivered. Berry, the 13 year old girl, had a wonderful insight into the adult world of the novel. I loved the author's style of writing.
Aug 15, 2013 Donna added it
What a great story!!! It held my interest, was funny at points and just a great read.
Harlee Harpe
I must warn you that this book is slow at first, but as it goes on you find yourself drawn into their lives. Its about a thirteen year old girl growing up in more ways than one and learning about truth, lies, and love. Author does a beautiful job of portraying a small southern town where everyone knows everything about everyone. And like that small town the story tells and reveals all. You just have to listen. Sort through all the gossip, the truth, and lies and figure out what you believe reall ...more
Jan 11, 2008 Carrie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: vacation readers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wonderful. Loved it.
Favorite quotes:
She was not doing it to show off or win Mother's love either. I swear I think she just had excess curiosity and a deep longing to make things clean and neat. Really. It was like a sickness.

It was rare to see anger so openly displayed-it was like seeing somebody stark naked. You cannot turn your head from it. Most people knew how to keep their anger in the back pocket of their pants, stitched into the hemline of their housedress, stuffed in a secret compartment
Seeing the title of this story, you might be lead to believe this is a racy romance novel. It’s not.

Instead, the title refers to one hot summer in the life of Berry Jackson in Pinetta, Florida. Berry is entering her teens and the summers is unusually hot—both weatherwise and in the small town. The town is rocked by the scandal of a minister admitting an affair with a married woman, a hurricane and then her father (the school principle) apparently running off with an 18-year old girl who is being
This is one of my top books of all time. No exaggeration. I can go back to it again and again (and again), and the story is just as well-spun and intricately laid as I left it. The mid-20th-century southern town of Pinetta is filled with detailed characters who all carry purpose and punch throughout the novel. This is not a book I can like for one reason- I simply like everything about it.

I am often drawn to books with protagonists I can strongly relate to, and maybe I am like Berry in some ways
I technically would have liked to give this book 3.5 stars, but since that's not currently an option, I feel like it leans more heavily towards a four than just a three. I'm not entirely sure what it was about this book that kept me so entranced, but I definitly was. I suppose it may have been the truth in the story, the way you could actually believe that the events either have happend or very well could happen in a small town in the 50's. One thing that semi-bothered me, though, was how the na ...more
J. Libby
Beautiful coming of age story. Charming, devastating, and all wrapped up in a mystery. The first person narrator, Berry Johnson, is compelling enough and disarming enough that all you want to do is see how the whole mess turns out. Her father disappears, her mother shacks up another man, there's a tornado and then the chain gang comes to town. Berry falls in love with a pretty convict while her hand-me-down-dress wearing boy neighbor and best friend goes more than a little crazy.

"...that night,
Apr 18, 2010 Jennifer rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: readers not afraid of snakes
Recommended to Jennifer by: Friends of the LF Library Booksale circa 2008
Shelves: read-2010
A great title followed by a solid, if not totally riveting, coming of age story set in the hot swampiness of a small town in Florida sometime in the 1950's. Thanks to some book group materials in the back of the book, I now know that this novel tiptoes over the line into creative nonfiction now and again since many of the details of Berry Jackson's life in Pinetta, Florida, mirror those of the author. Kincaid captures the rhythms of a sleepy Southern town where gossip is the one thing that keeps ...more
Sep 27, 2008 Pilouetta rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Pilouetta by: jb
kincaid writes a pretty believable north florida mid-1950s tale. replete with rattlesnakes, baptists vs. methodists, hurricanes, shotgun shacks, disappearing daddies, chain gangs and summertime vernacular. this narrative weaves images, pulls heartstrings and paints a picture of a still present geography. told from the perspective of a juvenile girl, i was pretty absorbed from the first page. the strength of this story is in the women, but i became a little disparaged by their persecution, and ob ...more
May 30, 2011 Jean added it
As Hot as It Was You Ought to Thank Me was a very bad imitation of To Kill a Mockingbird. Both stories took place in the 50s, both took place in the south, and both focused on the life of young children. A hurricane replaced the trial and Berry Jackson replaced Scout. The author also wrote quite a bit involving the female anatomy, which often seemed pointless, or would disrupt the tone of the story. Mostly, those sections provided no character or plot development, and were not interesting events ...more
13 year old Berry and a hot summer where her father disappears. Coming of age story, kept me interested. Fast paced.
A fast read about a teenage girl growing up in the 50's in a small rural town in Florida. Berry Jackson tells the story of her family and neighbors and what happens one long hot summer in their small town. A coming of age story that includes the Florida swamps, the baptists versus the methodists, a hurricane, a chain gain, an indiscretion by the local minister and the disappearance of her father.

