A Redbird Christmas: A Novel Hardcover – Oct 25 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Lured by a brochure his doctor gives him after informing him that his emphysema has left him with scarcely a year to live, 52-year-old Oswald T. Campbell abandons wintry Chicago for Lost River, Ala., where he believes he'll be spending his last Christmas. Bestselling author Flagg (Fried Green Tomatoes; Standing in the Rainbow) makes this down-home story about good neighbors and the power of love sparkle with wit and humor, as she tells of Oswald's new life in a town with one grocery store and a resident cardinal (or redbird, as the natives call it). Frances Cleverdon, one of four widows and three single women in town, hopes to fix him up with her sister, Mildred—if only Mildred wouldn't keep dying her hair outrageous colors every few days. The quirky story takes a heartwarming turn when Frances and Oswald become involved in the life of Patsy Casey, an abandoned young girl with a crippled leg. As Christmas approaches, the townspeople and neighboring communities—even the Creoles, whose long-standing feud with everybody else keeps them on the other side of the river—rally round shy, sweet Patsy. Flagg is a gifted storyteller who knows how to tug at readers' heartstrings, winding up her satisfying holiday tale with the requisite Christmas miracle.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Oswald Campbell doesn't have much to live for, except to cash his paltry pension check, drop in on the occasional AA meeting, and visit the VA hospital. Dreading another winter in Chicago, he takes in stride the news that his emphysema will probably take his life before Christmas. Having no family except an ex-wife, who has since moved on, Oswald follows his doctor's advice and spends his final months in a more comfortable climate. By chance, he ends up in Lost River, Alabama, a sleepy town with so many single, older women that Frances Cleverdon, a widow, hopes that Oswald will turn out to be someone's knight in shining armor. Not quite the Romeo they had hoped for, Oswald nonetheless is taken under folks' wings. Without noticing how it happens, Oswald comes to love Lost River, visiting the town store and the feisty redbird that lives there, waiting out at the dock for the river-faring postman to bring the mail, or accepting myriad dinner invitations from the town's women. Flagg based Lost River on her own hometown, and though such places may actually exist, there nevertheless is an allegorical feel to this little tale of hope, friendship, and common decency. Intended as a Christmas story, it would be readable year-round. Mary Frances Wilkens
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
i love this & her other books, "fried green tomatoes" & "welcome to the world, baby girl!"
also, fannie was originally in the movie "grease" & either she influenced the movie or the movie influenced her, as i find echoes of the "grease" persona within her stories.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Oswald T. Campbell, hapless orphan named after the can of tomato soup his mother left behind when she desserted him, feels life has just not been fair. He's never had a break, never a lucky streak, not even a fair-to-middlin' streak. And now his doctor has told him this Christmas will most likely be his last. Emphysema and Chicago winters are not a good match, and Oswald's drinking has not helped. An out-of-date brochure the doctor gives him leads Oswald to a better climate in Lost River, Alabama. The fictional city is located near Elberta, Lillian, and Mobile, but represents the small towns everywhere that the brilliant Ms. Flagg has immortalized in her wonderful work.
This one is definitely hard to put down, so save it for when you have a spare afternoon or evening, if there is such a thing. You will be caught up at once in Oswald's life and his meeting with Jack, the redbird who lives at the neighborhood grocery store. The store's proprieter Roy, along with Frances, Mildred, Betty, Dottie, and even the infamous Julian LaPonde will have you spellbound and quickly turning the pages to see what happens next. But it is Patsy, the young, cripped child whose bond with Jack transcends reality that elevates this book to a league of its own.
If you've ever wondered whether it's better to be an accordion player or an alcoholic, or wondered why so many people love to get in group pictures, you will be laughing out loud at this one. So grab a cup of Christmas cheer and prepare to experience a Christmas miracle.
Oswald is told by his doctor that he must leave the Chicago cold for the warmer temperatures of the south for serious health reasons. Lost River has been recommended to him as an ideal place to go, so he packs up, and heads down there, thinking he'll just be there for the winter. But as time goes on, Oswald falls in love with the little town, and all it's residence, including one very special redbird, Jack, and one precious little girl, Patsy.
Of course I absolutely recommend this book for people of all ages, it's such a sweet Christmas story that I can't give enough praise to. Hopefully I won't have to wait so long for Ms. Flaggs next novel, but I'm confident it'll be just as wonderful as this one and all the others she has given us.
This is an easy recommendation for ALL ages. About halfway through the book, my reading slowed down, I savored each page, and knew that more enchantment would appear but that it would eventually end. Sigh. Mamalinda has already bought several copies for gifts.