By Julie L. Cannon
Provided free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Finish Time: 6 nights. I tried to have this review ready for debut day (2 days ago), just didn’t happen. Also another book where my opinion changed over time. Actually more as I neared the end of this book. The beginning was sad and depressing and my original review was going to start out “I think I got diabetes just reading this book.” But it was all part of the lead up to a super sweet, almost had me in tears, ending.
The book follows Joan Marie Meeler. Resident of Atlanta, Daughter of an Atlanta socialite, social outcast, food lover, and huge Gone With the Wind(GWTW) fan, the book follows her through a very low point in her life, to, well I don’t want to spoil, but as I mentioned above, it has a happy ending.
Joan keeps a blog titled “Scarlett Says” which addresses topics throughout GWTW (the book and movie) and puts a current spin on them. A few are typed out in the book, with many other mentioned that I would have loved to read. She gets bolder as her followers increase and takes on more and more controversy. Joan really looks up to Scarlett O’Hara as a role model, but as she dives into topics realizes she is far from perfect and must make the distinction between fiction and reality. She has her “regulars” and her interactions with them and feelings towards them are quite amusing and escalate over time. As a blogger, I can’t help but feel proud of her for increasing her readership by almost 10 fold over the course of the book!
Through Siggy, her friend from work, her fluffy white cat, Dandelion, and a few other colorful characters, Joan really comes into her own over the course of this book. It took a turn I wasn’t expecting when Joan, unlike her, on a whim, attended church with Siggy. It was quite humorous and uncomfortable at the same time, but also started Joan exploring God, and well I don’t want to spoil…but after I read I guess this book does fall into Christian fiction!
I enjoyed the references to Atlanta as it is where I currently reside and when I first moved here I spent many years right around where Joan lived and worked. We even looked into renting out Margaret Mitchell’s house for our wedding reception!
The mention of diabetes above is that Joan describes herself as a “generous” woman, and I guess the author wanted to really drive in her appetite by outlining just how much (and terribly) she ate. From pans of Pillsbury sweet buns, to her large orders at Krispy Kreme, Krystal and McDonalds, it had my stomach turning at times. But throughout the book, food became less of a crutch, which was good for both her and the reader!
Overall a really sweet book. Joan grows in all definitions of the word. She tackles past demons, and becomes a very admirable, confident woman. Read the description below, I could go on as I really did enjoy this book and there were so many great moments, but check it out for yourself. It’s a good one!
For 30-year-old literature lover Joan Meeler, there is no heroine so admirable as Gone With the Wind’s Scarlett O’Hara. Joan, with her quiet nature and love of good food, falls shockingly short of Scarlett’s outspoken passion, strength, and 17-inch waist. Yet as the secret hostess of an advice blog called Scarlett Says, she discovers she’s quite adept at dispensing advice in Scarlett’s devil-may-care tone.
Joan is happy to live vicariously . . . until she meets Charles, a Christian and faithful Scarlett Says reader, who suddenly has Joan dreaming of something more. Since Scarlett has never let her down, Joan digs deeper and deeper into her heroine’s mind, searching for something to calm her rising insecurities. But her search falls short, and Joan realizes that she must look within herself—and to God—to uncover the inner confidence she never knew she possessed.