This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

There is nothing more amazing to have in life than that one good book that you can't stop thinking about, looking forward to when you are able to enter "that world" whenever possible.

That is what Jane Eyre was for me...The Pillars of the Earth...heck, even Twilight. That is also what The Sugar Queen did to me.

What was even better was I was blindsided: I had no idea how great this book was to be. I was even skeptical and thought about just tossing it back to the library and picking another time to read it. I thought the book cover was boring. A shallow reason not to read a book, but hey, I judge books by their covers!

But I am so glad I stuck it through because this is, by far, one of my favorite novels of the year. Sarah Addison Allen is also an NC native, so even more props for a novel so well written and unique in a very quirky way. Allen is a new favorite for me and I look forward to reading her other novel Garden Spells.

The Sugar Queen divides its chapters by candy: SweetTarts, Rock Candy, Sno Caps, etc. Josey Cirrini is 27 years old and loves candy. She stashes it within her secret place in her closet. But one day, she gets home to find Della Lee hiding out in her closet. The strangeness of the story begins as she _allows_ Della Lee, a known town flunkie, to stay in her closet temporarily.

Josey lives at home with her mother. A mother who is so demanding and has reared Josey to be the mother's keeper. There are the girls who are so pretty who leave home...and there are girls like Josey, who stay home with their mothers.

But Della Lee pushes Josey into a new direction and the transformation is amazingly entertaining. Allen is just ingenious with these characters...I loved them all...except for Margaret, Josey's mom.

It's such a lovely, lovely story that has so much fun in it, affection, quirkiness, and it surprised me with such delight, love, and sadness. I finished the last ~80 pages last night because I could not put it down. And as I smiled at one chapter, I turned the page (229, to be exact) and cried because what I read was so beautiful. I couldn't stop crying for a good five minutes after wards after thinking about it:

After Josey has her first kiss with the man of her dreams, she describes to Della Lee:
"It was the best first kiss in the history of first kisses. It was as sweet as sugar. And it was warm, as warm as pie. The whole world opened up and I fell inside. I didn't know where I was, but I didn't care. I didn't care because the only person who mattered was there with me."

There was a long silence. Josey had almost dozed off again when Della Lee said, "I think heaven will be like a first kiss."

Just beautiful and sweet...the Sugar Queen is one bewitching and beautiful novel that I will definitely read again.

Thank you for people like Sarah Addison Allen, to dream up something as wondrous as this.

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