Mais, yeah! I loved dis here book, cher! If you're from Louisiana you'll understand that sentence. For the rest, with little knowledge of the Cajuns, let me translate:
"Well, yes! I loved this book, dear!" Seriously, Ken Wheaton took me back to the good ole days growing up in Opelousas, Louisiana. Wheaton and I are both from this small, tight community. I don't personally know Wheaton but I feel like I should. How did such an amazing storyteller, from my own hometown, escape my book radar? Mais, he's on it now thanks to NetGalley. I've had two of Wheaton's books on my Kindle for way too long and I'm so glad I decided to read them. I started with this one first because I like the idea that Ken's protagonist was a fifty year old female, not much older than myself. (Well, ya know...maybe fifteen years older.) Wheaton's female character, Katherine/Katie Lee, was totally believable. Had I not been familiar with the author, I very much doubt I would've known otherwise. Matter of fact, I completely identified with Katie Lee. She reminded me of me. Katie Lee and I both bolted from Opelousas because we were too afraid to face tragedy. After my youngest daughter died at the age of eight in 2002, Opelousas became my prison and my hell. My husband and I packed up our darkness and moved away. I still haven't made my peace with my hometown, but who would've thought that a southern fiction character, from the mind of an Opelousas author, would bring me back to happier days? Katie Lee must also make the difficult journey home and the life lessons she learns along the way had me laughing and crying all at once. I may not have had the drama growing up that Katie Lee had to endure but our childhoods didn't differ all that much. Katie Lee stole my heart as she reminisced about growing up in a large family. I could almost smell Mrs. Fontenot's (Fon-ta-nose) gumbo simmering on the stove. Wheaton's descriptions are vivid and colorful. With each chapter read I became nostalgic for Friday nights at Sonic, crosstown rival football games, homework, classmates, cruising through South City Park one last time. Good times! Ken Wheaton's Sweet As Cane, Salty As Tears! tells a story about a journey home, reconnecting with loved ones, the what if's, and learning to forgive those we feel have broken our hearts. The message that stuck with me after reading is this, our past is who we are and no matter what, family will always be family. Pick up the phone and give sis a call. Spend a long weekend with Mom and Dad. Face to face. Hug your parents tight. Ya just never know.
*Thanks to NetGalley and Open Road Media for approving my request to read an author I'm so proud to call a fellow Opelousas native. A DRC was sent to me in exchange for review. Opinions are my own.