The author actually grew up in a similar town in Florida and took a lot of characters (for example, B
Becki Murphy
I truly enjoyed this story. Nanci Kincaid did an excellent job of describing Pinetta, Florida I felt as if I was there whenever I picked up the book. She weaves a wonderful story of life in a small southern town.

We see life through the eyes of 13 year old Berry Jackson living in a small town with all the personalities that inhabit a such a place. She is 13 years old and life is still simple and yet becoming complicated at that age. I could feel all the contradictions of being 13 AND of an adult
Mar 07, 2009 Laura rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
Some compare this book to "To Kill A Mockingbird", but that's a stretch. They are both a coming of age story, but I don't think too many high school classes will be studying this one. Kincaid includes some uncomfortable and disturbing parts about adolescent (and adult) sexual awakening that pretty much ruined the book for me. Too bad- because she has some beautifully written and insightful sections; but they are overshadowed by all the sexual stuff. I suppose I shouldn't have been too surprised ...more
Jul 24, 2007 treehugger rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of southern lit, harper lee fanatics
So, if I could have given this book a 4.5 stars, I would have - it was a superfast read, enjoyable, riveting, and NOT disgusting as so many of the coming of age novels can be (as far as sexual indiscretions between old men and little girls). The main character had a clear, likeable, easygoing and relatable voice that I found engaging, and I really became obsessive about finding out what happens at the end. There are lots of unexpected twists, and it's not a fairytale novel where everyone lives h ...more
great characters, love Berry, her family, her neighbors
Oct 30, 2009 Sonya marked it as to-read
I actually know this author Nancy Kincaid. She is married to the Head Football coach (Dick Tomey)at San Jose State. He was an Assistant Coach at Texas for one year in 2004. She was working on this book then. I've read Crossing Blood which was really good and Balls which hit close to home for me as a wife whose husband is involved in Athletics. I love her style of writing and loved getting to know her in the short time that she was here.
Rebecca Hays
Oct 13, 2007 Rebecca Hays rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who likes Southern literature or coming of age novels
This is one of my favorite novels of all time. I couldn't put it down and couldn't wait to see what was going to happen. I love Nanci Kincaid's use of figurative language, especially similes. Her writing is beautiful and so descriptive. Try Pretending the Bed is A Raft if you liked this one. It's a great collection of short stories, especially "Snakes," "This Is Not the Picture Show," and "Won't Nobody Ever Love You Like Your Daddy Does."
Cara Bregy the way this book is written. enjoyed it
I remember reading this book as a young girl, coming of age, much like Berry in the story. This will forever go down in history as a book I have a soft spot for, and for the longest time, whenever asked, I would tell people this was my favorite book despite the obvious lack of popularity. For some reason, I just related so much with Berry and sympathized with all of the situations she was in throughout this book.

The setting and characters are wonderfully developed in this tale of the hot south! The plot was less than stellar and while I devoured the book I don't think it was overly realistic or touching, I think the images were just so vivid that I kept reading so I could imagine more. The book follows a girl that is coming of age as many of the prominent people in her life are unraveling. Interesting but not a must read!
Jul 01, 2008 Lynn rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone!
I hadn't read a Kincaid book before and - wow - now I'm going to look up her others. This book was terrific - great writing, interesting subject and characters. As someone who grew up mostly in Florida, the descriptions of the climate and aftermath of a hurricane are right on (I wish I didn't know that). From the first chapter on, her writing grabs you and doesn't let go. This is a great read for any time of year.
Kathy Pham
It's my first Nanci Kincaid novel and I have to say I love her writing style. Tons of imagery...she also seems to like similes and metaphors. A good coming of age story set in the South. You can definitely tell she's a Southerner at heart based on this book as well as her book recommendations in the back. She also includes a section in the back to guide reading group/book club discussions.
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“I knew then, in that small moment, that all my life I would be the kind of woman that inspired weakness in men. It was like my future stretched out in front of me and I could see it, a future of men turning to me for comfort, not passion. Men trusting me more than I wanted to be trusted. Men turning into boys, maybe even babies, in my arms. I would be the kind of woman who loved men into lesser, not finer, selves.” 1 likes
“It made me understand that we don't always get to decide what we let in and what we keep out. A door is just an idea.” 1 likes
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