Friday, July 1, 2011
Sweet Jiminy by Kristin Gore
Sweet Jiminy is Kristin Gore's third novel and is entirely different from her humorous Capitol Hill novels featuring heroine Sammy Joyce -- as it addresses matters of civil rights in our own beloved rural Mississippi.
Jiminy Davis is twenty-five years old, but already feels the strain of her law school studies that seem to be cramping her lifestyle. Seeking a break and a change of pace, Jiminy flees law school to visit her grandmother in Mississippi for the summer. Shortly after her arrival, she begins poking around in old family journals and learns of another person named Jiminy that lived and died before her time. Driven by her family's tight-lipped behavior when the late Jiminy is mentioned, our present-day Jiminy takes it upon herself to learn all about this past Jiminy and why she is such a big secret. She then learns about unsolved mysteries in her grandmother's small town that concern major matters of civil rights, and sets out to gain the ultimate atonement.
Kristin Gore is an excellent novelist and I'm pleased to see her versatility extends to writing emotional, serious novels in addition to comedy. Sweet Jiminy is fairly short at under 250 pages, but is well-crafted and very complete. The novel is easy to read in one sitting without any dull moments and is surprisingly, pleasingly suspenseful given the content matter. As is the continuing pattern with present-day novels taking place in the rural South, Sweet Jiminy brings to light how civil rights is still evolving in some areas of the country. Jiminy brings her urban, big-city mentality to a small Mississippi town and sets out to make things right. Readers can't help but be seduced and impacted by the genuineness of Gore's characters.
If you liked Sweet Jiminy, I highly recommend reading Catfish Alley by Lynne Bryant, which has a similar plot. Both novels are very well written and worth the read. Kristin Gore's other novels are also extremely entertaining and hilarious though quite different from Sweet Jiminy -- called Sammy's Hill (2004) and Sammy's House (2007).
Read our review of Catfish Alley here: Dreamworld Book Reviews -- Catfish Alley
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