Narrated in the voices of four of the five women, Johnson has not only managed to write one believable female character but to write five of them. He weaves humor and pathos in equal measure and quietly focuses on the indignities of aging that come for all of us lucky enough to accumulate many years on this planet of ours. There is no shying away from the ways in which aging isn't pretty or comfortable or easy. And there is a definite ackowledgment of the rage against the inevitable. But as the narrative runs throughout the years of these women's lives, their attitudes, their kindnesses, and the love that they show each other highlight the ways in which we can all maintain dignity and spunk to the very end no matter how bowed the bodies and how forgetful the minds.
Anyone who has cared for an aging parent or grandparent will see the sharp reflections of truth in the everyday existences of these characters. While there might be no grand denouement, just the business of waking up every day and moving forward for these characters makes this a wonderful and poignant read. Often narrated in a bit of Southern dialect, the five women are quite different representations of Southern womenhood but they gell despite their differences and the result is a thoroughly Southern novel which will appeal to anyone who likes their novels with a bit of that trademarked Southern sass and verve. The book chronicles the quiet march of time and brings the reader to care deeply for all the women as they age and especially as the elders leave the stage to the increasingly stooped middle generation. Johnson has truly created a quiet gem of a novel.
Todd Johnson's website
Todd Johnson's blog
THE SWEET BY AND BY on Facebook
Todd Johnson has a wonderful new video that was just released.
Also, he’s currently on a Southern tour right now. If you are anywhere near Raleigh, NC today, Fairhope, AL on Apr. 22, or Litchfield, CT on May 13, you can meet the author himself. A link to the full tour is here.
Todd Johnson will be on Blog Talk Radio with Book Club Girl on April 26, 2010 at 4pm EST. Be sure to tune in and listen.
Thanks to Trish at TLC Book Tours for sending me a review copy of this book.
And although Mr. Johnson now lives in Connecticut, he was born, raised, and attended college in North Carolina so I am claiming him for the Literary Road Trip. It doesn't hurt that the book is also set in NC as well.