Cold Sassy Tree
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Cold Sassy Tree

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  57,389 ratings  ·  2,665 reviews
The one thing you can depend on in Cold Sassy, Georgia, is that word gets around - fast.

On July 5, 1906, scandal breaks in the small town of Cold Sassy, Georgia, when the proprietor of the general store, E. Rucker Blakeslee, elopes with Miss Love Simpson. He is barely three weeks a widower, and she is only half his age and a Yankee to boot. As their marriage inspires a whi...more
Paperback, Dial Press Trade Paperback edition, 391 pages
Published July 2005 by Dial Press Trade Paperback (first published 1984)
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Ebookwormy
I had the first sentence of this review written before I read this book. It was "life was pretty good in the south after the Civil War as long as you weren't black or poor." Quite frankly I was in no mood to appreciate cultural racism.

But then I started reading, and I was captivated. The humor of the story and the joy of life of the characters gave the book a clean feel of a simpler time - and the enjoying feel of a great, grand ole yarn. Yet at the same time, running like a deep aquifier alongs...more
Chrissie
Do you enjoy a sweet story? Are you a religious person with deep faith? Do you enjoy books set in the South at the turn of the century? Then this book is probably a good choice for you.

My own response to the two first questions is not affirmative, and that is why I cannot give it more than two stars. No, it is not a bad book. It is fine, it’s OK………if a bit boring. Although it gives a pretty good depiction of small town life in Georgia, it says nothing about racial inequities which of course sti...more
Megan
Feb 10, 2009 Megan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Sissy
Recommended to Megan by: Grandma Hazel
Shelves: fiction, favorites
My grandmother's favorite book of all time, so I have always wanted to read it. This is such a great book. It nearly ripped my heart out for making me think of my Grandmother. It is about a 14 year old boy in 1906 Cold Sassy, Georgia. The book centers on Will Tweedy's relationship with his grandfather and the small town scandal that begins when his grandfather remarries a young woman two weeks after his wife's passing. The narrative is so witty and touching and it is written in such a strong sou...more
Emily
I actually really liked this book, but I think I enjoyed the cultural and historical aspects of it more than the story, to be frank. Burns paints a wonderful picture of life in a small and changing southern town in the early 20th century. The depiction of the social tensions between the "lintheads" who work in the cotton mills and the rest of the town hit the nail on the head, in terms of the southern industrial mill era. We also see the coming of the automobile and the way that the town is stil...more
Irishcoda
There is so much to love about this book. The characters are vibrant, the language is rich and there are good life's lessons throughout--but it's not preachy. This is a story told with lots of humor although it does have it's tear-jerker moments. Young Will Tweedy is 14 at the turn of the century and is living in the town of Cold Sassy, Georgia. His grandfather causes an uproar in this sleepy little town by eloping with the beautiful young employee in his store. That's bad enough but what really...more
Tiffany
I can't believe Janette only gave this book 3 stars! I love this book, it's so delightful, the characters are so human with their fears, and pettiness and prejudices and lusts. It had a lot of humor in it as well, like when the grandpa decided eloped with the millner (hat maker) 2 weeks after the grandma died, and his excuse was, "she's as dead as she's ever gonna be!" But we didn't doubt his devotion to the grandma, because he completely lined her grave with cut roses from her rose garden. It's...more
Linda M
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dawn (& Ron)
It is a shame the literary world lost the talents of Ms. Burns so early, but what a wonderful gem she left us. I first read this book years ago, only to learn that the author passed away while writing her follow up. This book still remains one of my all time favorites and it is the only other novel, besides "To Kill A Mockingbird", that weaves a spell, through a child's point of view, of a fading southern way of life. It shows both the idyllic southern childhood of a small town and the sadness o...more
Pamela
One day in Geometry, one of my classmates was raving about this book. Now, she wasn't really an avid reader, so I figured that hey, if she loved it and it got her to finish the book, it's probably pretty good.

Fast forward more years than I'd care to admit and I've finally read it. Oh my. I am so, so disappointed. I understand that a lot of people love this book--and that's great! I'm not attacking you or judging you or anything. I'm just saying that I really, really didn't like Cold Sassy Tree.

T...more
Kelsey
Mar 13, 2008 Kelsey rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Recommended to Kelsey by: Keri Garcia
I read this one a few weeks ago and I loved the characters in this story because I could see a little bit of myself in each one of them. It is a simple story about a boy named Will Tweedy in a small Georgia town in the early 1900s whose Grandpa remarries the young and very attractive milliner only three weeks after losing his wife.

The plot was so easy going and I really felt like I was watching a movie. Burns did a great job with the southern accent - it must have taken her forever to spell eac...more
Kimber
I liked this book for a couple of reasons but first - I gave it only 4 stars because I had a hard time with the southern writing (trying to do the accent), it was a little distracting for me.

