Review: ‘Cathead Crazy’ by Rhett Devane

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“All she wanted in this life was a small slice of peace. Maybe add in some attention from her husband. Respect from her kids. A clean house. But she’d settle for peace.” – Rhett DeVane in “Cathead Crazy.”

Hannah Olsen wears multiple hats, and their combined weight is well-known to any woman who has done a portion of her life as a member of the sandwich generation stuck like thin cheese between an aging parent and demanding children. She has a full-time job, a household with a husband and kids to look after, and an ever-changeable mother called Ma-Mae at a nearby nursing home who needs and expects her dutiful daughter to be present around the clock.

In “Cathead Crazy,” Rhett DeVane tells Hannah’s story with grace, sweet-and-sour reality, humor during hard times, and a heaping helping of the down-home Florida Panhandle lifestyle. Immensely readable, this novel is about a family caught in the crosshairs of the difficult choices everyone with aging parents will ultimately face. Even so, there are still good days, laughter and memories that will serve well for a lifetime.

Rhett DeVane knows the territory, and she has made of it a moving story with realistic, multidimensional characters with universal cares and needs who try their best to navigate life without going “cathead crazy.”

The eight recipes, including “Ma-Mae’s Buttermilk Cathead Biscuits,” are a mouthwatering extra treat. Would you like sweet tea with your lunch, hon?

Malcolm

Author of four novels, Malcolm R. Campbell grew up in the Florida Panhandle where this novel is set, and thoroughly enjoyed seeing it again through Rhett DeVane’s wide-angle lens even though he never learned to like sugar in his iced tea. His novel, “Garden of Heaven: an Odyssey” is partially set in Tallahassee, Carrabelle, Tate’s Hell and other areas very close to Hannah Olsen’s neck of the piney woods.

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