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Ain't She Sweet?
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Archive > July 2016 Non-Linda BOTM-Ain't She Sweet by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

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message 1: by Dee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dee Sauter (indeathaddict) | 7583 comments In high school Sugar Carey had reigned supreme. She alone had decided what or who was cool. Her spiral perm had been the perm against which all others were measured, and her opinion on which boys were acceptable to date the only one that counted. A beautiful, blonde - if not always benevolent - dictator, she had a reputation for being the wild child in her home town, the girl most likely to set the world on fire, and leave a trail of destruction in her wake. When she left home she swore she'd never return. Only now, fifteen years and several husbands later, she's run out of money, luck and options...But Sugar arrives back home to discover that everyone else is living her life. Her half sister is married to Sugar's high school sweetheart, the teacher she schemed to get fired is now a successful novelist and owns her old house. She also discovers that people have long memories - especially where Sugar is concerned..


message 2: by Dee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dee Sauter (indeathaddict) | 7583 comments I love this book and I haven't read it in years


message 3: by Eve (last edited Jun 29, 2016 10:19PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eve (everf) | 816 comments I enjoyed this book but I haven't read it in years, so I really look forward rereading it. Though I clearly remember its plot and the heroine was not someone you can easily forget. I think you either love or hate her. Or was it her step-sister to love or hate?!


message 4: by Dee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dee Sauter (indeathaddict) | 7583 comments I have to remember to pick it up at the library today.


CD {Boulder Blvd} (boulderblvd) | 1047 comments Just picked this up at the library today.


message 6: by Marika (last edited Jul 01, 2016 12:28AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marika | 78 comments I found this book to be captivating and I was engrossed till the final page. Some parts had me laughing and others just made me want to cry.
I like it when author is trying a very different kind of heroine and pulling it off so well. There's no doubt that Sugar Beth was a mean-spirited, spiteful girl, most especially to poor Winnie. But SEP delves so deeply into Sugar Beth's psyche that I can understand why she acted the way she did. I think that Sugar Beth we meet at the beginning of the book has grown up and taken her fair share of lumps. Well, she ends up taking much more before the book is through!
But I endedn up liking and cheering up for Sugar Beth and I was glad that she found hapinness and contentment in her life.
But in the end I did not quite like Winnie.


message 7: by Eve (last edited Jul 04, 2016 03:58AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eve (everf) | 816 comments Glad to hear that you liked it Marika :)

To be honest I couldn’t see how anything good could come out of this story but I was pleasantly surprised.
If you talk about a mean girl, then girls like Sugar Beth take the crown! So I ask myself: how can I end up liking her?!
But I did and she turned out to be one of the those characters that grow on you and you end up liking and cheering up for her. Yes, there are many types of protagonists!

Sugar Beth was very flawed and headstrong, yet I liked her strength and resolve; her merciless self-irony and headstrong determination. Colin didn't seem like the person who could easily forgive and forget until he has exacted his revenge but you should be careful with the revenge because it can be bittersweet. Loved the bantering between Sugar Beth and Colin.

I really, REALLY disliked Sugar Beth's father - to take mistress, to have child with your wife and then a year later with your mistress. Then totally disregard your legitimate child in favor of another child. Why he was surprised that Sugar Beth didn't want to attend his wedding to his long-time mistress, is beyond me! But he was not finished. No. He had to disinherit Sugar Beth from everything, including her mother's pearls (although perhaps she did Sugar Beth favoour by doing this!).
I may be mean but I'm glad that Sugar Beth didn't attend her father's funeral. He was not there for her during his lifetime, so why did she have to pay any respects for him?!


CD {Boulder Blvd} (boulderblvd) | 1047 comments I really enjoyed this one and it may be my favorite SEP. Once you see why Sugar Beth was the teenager she was you begin to understand what drove her. Her father was a piece of work and definitely the villain of the story. I love the way Colin and Sugar Beth were together. I read this on a trip (8 hours in a car) and couldn't put it down.


message 9: by Dee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dee Sauter (indeathaddict) | 7583 comments I got the book on Friday, but I went to Tucson to spend the weekend with my mom. I did not spend any time reading. I will be reading it this week.

I love SEP's books because she is the queen of transforming the most selfish, mean heroine to someone who is really loved. I am looking forward to this reread.


message 10: by Eve (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eve (everf) | 816 comments Dee wrote: "I got the book on Friday, but I went to Tucson to spend the weekend with my mom. I did not spend any time reading. I will be reading it this week.

I love SEP's books because she is the queen of t..."


Oh, yes, trust SEP to take flawed and troubled characters and transform them into someone you really care for.

I think that Sugar Beth was controversal character but Colin was interesting and quirky as well. His interest in fashion was something unexpected (guy wearing a purple smoking jacket and black silk pajama bottoms. He-he, I'd like to see some guy dress like this IRL). Yet, he was no sissy! He was a man of integrity and quite content to write books but he felt equally at ease working around the yard and house and getting his hands dirty.
Colin sounded like a good teacher. He was very young teacher, yet, he had authority among his pupils and he encouraged them to learn and expand their horizons (sadly its not something all teachers have ability or desire to do!).

Ladies, what did you think about Sugar Beth's half-sister, Winnie? I'm quite undecided about her. When I read this book first time, then I felt sorry for her but now that I've read this book again, I didn't quite pity her but I felt more annoyed by her.


CD {Boulder Blvd} (boulderblvd) | 1047 comments Eve wrote: "Dee wrote: "what did you think about Sugar Beth's half-sister, Winnie? I'm quite undecided about her. ..."