What I did like was some of the religious views taught - what might Jesus mean by 'ask and ye shall receive', the view of death and mourning. It made me look a little more at myself and see which character I fit - the gossips of the town, the drama queen mother, the one willing to press forward cheerfully no...more
Maggie
Jan 05, 2009 Maggie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who grew up in the south.
I was instantly entranced; and terribly sad when the book ended.
Mary
Just finished Cold Sassy Tree.Excellent "tiny" insights into human nature in the 1906 South which speak volumes. Told thru the eyes of a young boy, the story begins around the death of his grandmother. This observant and sensitive boy seems to understand more than most of the wagging tongues in his little town. The book unwinds through an absolutely crucial year in the life of this boy--the beginning of manhood through experiencing pain and understanding. Someone wrote, it's a funny book about d...more
Steven
Fantastic characters and a good plot. I loved the setting, the old South, the gossipy small town and the funny, quircky, but very believable people. This is an excellent picture of life at the turn of the century, including the advent of the automobile, electric lights and indoor plumbing. It's also an interesting coming-of-age tale told by a 14-year-old boy.

This book is excellent. I was just a little surprised by the dark turn it takes toward the end. Primarily because my kids had enjoyed list...more
Emily
My favorite book of all time. It hits on all cylinders -- it's hilariously funny, it's poignant, it's sad, it's witty, it's a historical snapshot, it's quintessentially southern -- and perhaps those with a similar background will understand it best. Maybe you can hear your relatives saying similar things.

I read it in 9th grade b/c it was required reading, and I was never the same...I have read it multiple times. I "made" my husband read it when we were dating. The author and I were born on the...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
I know many liked this book. Though I did finish it, it just wasn't for me. First of all, there was too much southern dialect in the writing. I'd willingly accept all dialogue to be in dialect, but much - though not all - of the first person narrative was also written in dialect. Near the beginning of the book, and several times throughout, were references to "damnyankees". As an Alaskan, I understand I don't qualify as a "yankee", but my great grandfather proudly served in the Union Army and I...more
Teri
I loved this book! Such a sweet story. I couldn't help comparing it with A Tree Grows in Brooklyn because #1 they both have 'tree' in the title and #2 they're both a "snapshot" of life as told through the eyes of a young person. But where Tree was such a chore to read, Cold Sassy was a pleasure. The characters were vivid and fun and while they had their share of troubles they didn't drag down the entire book. To top it all off I got to read with a southern accent, yes!!
Karli
This book takes you to the South like no other. The story is simple and funny as it follows a boy's confusion over his grandfather marrying a young bride right after his grandmother dies. But the setting will transport you to a lazier, simpler time of dusty railroad tracks, porch swings and the corner store. I loved it!
Becky
3.5 stars. I really liked this book, but I found it much easier to listen to this book than to read it. I grew up in the south, but I still had a hard time with the vernacular as it was written in this book. The 'should/would/could of' ones got me the most, more than 'terreckly' in place of 'directly', 'cain't' in place of 'can't' etc, because I kept thinking it sounds exactly the same if you write 'could've', etc, so why purposefully write it wrong? Listening to it was much less distracting.

I...more
Donna LaValley
I truly enjoyed 14-year old Will Tweedy, the narrator of Cold Sassy Tree, and other characters as well. I did feel transported to a small town in Georgia in 1906, and I couldn’t think or talk in any other voice than in their cadences, vocabulary, and “accent.” I reckon it lasted 2 days. Boy howdy, thet’s one good writer who kin do it!

The main story line follows Grandpa’s “scandalous” marriage to the pretty younger milliner soon after Grandma passes on to heaven. Small town talk, rivalries, fears...more
Pat Herndon
I listened to the audiobook. The reader was fantastic with an uncanny ability to read both male and female characters well. As an audiobook goes, this one gets 5-stars for performance quality.

Now, the book. I am a woman raised just barely outside of Atlanta, in the northeast quadrant of Georgia. The geography and small towns mentioned were for the most part real and added to my interest in the story. I understood the comment about Lightfoot's family being from the hills, not the mountains. I ha...more
Cathy
Maybe I should have given this more than three stars, because I truly enjoyed reading it and wanted to know what happened next to young Will, his cantakerous grandfather, and Love Simpson, the scandalous "Yankee" bride. It just seemed a trifle "Southern lit by the numbers" to me, with the town gossips and the coming of age and the quirky characters. A lot of the secondary characters are pretty stock, and I had a hard time with the super-thick dialect given to the black characters, which seemed u...more
Sara
Sep 27, 2010 Sara rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Sara by: nancy jackson
This book is set in a town called Cold Sassy in Georgia during the 1900’s. Will’s grandmother has just died and his grandfather doesn’t seem to be in remorse as much as the town thinks he should be. Then the scandal begins! He announces he has married a woman much younger than he, not 3 weeks after he buried his wife. Grandpa claims he hired her so that he would have a free housekeeper but you later find out that that is not true. Grandpa was actually in love with Ms. Love. The drama continues a...more
Lisa Kay
★★★★✩ Turn of the century coming-of-age story told a young adolescent boy, Will Tweedy, who sides with his curmudgeonly grandfather, a store owner bent on marrying a younger woman. I don’t know which is worse in the eyes of this small town Georgian life: the fact that she is “practically a Yankee” or it is only two weeks after the death of his beloved grandmother.

