Friday, October 01, 2010

Book Review: The Goddess of Fried Okra

Before The Goddess of Fried Okra by Jean Brashear arrived in my mailbox, I knew nothing about it. I opened the package, looked to see what was inside, then added it to my stack of books. Recently, while packing for a trip to Colorado, I took the top two books on the pile and stuck them in my briefcase.

Approaching the book as I do all books, whether I buy them or they’re sent to me, I first checked the cover. It’s beautiful, as you can see. Next, I turned it over and read the cover blurb:
Ex-cocktail waitress and “convenience store professional” Eudora “Pea” O’Brien is filled with grief and regret, low on cash and all alone. Headed down the hot, dusty back roads of central Texas, Pea is convinced she’ll find a sign leading her to the reincarnated soul of the sister who raised her. A sign that she’s found her place in the world of the living again.

At least that’s what the psychic promised.

In an unforgettably funny and poignant journey, Pea collects an unlikely family of strays – a starving kitten, a pregnant teenager, a sexy con man trying to go straight, and a ferocious gun dealer named Glory, who introduces Pea to the amazing, sword-wielding warrior goddesses of Texas author Robert E. Howard – creator of the Conan the Barbarian novels – and celebrated in festival every year. Six foot tall, red-headed Pea looks good with a sword in her hand.

Glory, the goddesses, and a grandmotherly cafĂ© owner become Pea’s unlikely gurus as she struggles to learn swordplay and the art of perfect fried okra. She’ll have to master both if she’s going to find what matters most – her own lost soul.
I liked that the book was set in central Texas, my stomping ground. But I was stopped by: “Pea is convinced she’ll find a sign leading her to the reincarnated soul of the sister…” I put the book down and walked away. Some of you may remember that my sister died this summer. I wasn’t ready to read this book.

The next day, I picked it back up and began to read.

There were a few times I cried and had to stop reading, but mostly I laughed and smiled and kept turning pages. Pea isn’t really trying to find her dead sister. She’s trying to find herself, to forgive herself for past mistakes, and to become the woman she is destined to be, the woman her sister would be proud of.

Pea is homeless and broke, yet she keeps picking up other souls who are as lost as she is. She pulls them into her life and takes responsibility for them. And when someone reaches out to her, she isn’t quite sure how to accept their help or their love. She’s on a journey that isn’t marked by miles, but by love.

And love is what defines us all.

I loved The Goddess of Fried Okra. I give it a Hel-Yeah!
FTC Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by Deborah Smith, Editor, VP, of BelleBooks and Bell Bridge Books, who did not ask for a review. Since my sister’s death, I’ve often asked myself, how long does it take a heart to heal? Pea is searching for the answer to that question. It’s often said that time heals all. I don’t think that’s true. Time lessens the grief, but it is love that heals the heart. Pea learns many lessons in this book. And in case you’re wondering about the title, she does indeed become the Goddess of Fried Okra, as well as a sword-wielding warrior. To learn how she manages both while traveling through Texas, you’ll have to read the book.


  1. Glad you finally read the book then. And that's your most meaningful disclaimer yet.

  2. The title is a head-turner! I'm glad it gave you laughs as reward for reading it.

  3. Love your rating, very appropriate! The story sounds so touching, I'm glad you read it and shared here.

  4. Wow! Definitely a book I'll add to my stack! Sounds like my kind of book!

    And no, Helen, I hadn't heard you'd lost your sister this summer. Sorry I'm just now hearing about it. Love you and sending healing energy. Now, go find Pea's psychic!

    Have a great trip. And work on making fried okra!Sylvia Dickey Smith

  5. This one is going on the TBR list for sure.

    Time doesn't heal all, love helps a lot, but then, you just learn to live differently too. Thinking of you Helen.

  6. I am so sorry that you lost your sister. But I'm so glad you did pick up the book finally and read it! It sounds like such a fun read, and I love the cover!

  7. It was indeed a good read at a time when I was ready to read it.

  8. Thanks for the review. I love books with redeeming value. Glad you decided to finish reading it.

    Stephen Tremp

  9. This definitely sounds like a good book to read. Enjoyed the review. And I agree with you, time doesn't heal all but it does lessens it some.

    Thoughts in Progress

  10. I enjoy fun, laugh out loud stories about finding yourself and healing. This one sounds like it has some hilarious moments.

    I've found a few gems like this too. I need to add this to the list, the one my hubs looks at and growls, lol!

    Losing a sib is hard. Each day gets better, but the *hole* is never filled, is it?

    Hugs, Helen.

  11. Your disclaimer made me tear up. I'm adding this book to my list.

  12. I think it would be really hard to pick up a book like that one, especially after the death of someone you love. I'm glad this one ended up being so worth the risk you took in picking it up.

  13. An admirable review and I book I'd love to read. Having lost a daughter and two grandsons, I can certainly empathize with your loss, Helen.


  14. Oh, the title alone makes me want to read this book! And I certainly understand your hesitation, but I'm glad you took the reading plunge.

  15. Had to read your blog when I saw the title of the book. Wondered if it would be anything like Fried Green Tomatoes - one of my favs - and it does appear to be similar. I know how hard this grief stuff is. Still dealing with the loss of my dad. The pain does lessen in time, but it never goes away completely.

  16. *new follower here* Karen Walker sent me here, said I should be reading your blog!! Well, I certainly enjoyed this post. I'm adding this to my to read list. Thanks for the review!


  17. Thanks for the heads up. I usually shy away from sad stories but I'm draw to stories where the characters try to define themselves.

    My Darcy Mutates…

  18. Thank you all. It was a good book and I'm glad I read it.

    This weekend I'm not online much because I'm having my aunt and all of my sister's family over. As y'all said, one step at a time.


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