Typically I shy away from books on tape that are read by the author – I mean, if you’re a talented writer, chances are you are not a talented reader. To be a good reader for a book on tape, you practically need a stage voice, an actor’s voice. Joshilyn Jackson’s Between, Georgia is quite the exception.
This is the second of Jackson’s books I’ve listened to – the first being God’s in Alabama, which, by the way, was not read by Jackson. I have a third book by her – The Girl Who Stopped Swimming – borrowed from a friend & on my TBR pile, and this experience is making me want to see if I can find it on tape instead of reading it.
There is not much worse than a put-on Southern accent. I had that with my last book on tape. Likewise, you don’t get much closer to heaven than an authentic one when the language and tale match the drawl. Joshilyn Jackson nailed both – Between, Georgia is thoroughly Southern.
Between, Georgia is the story of Nonny Frett – a girl in her 20’s caught, well, between. Between two warring families on opposite sides of the tracks – her blood and the one that raised her; between a marriage that is over but she’s not quite free of; and most importantly, between who she is and who she wants to be. And while all this sounds pretty trite, this story is anything but ordinary.
Jackson has crafted real Southern characters who are strangely familiar, but so developed they seem fresh. She gives voice to them as only a Southerner can, and offers humor as a gift to her compatriots. I found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion. (For example, when Bernice found that her 5 year-old grand daughter had written, “I’m a Jew” on all her underwear.)
And the plot? Well, let’s just say that there are some things that are only believable if they happen in the South. You just don’t get away with poisoning dogs or callin’ in your cross-the-state-line cousins to burn something unless you’re below the Mason Dixon.
With this novel, Jackson plunges her stake in the ground and rallies the gray horses as an authentic Southern voice in today’s literature.
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