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Surviving Doodahville

Surviving Doodahville Surviving Doodahville by Ashley Fontainne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The summer of 1983—the era of big debt, big hair, and big dreams. Seventeen-year-old Kassandra Lawson is excited about starting her senior year of high school. She has a crush on a local hunk, and her best friend, Valley Girl extraordinaire, Liz Hendricks, insists on helping her snag the hot guy—for sure!
July starts out uneventful for Kee and her parents. Her father, Kevin, is a partner at a CPA firm, and her mother, Gail, works as a secretary at the police department. The small family lives an idyllic life in sunny Hacienda Heights, California.
1983 also brings upheaval and strife for the Lawson clan. A death in the family forces Kevin and Gail to make the painful decision to pack up and move to Kevin’s hometown of Daltville, Arkansas.
Each face daunting challenges adapting to their new lives. Gail and Kee aren’t quite sure they can handle the culture shock. They encounter social and racial issues they never faced on the West Coast, strange food, weird dialects, odd customs, and wicked secrets that have the potential to destroy their family.
More than just a coming-of-age story, Surviving Doodahville explores family bonds, racial barriers, and just how much a person is willing to sacrifice for others. The tale is full of humor, action and a touch of mystery, making it a fun romp into the past.

Book Review
After tragedy strikes, the Lawson family makes the decision to move from sunny California to rural Arkansas in the early 80s. This story dealt with many topics i.e. generational secrets, murder, drugs, the racial divide and even touched on the ramifications of homosexuality in a close-minded community. What I liked about the way the story was told was that it was not only relatable but very believable. While the topics were a bit heavy, the authors did a good job of lacing those serious moments with humor at times i.e. the personal revelation Clint makes to Kassandra.

There were a couple of things that were confusing or unclear to me and I had to go back and listen to try and find where it was mentioned or just move forward and hope that the confusion would resolve itself. I was confused with the ethnicity of a few of the characters. At times it seemed as if the characters were talking in riddles and yet everyone got it. Needless to say, it took me a while to get into the story or connect with the characters. Once I did get into it, I enjoyed it and rooted for them. The second half of the story moved swiftly and held my interest until the very end. There was only comment or conversation that was off-putting. A generalization that was made by one of the characters that black people don’t celebrate Halloween. I had to chalk that up to the ignorance that prevailed in that town OR that the character meant the black people in that town didn’t celebrate it.

The narrator did a great job of bringing each character life and capturing the southern “twang” and inflections, just as easy as she captured the Californian accent as it is referred to by the people in “DooDahville”. It also didn’t hurt that the production quality was very well done. There were no sounds in the background that shouldn’t be. The transitions were smooth and the sound was clear. It was a smooth listen with developed characters and an interesting plot.

My score was a 3 1/2 rolled up to a 4.

(I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Ashley Fontainne. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.)

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