20 November 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson

I first read this book back in 2006 at the urging of a friend. I actually bought it on audio because I was feeling lazy and THEN decided to read the book because I always get more out of it when I read the book.

I read it again a few years later for a book club selection I was in at the time. So yeah… now I’ve just finished it as my OWN book club selection for this month. It’s kind of weird because I always remember the basic storyline, but I don’t always remember the twists and turns. I had completely forgotten the ending so while I knew the characters and the gist of what was going to happen, I was surprised all over again (yay for short term memory!)

Honestly, there’s a LOT of southern fiction authors out there. I should say there are a lot of BAD southern fiction authors out there. Jackson is NOT one of them. She’s one of the best, honestly. She doesn’t dumb down her characters either by pretending they are idiots because they are from the South or with really horrible vernacular that makes me want to vomit. Yes, she gives them an accent, a taste of who they are and how they were raised, but she does it with style and grace.

Having grown up in the low country of South Carolina, I get annoyed when authors over-use the Southern stuff. Dude, SHUT UP. We don’t all sound like idiots. Okay, that’s a rant, my point is that the author manages to NOT do that. I’ve yet to read any of her books that makes me vomit. Hey, that’s a good thing!

Okay, so… the writing is impeccable. I absolutely love the voice Jackson gives to the characters and the depth she is able to bring to each of them. I felt like I knew these people and they were family. Every time I read it, I feel the same, like these are folks I know and they’re telling me their story. She also keeps you guessing. You know there’s more to it, but she doesn’t use an over abundance of foreshadowing so rarely do I know where’s she’d headed until she barrels me there and I’m all “Oh, crap, of course!”

Having read all of her books at this point, this is definitely one of my faves. The opening “There are Gods in Alabama” is just pure genius because as soon as you read it, you want to know more. What? Huh?

I will leave you with my favorite quote from this book, not because of the storyline but because of what that line could mean in every day life as well (it’s actually on my quote wall of my pantry): “I knew you couldn’t kill only the pieces that needed killing, and leave the pretty parts whole.”

Recommended for all fiction lovers. Just read it.

For 10 years Arlene has kept her promises, and God has kept His end of the bargain. Until now.

When an old schoolmate from Possett turns up at Arlene’s door in Chicago asking questions about Jim Beverly, former quarterback and god of Possett High, Arlene’s break with her former hometown is forced to an end. At the same time, Burr, her long-time boyfriend, has raised an ultimatum: introduce him to her family or consider him gone. Arlene loves him dearly but knows her lily white (not to mention deeply racist)Southern Baptist family will not understand her relationship with an African American boyfriend. Reluctantly, Arlene bows to the pressure, and she and Burr embark on the long-avoided road trip back home.

As Arlene digs through guilt and deception, her patched-together alibi begins to unravel, and she discovers how far she will go for love and a chance at redemption.

Rating: ★★★★★

Book count for 2012: 29

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