10 June 2008

Book review of Standing in the Rainbow

Standing in the Rainbow, by Fannie Flagg, is set in Elmwood Springs, Missouri, which is a familiar place to readers of Fannie Flagg's Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! novel. It spans time from the 1940s to 2000. We reacquaint ourselves with some familiar characters: Neighbor Dorothy, Aunt Elner, Norma and Macky, and Poor Tot Whooten. We also meet some interesting folks as well: young Bobby Smith who grows up in the span of the novel, the ambitious tractor salesman turned politician Hamm Sparks, Minnie Oatman and the Oatman Family Gospel Singers, and Cecil Figgs, the mortician with a secret life, to name a few.

This novel is different than the well-known Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! in that the time-line is linear. For much of the book, there doesn't seem to be much plot either. It is a slice-of-life narrative that makes you wish for the good old days. But as we listen to Neighbor Dorothy's daily radio show on WDOT, and watch Bobby evolve from carefree, bubble-gum chewing adolescent to war veteran to successful businessman, a mysterious disappearance unfolds.

Overall I'd rate this book an 8.5 out of 10, and plan to keep this book on my bookshelf. I think it is a fine addition to my Fannie Flagg collection.

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