During some of the early writing I was feeling sorry for her, but as the book continued I wasn't really a fan. She didn't seem to mature and held onto high school for way too long. I'm not sure if I saw what the high school sweetheart (can't recall his name) saw in her to fall in love with her like he said he did. She wanted to control everyone around her and she didn't really seem to do nice things as much as appear to do nice things for attention and accolades.

I also thought Sugar Beth high school "friends" turned on her rather intensely. Best friends lose contact after high school all the time. To enjoy the revenge party the way they did spoke volumes of their character...and not in a good way.


Marika | 78 comments Like CD I wasn't really a fan of Winny. For some reason she was getting on my nerves. Sugar Beth was taking responsibility for her actions but thankfully she never turned into whining doormat but took her punishment with her head held high. You could feel that she had given lots of thoughts about her past and future. Loved that talk she had with her niece, Gigi. About taking and giving away power.
Winnie on the other hand had everything in her life - a husband, a child, her own business, beautiful home, firends. Yet she was STILL whining and unhappy, sure that her husband would leave her and it was, oh, so easy to blame Sugar Beth on all of her problems. Her "friends" were no better. Aaaargh.


message 13: by Dee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dee Sauter (indeathaddict) | 7583 comments I haven't started on this book yet. I will start on it tomorrow or the next day.


message 14: by Eve (last edited Jul 11, 2016 02:39AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eve (everf) | 816 comments I agreet with CD and Marika. For me Winnie felt kinda immature and too timid. She was supposed to be perfect but I could not quite empathize with her. She was living with the man she supposedly loved, but still she faked in their marriage bed. She feared that he finds out that she got pregnant on purpose and that he still has feelings for his former girlfriend. How pathetic!
I have a feeling that if Sugar Beth had not returned, they would have continued to live in limbo till they separated (I just could not see Winnie solving the problems on her own!).
Winnie managed to change towards the end. It was good that Winnie returned that painting of SB with her mother and that Sugar Beth's daughter got her grandmother's pearls back.
It was also good that Sugar Beth also managed to win back her former friends. The way she read to that little boy with Down syndrom was so sweet.

I think that SB's and Winnie's father was one big SOB. To play your daughters against each other was cruel and selfish!


message 15: by Dee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dee Sauter (indeathaddict) | 7583 comments I have just started on it, and I am having a rough night trying to sleep, so I guess I will try to get further in the book.

So far this is the way I think. I don't care how much Sugar Beth bullied Winnie in high school, I don't care what she did to Colin, and I don't care what she did to her friends. She was just a kid and this was this was also 20 years ago! I could understand they might not automatically open their arms to her, but to snub her and humiliate her just because of what she was seems as immature as she was 20 years ago.

I know what she did to Colin was wrong, but again she was just a kid, and it worked out for the best. If she hadn't done what she did, would Colin be the successful author he was 20 years later?


message 16: by Eve (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eve (everf) | 816 comments Dee wrote: "I have just started on it, and I am having a rough night trying to sleep, so I guess I will try to get further in the book.

So far this is the way I think. I don't care how much Sugar Beth bullie..."


That's right! She was a kid and did some very bad things but its good that Sugar Beth's actions were not sugarcoated and you could see what motivated her to act like this and she was sorry for the bad things she did.

Its quite strange how some things that seem so bad when they happen can actually turn into something good. E.g you're sad because you didn't get the job but in the end you get even better job (Colin became a successful writer) or you split up with someone but then meet someone who's better match for you (Ryan and Winnie getting together). Life is strange.


message 17: by Dee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dee Sauter (indeathaddict) | 7583 comments Like Garth Brook's song Unanswered Prayers


CD {Boulder Blvd} (boulderblvd) | 1047 comments Dee wrote: "Like Garth Brook's song Unanswered Prayers"

Good song pic.


message 19: by Dee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dee Sauter (indeathaddict) | 7583 comments I finally finished this book. Although it was a good book it definitely was not a favorite. I was bullied as a child and never once in 45/50 years have I ever just blamed the people that bullied me. Of course that is just me and I am not one that believes in holding grudges or paying back for stuff other people do to me. It is a double edge sword and I usually get both ends of it. Now that is just me, but for a whole town to do this seems really pathetic.


message 20: by CD {Boulder Blvd} (last edited Jul 17, 2016 07:22PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

CD {Boulder Blvd} (boulderblvd) | 1047 comments I really liked this book, but I definitely had problems with the whole town holding onto the grudge and enjoying treating Sugar Beth so poorly. I just don't like seeing people real or in books being mean.


message 21: by Dee (last edited Jul 17, 2016 11:46PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dee Sauter (indeathaddict) | 7583 comments I so agree with you CD. I have never lived in a small town so maybe I have big city mentality, but I can't see the whole town treating her as abysmally as they did. For those of you living in small towns perhaps you can answer the question?


message 22: by Eve (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eve (everf) | 816 comments Yes, it sounded harsh that the townsfolk was still holding grudge against Sugar Beth after all these years but I kinda think that it would have sounded implausible if they had welcomed her right from the beginning. Some opposition was expected and Sugar Beth had to do some grovelling and showing that she's not the same person as she was as a teenager. And perhaps all of them needed break with the past and some growing up.

I am wondering where Sugar Beth would have ended up had she not been thrusted into hard times? Perhaps she would have changed even without hard times but her growth from spoilt brat to responsible adult was enjoyable to watch. Loved her interaction with her niece, Gigi. S


message 23: by Dee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dee Sauter (indeathaddict) | 7583 comments I can understand that perhaps the town wouldn't have welcomed Sugar Beth with open arms, but I would have thought if nothing else they would have been ambivalent. I could understand a few people holding grudges, perhaps no one having open arms, and most not caring one way or the other.


I also liked her interaction with Gigi. That if nothing else showed how much she grew up.


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