Monday, August 16, 2010

Book Club: The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes (Chapters 1 - 10)

Recently I joined a book club over at Book Beginnings and Bookends! We are reading the book "The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes" by Diane Chamberlain and today is our first day to post about the first 10 chapters of the book.

Just to give everyone a little background on the book, the main story is about this 16-year old girl CeeCee, who lost her mother when she was 12 years old to breast cancer and is now living in a boarding house. She is working as a waitress and is barely getting by. One of her regular customers is this college guy named Tim. He comes in every day and CeeCee thinks he is “beautiful” and that he is possibly interested in her but then quickly second guesses it and thinks he is obviously out of her league. Tim eventually invites her on a date to go to the movies

A few days after their first date, where CeeCee explains to Tim that she would love to go to college, but is not sure how she can afford it, she receives an envelope with $5,000 cash. She eventually finds out that this is from Tim, no strings attached, and it is to help her go to college. They start spending more time together, and CeeCee begins falling in love with Tim. She even loses her virginity to him.

After the first few dates Tim opens up about his family and tells CeeCee that his sister is in prison for murder. She was actually raped by the gardener and then killed him, but because she couldn’t keep her story straight, she was found guilty of murder and is currently on death row. Tim tells CeeCee about this organization called SCAPE (Stop Capital Punishment Everywhere) and later asks her to become involved in their plan to kidnap the Governor’s wife in order to convince him to commute his sister’s sentence. At first CeeCee is not sure she wants to be involved, but eventually says she will do it. The rest of the first 10 chapters is about them putting together their plan for the kidnap. CeeCee is in charge of watching over the Governor’s wife while the negotiations are taking place.

As part of the book club, there will be discussion questions each week. My answers to the discussion questions are:

1. What is your first impression of Tim?

At first I thought that he thought she was a cute girl and probably wanted what every other college guy wanted, to sleep with her. After she lost her virginity to him and he continued to be interested in her, you realized that maybe he really did want more, but after you realized his plan, you began to have second thoughts about his intentions.

2. If you were in CeeCee’s position, would you be willing to help your boyfriend in the way that she is willing to help Tim?

This is hard because I am so much older than CeeCee now, so it’s hard to say what I would or would not do at that age. I don’t think I would be involved in something illegal such as their plan, but I can see how young love makes you do stupid things for people (been there, done that!).

3. Why do you think CeeCee is so eager to please Tim?

I think it’s probably a combination of losing her mother at such a young age, and going through the foster system. But it probably also has to do with the fact that this is her first love, and she is very naïve.

4. Who do you think has it harder Tim? Or CeeCee?

This is hard to answer also. I think they both have had it tough, but I think maybe Tim because he is not as naïve. They say what you don’t know, can’t hurt you, and I think that Tim has gone though some things that has jaded his life, and maybe CeeCee is still too naïve to realize some things.

5. What character traits about CeeCee stuck out the most in these first ten chapters?

I think she is very loyal and very nurturing. This is probably a combination of her being so young, because of losing her mother and of course because she is female =)

6. Do you think CeeCee is as mature as she seems?

I think she is probably a little more mature than someone her own age because of the situations she has been put in, but I don’t think she is mature enough to know that the decision she is making to help out Tim is not a good decision.

Check back next Monday for the second ten chapters, and check out the Book Beginnings and Bookends blog for even more discussion about the book.


  1. Really enjoyed your answers and take on chapters 1-10. The dynamics of the characters and the way the writing keeps you engaged is pretty much why I finished the book in like two days, haha!!

    I put compassionate as my first impression of CeeCee, but loyal would definitely come second!!

  2. I don't think Tim really cares for her, he needed someone to help carry out the plan. Of course, the abandoned 16 year old would be a good choice, in his thinking.

  3. So glad you're participating!

    I think your answer to #4 was interesting. Almost everyone else has said CeeCee, but you made a good point. Her naivety is a plus for her. Nice thought!

  4. Hi i've across from meg@mingle monday. really enjoyed this post i think i may have to read this book myself now, you've got me hooked on just your interpretation of the first 10 chapters. I will def be popping over next monday to have a look.