Fannie Flagg’s “I Still Dream About You,” not a fried green tomato in sight

October 3, 2011 at 2:28 am 2 comments

Cover of "I Still Dream About You: A Nove...

Cover of I Still Dream About You: A Novel

I Still Dream About Youby Fannie Flagg, Published in 2010

I think my mom will be sad that I was disappointed by this book.  I have never read a Fannie Flagg book but I love the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes” – Flagg wrote the book “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe” and then wrote the screenplay for the movie.  So she has always been on my “to read” list.  After reading this book, I can see how her Southern style and humor mixed in with touching moments could really make for a good novel.  But I felt like Flagg phoned it in with this book (sorry Mom).

The main character, Maggie, is in her early 60s and lives in Birmingham, Alabama.  She was once Miss Alabama and came very close to her dream of becoming Miss America.  The book alludes to the fact that she lost because Alabama in the 60s was not America’s proudest moment. She finds herself single, older, and working as a realtor.  At the beginning of the novel, the reader is told that Maggie plans to kill herself.  She has a plan that each time she sets in motion gets thrown off by life’s everyday occurrences – car accidents, new house listings, and a friend’s sudden brush with death. Every time she realizes there is just no time today to drown herself, Maggie has to keep changing the date on her suicide note, reopen her bank accounts, and purchase new clothes (because she donated everything she had)

The characters that shape Maggie’s life are lovable.  Maggie was roped into real estate by a midget named Hazel, who never felt sorry for herself – in fact Hazel truly believes she is the luckiest person alive. Hazel is so beloved that her death seems to be the beginning of Maggie’s depression.  Maggie’s co-worker Brenda is an overweight, African-American woman who buys expensive wigs and dreams of being mayor but needs a few more donuts while she thinks about her political ambitions. Ethel is Maggie’s other co-worker who is in her eighties, a bit cranky and gets her hair dyed a perfect shade of lavender.  There is of course the arch-nemesis Babs who is the business competition in town and steals listings in unethical ways, you can use your imagination.

There is a mystery and of course a romance.  The ending is sweet and life affirming, which considering the depressing books I have been reading was refreshing. But when you finish the book you kind of just say “Oh okay, what should I read next?”  Maybe I picked the wrong Fannie Flagg book. Or maybe I just expected too much.  But I suppose it would be hard to top Idgie Threadgoode and lines like:

After Ruth died and the railroad stopped runnin’, the cafe shut down and everybody just scattered to the winds. It was never more’n just a little knockabout place, but now that I look back on it, when that cafe closed, the heart of the town just stopped beatin’. It’s funny how a little place like this brought so many people together.” *cue music* watch?v=94Ommg4V8mA

So I guess I am just left with the question “What should I read next?”

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Entry filed under: October 2011 reads. Tags: , , .

If he smells like urine he is probably crazy – “Paris Trout” by Pete Dexter My dark descent into young adult literature – “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Diane  |  October 3, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    I agree, the book was paled by comparison to her epic Fried Green Tomatoes. I enjoyed the book Let the Great World Spin in case you are still looking for a good book. I enjoyed your post!

    Reply
  • 2. Emily C  |  October 4, 2011 at 7:37 am

    Thanks Diane. I will have to put Let the Great World Spin on my to read list.

    Reply

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There is some great literature out there, but there is a lot of bad literature as well. We shouldn't all have to read it. These are my recommendations and thoughts about the books I read.

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