Saturday, December 17, 2016
Book Review: "The Whole Town's Talking," by Fannie Flagg
About the Book: Elmwood Springs, Missouri, is a small town like any other, but something strange is happening at the cemetery. Still Meadows, as it's called, is anything but still. Original, profound, The Whole Town's Talking, a novel in the tradition of Thornton Wilder's Our Town and Flagg's own Can't Wait to Get to Heaven, tells the story of Lordor Nordstrom, his Swedish mail-order bride, Katrina, and their neighbors and descendants as they live, love, die, and carry on in mysterious and surprising ways.
Lordor Nordstrom created, in his wisdom, not only a lively town and a prosperous legacy for himself, but also a beautiful final resting place for his family, friends, and neighbors yet to come. "Resting place" turns out to be a bit of a misnomer, however. Odd things begin to happen, and it starts the whole town talking.
With her trademark humor, wild imagination, great storytelling, and deep understanding of folly and the human heart, the beloved Fannie Flagg tells an unforgettable story of life, afterlife, and the remarkable goings-on of ordinary people. In The Whole Town's Talking, she reminds us that community is vital, life is a gift, and love never dies.
My Thoughts: This is the story of a small town and its inhabitants, from its founding in 1889 all the way to the year 2021! Like Forrest Gump, we see how world events and progress affect the people who live through them. As we get to know the residents of Elmwood Springs, and see the town's evolution from a small group of homes to a mid-sized city, we see the effects not only through the eyes of current residents, but also through the "eyes" of those who have died and now share the afterlife in the cemetery, Still Meadows. The Whole Town's Talking raises many questions: Is life better or worse as the town grows? Are people happier or less satisfied as life becomes more complicated? Are we the products of our genealogy or our environment? And does life go on after death? Fortunately, these deep questions arise from a thoroughly entertaining story, complete with quirky personalities, community scandal, and plenty of love.
About the Author: Fannie Flagg's career started in the fifth grade when she wrote, directed, and starred in her first play, titled The Whoopee Girls, and she has not stopped since. At age nineteen, she began writing and producing television specials, and later wrote for and appeared on Candid Camera. She then went on to distinguish herself as an actress and a writer in television, films, and the theater. She is the bestselling author of Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man; Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe; Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!; Standing in the Rainbow; A Redbird Christmas; Can't Wait to Get to Heaven; I Still Dream About You; The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion; and The Whole Town's Talking. Flagg's script for the movie Fried Green Tomatoes was nominated for an Academy Award and the Writers Guild of America Award and won the highly regarded Scripter Award for best screenplay of the year. Fannie Flagg is the winner of the Harper Lee prize. She lives happily in California and Alabama.
Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission on purchases made through my link.