Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman (Mommy and Me Book Club)

Thanks for joining my “Mommy and Me” Book Club. I hope you’re enjoying my ongoing “stay in bed and read” series. See my thoughts on the previous book, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats.

Title:  Looking for Me

Author:  Beth Hoffman

Page No.:  368 pages

Publisher:  Penguin Books

Price: $11.32 (paperback)

Genres:  fiction; American, Southern, women’s literature/chick lit, contemporary

Summary:

The latest New York Times bestseller by the beloved author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

Beth Hoffman’s bestselling debut, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, won admirers and acclaim with its heartwarming story and cast of unforgettably quirky characters. Now her flair for evocative settings and richly drawn Southern personalities shines again in her compelling second novel, Looking for Me.

Teddi Overman found her life’s passion in turning other people’s castoffs into beautifully restored antiques. Leaving her hardscrabble Kentucky childhood behind, Teddi opens her own store in Charleston. She builds a life as unexpected and quirky as her many customers, but nothing alleviates the haunting uncertainty she’s felt since her brother Josh mysteriously disappeared. When signs emerge that Josh might still be alive, Teddi returns to Kentucky, embarking on a journey that could help her come to terms with her shattered family—and find herself. (From Goodreads)

Parenting Topics:

Without giving anything away (hopefully)…

  • Aging Parent(s)
  • Bereavement/Loss of a Child
  • Childbirth
  • Death of Parent(s)
  • Education/Planning Child(ren)’s Future
  • Elder Care
  • Growing Up/Coming of Age
  • Siblings
  • Mental Illness
  • Milestones/Rite(s) of Passage
  • Mothers and Daughters
  • Moving Away/Long Distance Relationships
  • Parenting Styles
  • Perinatal Mood Disorders; Postpartum Depression

Themes:

With a parenting focus…

Peace of Mind

“Nothing [parenting, you name it!] works until we find a place of peace. It’s the way things work…”

Friendship Bonds

Even when things look bleak in your mom/dad life, a few good friends can turn your life around.

Life Paths

Every life [including your child(ren)’s] has its own course. Don’t force a path.

Long Distance Relationships (with your kiddos)

“Don’t forget where you came from.”

Quotable Quotes:

On Aging

“I’ve [“Grammy”, Belle Forrester] only been on this earth for ninety-one planting seasons. Doesn’t seem like much when you think of it that way.”

On Antiques

“Somebody loved you, didn’t they? Well, don’t worry. I know you’re in trouble, but we’ll get you fixed up.”

On Coffee Preferences

“Any woman who admits that she takes four sugars in her coffee is definitely worth getting to know.”

On Grief

“The fog of grief had pushed its way into my life, blurring the hope I’d held for so many years. It was time to face the truth.”

On Happiness

“Never tie your happiness to the tail of someone else’s kite.”

On Hanging On and Letting Go

“Sometimes it’s not what we hold on to that shapes our lives–it’s what we’re willing to let go of.”

On Love

“Maybe that’s what love does – smooths the hard edges of life, giving us a gentle place to land when we fall.”

On Perspective

“Some people run toward life, arms flung wide in anticipation. Others crack open the door and take a one-eyed peek to see what’s out there. Then there are those who give up on life long before their hearts stops beating – all used up, worn out, and caved in, yet they wake each morning and shuffle their tired legs through another day.”

“You can’t see the whole sky from one window.”

On Relationships

“But even so, I wondered–how well do we really ever know someone?”

Worth Staying Up Late For (after the kids have gone to bed?): 

Yes, Stay Up Late!

Maybe, But See What’s on TV First.

No, Go to Bed!

Looking for a good and easy read? You’ll find it here. Admittedly, I prefer my iced tea and my protagonists unsweetened and Teddi Overman is sweet Southern tea through and through. Still that doesn’t mean she’s not without depth. Even as a child and an adolescent, Teddi has an evolved sense of self – not so relatable to most readers. But readers will be endeared to Teddi’s desire to know the people in her life:  most notably her mom, dad, and brother, Josh. The “Looking for me” in this seek and find Southern tale describes Teddi in her quest to put together the pieces of her troubled family’s past. My favorite parts of the book are the “Looking for…[Teddi and Franny]” sections where Teddi and Franny endeavor to find one another. They look beyond the mother-daugher relationship to see each other as people. There’s a tender moment when Teddi’s mother slowly scans Teddi’s face seeing her “as an adult woman for the first time”. This book is light on the surface, but it delves into deeper and darker topics – not always successfully but admirably nonetheless.

How much about your life do you share with your children? Are you Mom/Dad first and person second? Are your children privy to your deepest secrets?

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