Dena Nordstrom is on the verge of making it big as a female newscaster in 1970s New York, but she’s not dealing well with the stress of the job and some unresolved issues from her past.
This was enjoyable enough. My favorite parts featured the extended family living in Elmwood Springs, Missouri. I kept reading Aunt Elner’s speeches out loud to my husband. She just cracked me up! And I loved the little chapters that featured “Neighbor Dorothy’s” radio show. They sound so homey, cheerful and nice. If you find yourself reading this and enjoying these parts the best, pick up Standing in the Rainbow. That book is more about Neighbor Dorothy’s family.
There were whole chunks of this book that could have been included in an essay entitled, “What’s Wrong with the News Industry Today.” I agreed with them, but they got preachy and old.
The book sort of settled into stereotypes. The big city people were mean and money- and power-hungry. The small town people were friendly, neighborly, gossipy, and not all that bright. The one Southern lady didn’t seem to realize that the Civil War was over and could tell you your family’s history and Civil War genealogy based on your last name alone.
The big secret felt a bit anti-climactic at first. Luckily, the author switched the point of view and showed exactly why the big secret was so terrible and so secret. So I did eventually understand. I can’t believe I missed how significant it was in the first place, to be perfectly honest. But I was definitely surprised when I found out what it was.
The times, places, and points-of-view did shift pretty frequently, but everything was clearly labeled at the beginning of each chapter, so it was easy to keep up with.
There were some huge, romantic gestures sprinkled throughout. My husband, who is mostly a romantic at heart, did play along at first when I asked, “Would you do this?” based on something from the book. After a couple of times he finally looked at me and asked, “What kind of fairy tale are you reading?!?” So don’t get your hopes too high as you read this, ladies. :-)
Overall, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is still my favorite Fannie Flagg book. But this was still pretty good and fans of Flagg should enjoy it.
Reviewed August 12, 2009
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Friday Flashback Reviews are a weekly feature here on The Introverted Reader. These are old reviews I wrote on GoodReads. Thanks to Angieville and her Retro Friday Reviews for the inspiration and encouragement!
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