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July 2020: Southern > I still dream about you by Fannie Flagg - 4 stars

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message 1: by Barbara M (new)

Barbara M (barbara-m) | 2275 comments It seems to me that only Fannie Flagg can write a book about a woman planning her suicide and keep it funny! Maggie (Margaret Fontenberry) is a 60 year old, former Miss Alabama and 2nd runner-up to the Miss American crown. She's still a beautiful woman but facing her old age with disgust. She has decided that it's time to end it. She has a list of Pros and Cons about ending it or going on and the list to end it is winning. She's not depressed but her life as a real estate agent is failing along with her beloved Red Mountain Realty during the recession of the 1960s. Maggie's not going to end her life without a lot of planning. She's a list maker and has covered all the bases, closing her bank accounts, paying her bills, etc; leaving no stone unturned. She's set the date, she's ready but something happens to postpone her plans

The main characters in the book work at Red Mountain Realty, there's Ethel the curmudgeon secretary at the office who always wears purple, and Brenda who is Maggie's best friend. She and Brenda have some very open discussions about race since Brenda is black and Maggie is southern white in Birmingham Alabama. Brenda is bordering on obese and lives with her sister, the nurse, who is constantly pushing her to lose weight.

Fannie Flagg writes wonderful characters. In this book, Hazel, who has died, plays a major role. She was the founder and driving force behind Red Mountain Realty. Ever since Hazel suddenly died, the remaining agents have been working hard to keep the agency going. Although not a living character, Hazel remains a huge part of the story despite her tiny size. Hazel was a midget but "people quickly forgot Hazel’s height, mostly because Hazel didn’t make a big deal out of it herself." In fact, she used her size to make people happy or inspired. I'd love to have met Hazel! On the other hand Babs Bingington, the Beast of Birmingham is a true Simon Legree character, easy to dislike.

There is a side story about a wealthy Scot who lived in a beautiful mansion looking overlooking the City. It crops up in bits a pieces through the story and, although interesting, I think it slowed the story. Hence only 4 stars instead of the 5 that I would have given it.


message 2: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5672 comments I really like her too. I agree that she writes wonderful characters. I finally read Fried Green Tomatoes, and I'll add this to my TBR. I sometimes think of one of her books when I see a sunset from my back yard.

Wasn't she on a sitcom decades ago? Or am I confusing her with someone else?


message 3: by Barbara M (new)

Barbara M (barbara-m) | 2275 comments NancyJ wrote: "I really like her too. I agree that she writes wonderful characters. I finally read Fried Green Tomatoes, and I'll add this to my TBR. I sometimes think of one of her books when I see a sunset from..."

Yes, she was an actress and in a couple of tv shows and movies. She was also a panelist on a couple of games shows like Hollywood Squares. She also wrote the screenplay for Fried Green Tomatoes and won an award for that. That's why the movie is so good compared to the book! She wrote both!


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