Thursday, February 23, 2012

Charlene Reviews: Miss Fannie Mae's Girls by Larry Batchelor

ISBN #: 978-0615562407
Page Count: 249
Copyright: January 9, 2012
Publisher: 3L Publishing


Fannie Mae Turner died on New Years Eve, December 31, 2008. She was the daughter of sharecroppers. She was born in a shack on a dusty, dirt road in the backwoods of Macon County, Georgia in 1922. Fannie Mae had skin the color of red Georgia clay. On the day she was born her mother screamed, not because of the difficult childbirth, but for the mere fact that her baby girl was the color of dirt with eyes as black as coal dust.

And so begins and eventually ends the life of Fannie Mae Turner from Macon County, Georgia. A true native of the Deep South, Fannie Mae Turner married and loved Henry Turner and bore five girls; Belle, Nettie, Rosalie, Christine and Elenora. They raised their daughters very much in the same way that Fannie's mother had raised her to be God-fearing, hard-working girls who knew how to be strong when called upon. Each girl was as different as her name. Belle, the oldest, was called Lil Buck after her grandpa Buck. Nettie, the second girl, was nicknamed Sis. Rosalie was called Big Red, because she was the same color as her mother. Christine was called Sweetie Pie. And, Elenora went by the name Girlie.

Charlene's Review:

Miss Fannie Mae's Girls is a novel about a woman and her family in the Deep South. Beginning with Miss Fannie Mae's death, Mr. Batchelor holds us captive as he writes about the bigotry of the South, the loss of her father to the KKK, the raising of a family, and the reunion of the daughters as they carry out the plan their mama made for her funeral. As the five, very different girls work together to honor their mother, they find they are not so different after all. They are all Fannie Mae's girls.

Although a majority of the story carries on after her death, Miss Fannie Mae has a huge presence in this story. The memories shared, and the recipes, which leave your mouth watering, make it seem as if she is hanging over every word. This is a story of life, loss, unity and the personal growth of each of the strong personalities involved. The reconciliation of the past with the present is especially pleasing, in regards to the descendants of the men who discriminated against Miss Fannie Mae's family. My favorite character was Marshall Tate, and his over-the-top flamboyant self. I would love to have him as a best friend!

I identified the most with Belle, the ever-loyal caretaker of the family. Each of the characters leave an impression well after the end of the book.

Miss Fannie Mae's Girls is a touching story, deep in culture and family dynamics. Mr. Batchelor shows us a strong premise for remembering where we come from, and how we are shaped. I loved this book, as I love my own family; quirky characters and all.


  1. I don't think I'm familiar with this book, but it sounds intriguing. I love reading books set in the South.

  2. This is the author's first novel. He is currently working on his second.

    I, like you, enjoy reading books set in the South ... especially the Old South.


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