Thursday, June 26, 2008

Can't Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg

(This format is from Dewey at The Hidden Side of a Leaf)

Note: I feel that I need to be a bit vague in my review, as it would be extremely easy to give away some of the plot twists.

Fiction or non-fiction? southern fiction

What led you to pick up this book? I was looking for a book for the Southern Reading Challenge, and I enjoyed the movie "Fried Green Tomatoes" so I thought I would try out Flagg's newest book.

Plot summary: Elner Shimfissle is a woman of undetermined age (her niece Norma guesses mid-to-late 80s), yet one morning she decides to climb a ladder to pick some figs out of her tree to make fig preserves. What Elner doesn't know is that she is about to disturb a wasps' nest, and this will set into effect a chain of events that will change not only her own life, but the lives of many people around her.

What did you like most about the book? I loved Elner! She is such a likeable character--not only is she kind and thoughtful, but she is funny, curious, and generous. I can definitely stand to learn a few things from her about being content and enjoying the simple things in life. That may sound cliche, but it is easy to get caught up in the general busyness of the day to day and forget to enjoy nature or the company of friends and family.

What did you like least? For some reason, I had a difficult time keeping track of several of the other characters. Besides Elner and her niece, there were several other women-Ruby, Tot, Irene, Verbena--and I couldn't keep them straight.

Have you read any other books by this author? Besides the movie "Fried Green Tomatoes," I haven't been exposed to any of Flagg's other books. I have heard good things about Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man though. I think I enjoyed the story of Fried Green Tomatoes more, because I was more involved in the lives of the characters. The perspective of this novel was from an omniscient narrator simply telling what was happening. While there are benefits to this perspective (the reader can see the reactions of many people all over the place at the same time), unfortunately I never felt close or connected to any one character.

Any other particularly interesting characters? This book was full of interesting people--it is set in a small town in Missouri, and many of the townspeople have been living there for many years and have known each other for a very long time. Besides Elner, my favorite character was Macky-Norma's husband. He is such a genuinely nice guy--hard-working, patient, and dependable. I would describe him as a "good ole' boy." I think they are hard to find these days, but I married one! :)

Share a favorite scene from the book: This is a conversation between Macky and Norma, and it made me smile!
(Macky) "Have I told you lately that I adore you?"
She put her purse down. "What?"
"Did you know that you are more beautiful than you ever were?"
"Yes, you."
Norma looked at herself in the mirror. "Me? How could you think that, with my gray roots and wrinkles and old tired saggy body...I've just fallen into a heap."
"Maybe so, but you're my heap, and you don't look old to me" (298).

What did you think of the ending? The ending wasn't a surprise to me, but it was a nice finish to the story.

Do you recommend this book? If you are looking for a pleasant summer read, this would be a good choice. Flagg's story will take you through many different emotions, and it also contains a mystery and several plot twists. All in all, it was quite an enjoyable story!

Date completed: June 26, 2008
# of pages: 359
Rating 3.5/5


____Maggie said...

Didn't knock your socks off, but ticled you just the same. Naice! ;)

Dar said...

I haven't read this one yet but want to. However if you want a good one of hers to read it's A Redbird Christmas. Our book club read it as our Christmas selection-although it doesn't really have a lot to do with Christmas-and it's just a wonderful story. Great review and glad you enjoyed it!

Trish said...

Wow, that description is vague! ;) I really like Flagg's characters--they are usually pretty colorful and Elner sounds like no exception. Daisy Fay is written in first person and she is a hoot! I think I might abandon Tessfor the time being to read Welcome to the World thanks to your review!

Literary Feline said...

I read Fried Green Tomatoes and really liked it, but I haven't read anything else by Fannie Flag yet.

Trish said...

Freakin' Nora--why aren't you doing this read-a-thon with me???? You're definitely still up!

I'm going to take a catnap--not sure when I'll get back up but my eyes can't take anymore...

Laura H said...

I really liked this book.It might of helped if you read Standing in the Rainbow , first. It has alot of the same characters.
And I loved A redbird christmas. I had the audio book for that one. It was read by Fannie Flagg and she did such a good job.
I didnt like Fried green tomatoes (the book) too racey for me.

cj said...

Awwww, what a lovely quote. I've seen Flagg's books but never read one and was, frankly, just a tad bit disturbed by the fact that I thought Fried Green Tomatoes was a good movie...


Bookfool said...

I've only read one of Flagg's books: A Redbird Christmas. I liked it. I didn't love it, but I still want to read Fried Green Tomatoes. I'm glad you enjoyed this one. Not sure, but I might have a copy of this one in my stacks, somewhere. Buried.

Diane said...

I really enjoyed this book!