REVIEW ‘Looking for Me’ peels layers of the past

Jun. 07, 2014 @ 11:44 AM

SUMMER READING: The staff of The Herald-Sun Books section will share our recommendations for great summer reading all summer long.

“Looking for Me” by Beth Hoffman (Penguin, softcover, $16)

Author Beth Hoffman, whose “Saving CeeCee Honeycutt” was a bestseller, has a new novel out in paperback, “Looking for Me.” It is set in two locations, one quite a bit more famous than the other – rural Kentucky and Charleston, South Carolina. But it is a Kentucky farm that is most vividly depicted, not just for the nearby wilderness but the emotional attachment felt by the main character, Teddi Overman. Teddi leaves home for the coast and a job restoring antiques and furniture and eventually, her own shop. But that’s not what her mother wanted, a woman whose approval Teddi both rejects and seeks. Her mother isn’t the only person drawing her back home. Her brother Josh disappears as a teenager, assumed gone into the wild, but Teddi doesn’t know for sure. As she learns more about her mother’s life, she learns more about herself, her brother and also her father.

If you are a fan of author Elizabeth Berg, you’ll find Hoffman also draws you into the story as it progresses quietly but significantly. “Looking for Me” is a novel of discovery – of unearthing and polishing memories and repairing relationships as much as that old furniture.
Some of the smaller relationships in the novel are the most pleasing, like Teddi and her colleagues, in particular how she and craftsman Albert become friends. Hoffman shows readers that the older you get, the more you realize your assumptions about family are just that, and even after decades together there can still be something worth unearthing.
The impact of “Looking for Me” is subtle, as you may not realize until later that you’ve become immersed in Teddi’s life, too. Hoffman’s thoughtful prose is worthy of immersion.

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