Standing in the Rainbow
Ballantine Books, Random House Publishing, 2002
If you are familiar with this blog you will know that a favorite author of ours is Fannie Flagg, so you can probably guess that we loved this book! It’s written in the usual sit-down-with-your-favorite-storyteller style and when the story is over, you feel like you’ve had a wonderful slice of pie and coffee after a fabulous meal – satisfied, full and happy.
Ms Flagg takes us back to Elmwood Springs, MO, the scene of her other books, Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven and Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!. It was written after Welcome, but is actually a prequel, starting in the 1940s and moving up to the 2000s. The story mainly follows local radio personality Neighbor Dorothy and her family, Doc, Anna Lee and Bobby but also all the other eccentric residents as well. There’s Aunt Elner (who is the main character of Heaven) and all her ginger tabbies named Sonny; Tot Whooten, local hair dresser with a fall-down drunk of a husband and two good-for-nothing children, who is known around town as ‘Poor Tot’; Norma, forever worried niece of Elner and her long-suffering husband, Macky. There’s a group of new characters as well, like the Oatman family who are gospel singers; Hamm Sparks, an ambitious young man who starts out by selling tractors and ends up in the governor’s mansion; and Cecil Figgs the mortuary man turned cabaret singer.
The story follows a mostly linear path which is contrary to the other Flagg books we’ve read which have gone back and forth through time. This style does make for easier reading and catching up quickly if you put the book down for a day or so – that is if you’re able to put it down!! We have nothing negative to say about the book. If you are looking for a murder thriller with gruesome and/or sexy scenes, don’t bother even glancing at the book. However, if you want a good story about people who meet life both head-on and head-buried-in-sand; if you want healthy dose of laugh-out-loud humor; if you want to cheer people on to success against all odds; if you want to feel nostalgia for an American way of life long gone; you’ll love this book. It is for those reasons we give it our best rating!!
Also posted on Sunny Book Garden under the non de plume of Debby.