Review of “Between, Georgia” by Joshilyn Jackson

Between, Georgia is another delightful book by Joshilyn Jackson, whose quirky characters – as fiercely devoted to family and church as to hypocrisy and judgmentalism – come to raucous, passionate, humorous life under her deft authorial hand.

“Between” is the small-town home of two families, the Fretts and the Crabtrees, who have an ongoing feud with vicious and tragic potential, and Nonny Frett is at the center of it. Nonny, now thirty, was born to teenager Hazel Crabtree who didn’t want her, and so she was raised by Stacia Frett, who did. Hard feelings between the two clans have simmered ever since.

Stacia, deaf and later blind because of Usher’s Syndrome, was the primary parent to Nonny. Stacia’s twin, Genny, who was too nervous to be without Stacia, lived with them and acted as Stacia’s eyes and ears for the outside world. And close by them was the third sister, the sanctimonious Bernese, the only one of the three who married.

Nonny learned to sign at her mother’s knee, and later became an interpreter for ASL (American Sign Language) when she moved to Athens, Georgia with her husband Jonno. Jonno, a guy too cute for his own good, liked to spread his love around, especially because Nonny went back to Between so often. Even when, after ten years, Nonny filed for divorce, Jonno would come back and make love to Nonny, knowing she had a hard time (like all the other women) saying no to him.

Back in Between, Nonny has two other pulls on her heart: Fisher is the five-year-old grandchild of Bernese, who is raising Fisher because her teenaged mother (Bernese’s daughter) doesn’t want her. Fisher loves Nonny fervently, and Nonny loves her. And Henry Crabtree, a neighbor and owner of the town bookstore, thinks he and Nonny could be something more than friends.

Evaluation: The plot may sound complicated, but I haven’t touched on much of it at all! And yet it all falls in place readily as the comedy-drama unfolds. The town and the characters in it are so colorful and so complex, it’s a joy to read their story. They all have secrets, and in fact, if you’ve already read Gods in Alabama, you’ll feel a bit of déjà vu. I didn’t care: I loved similar characters once; why wouldn’t I love them twice? And this book has a significant difference: you get to see how a strong and loving bond works when one of the parties is blind and deaf, and the other is neither. It’s a revelation and a pleasure.

Rating: 4/5

Published by Grand Central Publishing, 2006

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19 Responses to Review of “Between, Georgia” by Joshilyn Jackson

  1. zibilee says:

    I have heard a lot of good things about Jackson and her writing, and I am pretty sure that I picked up one of her books at some point ( you really know you have a problem when you are not sure if you bought a book or not). I think this book sounds fantastic, and like one that I would really enjoy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us on it. I am adding this to my wish list.

  2. Kay says:

    I like the sound of this book. I’ll have to be on the lookout as I almost always love Southern fiction. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Sandy says:

    You won’t believe this, but my review of this comes out tomorrow!!! We crack me up. I love anything Jackson creates. Her characters are hilarious and real, and her plot just oozes Southern dysfunction. Next on my list…The Girl Who Stopped Swimming.

  4. BermudaOnion says:

    It’s been years since I read this but I loved it too. Jackson sure knows how to write about the South.

  5. softdrink says:

    I swear I’ve read this book…even though the synopsis wan’t familiar at all.

  6. Wallace says:

    This sounds very touching. And that cover is wonderful!

  7. Tina B says:

    I am a huge Joshilyn Jackson fan, and can’t wait to get to this one. Thanks for pushing it up in the TBR queue.

  8. Staci says:

    I have been wanting to read “Gods in Alabama” so I’ll have to make time for that one. And I do own another one of hers so I must read that too…she sounds like an author that I will enjoy!

  9. Julie P. says:

    I have loved both Joshilyn Jackson books that I have read. Need to give this one a try.

  10. Jenners says:

    I need to read Gods in Alabama before getting this one. I do enjoy her stuff!

  11. Trisha says:

    Jackson has been on my radar for awhile now, but I still haven’t read her. It looks like I really need to rectify that!

  12. stacybuckeye says:

    An author I still need to try. Is this the one you’d start with?

  13. Joshilyn Jackson has been on my wish list for far to long. I just love Southern fiction and I don’t know how I keep missing her. I’ll have to seek this book out.

  14. Margot says:

    I just finished a Fannie Flagg book and this book sounds very similar. Although the Flagg book was more Midwestern it was set in a small town with all sorts of interesting characters like this one. I’ll add this one to my list.

  15. Darlene says:

    I saw this book on Sandy’s blog too and it made me realize how much I want to read one of her books. So many people really enjoy her writing.

  16. Marie says:

    I loved her BACKSEAT SAINTS and will keep an eye out for this!

  17. yes, I thought so! I have Gods in Alabama in my TBR pile. I need to quit my job to ever catch

  18. Ceri says:

    Love stories about family like this. Just my sort of sit-down read. 🙂

  19. Trish says:

    I read this one (and Gods) years ago and don’t really remember many of the details anymore. I remember really liking both books and like you the characters and the settings. You’re right that Jackson painted such a wonderful portrait of what she was writing. Glad you enjoyed Jill!

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