I had mixed feelings about some parts of it as there are some racial words and mores that, in all honesty, were prevalent for that era...more
Camilla
This is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITES! It is written from the perspective of a young boy at the turn of the century. He lives in a small southern town and his grandmother has just died. Contrary to prescribed and accepted mourning practices, his grandfather quickly remarries a young, beautiful, and outgoing woman who works in his store. The town is in upheaval!!

This book explores the young boys perspective on his late grandmother, his relationship with his granfather and new STEP-grandma, and his...more
Holly
Wow--I loved this book. Such great characters and even though tragic things happened, it was written with such a sense of humor and some amazing quotable insights. I would totally recommend it.
Kw
One of the best novels I have ever read. Beautifully written.
Arminzerella
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Britt Doughty-godchaux
I was lent this book by an English co-worker, and at first I thought the dialect-rich Georgia-speak was irritating and its main appeal stemmed from it being novel and exotic. But the story did grow on me. And I did something that I have never done before: I put a book down 200-some pages into it and picked it up again months later and finished it. The journal premise for the detail of description is reedy in moments, but the characters and the voice of the narrator up for it. I realised that eve...more
Heidi
Apr 29, 2009 Heidi rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Heidi by: Maggie Summers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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500 Great Books B...: Cold Sassy Tree - Olive Ann Burns 1 1 Jul 17, 2014 06:28PM  
  • Charms for the Easy Life
  • Run with the Horsemen
  • Fair and Tender Ladies
  • Standing in the Rainbow (Elmwood Springs, #2)
  • Walking Across Egypt
  • The Persian Pickle Club
  • At Home in Mitford (Mitford Years, #1)
  • Crazy in Alabama
  • Mama Makes Up Her Mind and Other Dangers of Southern Living
  • The Honk and Holler Opening Soon
  • Terms Of Endearment
  • Big Stone Gap (Big Stone Gap, #1)
  • Miss Julia Meets Her Match (Miss Julia, #5)
  • The Education of Little Tree
  • The Shell Seekers
  • Low Country
  • These Is My Words (Sarah Agnes Prine, #1)
  • And Ladies of the Club
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FROM GEORGIA ENCYCLOPEDIA WEBSITE:
Olive Ann Burns was a professional writer, journalist, and columnist for most of her life. She published two novels, one posthumously, and for many years was a staff writer for Atlanta newspapers and the Atlanta Journal Magazine. Her most notable achievement was "Cold Sassy Tree", a novel that describes rural southern life and a young boy's coming-of-age at the tu...more
More about Olive Ann Burns...
Leaving Cold Sassy: The Unfinished Sequel to Cold Sassy Tree Cold Sassy Tree / Leaving Cold Sassy Cold Sassy Tree Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Woman Alone: A Farmhouse Journal Cold Sassy Tree (Spark Notes Literature Guide)

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“But to mourn, that's different. To mourn is to be eaten alive with homesickness for the person.” 123 likes
“Ask and it shall be given you,'" I began. "'Seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.' We have the same message in the Book of Saint John," I said, sounding for all the world like a preacher...."
Well, but how could I just stop there? Those words were worse than nothing if I didn't tell what they meant to Grandpa. Looking at the long rough box, I spoke timid, in a mumbled voice. Not preachified at all. "Grandpa didn't think Jesus meant, by that, that we should ast God for things, or for special favors. He said we could trust that in the nature of things, without astin', we'll get lots of blessin's and happy surprises and maybe a miracle or two. When Jesus said ast and you'll get it, He meant things of the spirit, not the flesh. Right now for instance, I could ast, 'Lord please raise Grandpa from the dead,' but it wouldn't happen. But I can say, 'Please, God, comfort me,' and I'll get heart's ease. Grandpa said Jesus meant us to ast for hope, forgiveness, and all that. Ast, 'Hep us not be scared, hep us not be greedy, give us courage to try." I was really carried away. "Ast any such and God will give it to you. But don't ast Him not to let fire burn, or say spare me from death. At least, uh, that's what Grandpa said.”
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