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Standing in the Rainbow [Paperback]

Fannie Flagg
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 3 2004 Ballantine Reader's Circle
Good news! Fannie’s back in town--and the town is among the leading characters in her new novel.

Along with Neighbor Dorothy, the lady with the smile in her voice, whose daily radio broadcasts keep us delightfully informed on all the local news, we also meet Bobby, her ten-year-old son, destined to live a thousand lives, most of them in his imagination; Norma and Macky Warren and their ninety-eight-year-old Aunt Elner; the oddly sexy and charismatic Hamm Sparks, who starts off in life as a tractor salesman and ends up selling himself to the whole state and almost the entire country; and the two women who love him as differently as night and day. Then there is Tot Whooten, the beautician whose luck is as bad as her hairdressing skills; Beatrice Woods, the Little Blind Songbird; Cecil Figgs, the Funeral King; and the fabulous Minnie Oatman, lead vocalist of the Oatman Family Gospel Singers.

The time is 1946 until the present. The town is Elmwood Springs, Missouri, right in the middle of the country, in the midst of the mostly joyous transition from war to peace, aiming toward a dizzyingly bright future.

Once again, Fannie Flagg gives us a story of richly human characters, the saving graces of the once-maligned middle classes and small-town life, and the daily contest between laughter and tears. Fannie truly writes from the heartland, and her storytelling is, to quote Time, "utterly irresistible."

From the Hardcover edition.

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Standing in the Rainbow + I Still Dream About You: A Novel + Can't Wait to Get to Heaven: A Novel
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

From the talented storyteller whose Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe became a beloved bestseller and a successful film comes a sprawling, feel-good novel with an old-fashioned beginning, middle and end. The predominant setting is tiny Elmwood Springs, Mo., and the protagonist is 10-year-old Bobby Smith, an earnest Cub Scout also capable of sneaking earthworms into his big sister's bed. His father is the town pharmacist and his mother is local radio personality Neighbor Dorothy (whom readers will recognize from Flagg's Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!). In 1946, Harry Truman presides over a victorious nation anticipating a happy and prosperous future. During the next several decades, the plot expands to include numerous beguiling characters who interact with the Smith family among them, the Oatman Family Southern Gospel Singers, led by matriarch Minnie, who survive misadventures galore to find fame after an appearance on the Arthur Godfrey show in 1949, the same year Bobby's self-esteem soars when he wins the annual town bubble gum contest. Also on hand are tractor salesman Ham Sparks, who becomes amazingly successful in politics, despite his marriage to overwhelmingly shy Betty Raye Oatman, and well-liked mortician Cecil Figgs, a sponsor of Neighbor Dorothy, who, as a bachelor in the mid-century South, also enjoys a secret life. The effects of changing social mores are handled deftly; historical events as they impact little Elmwood Springs are duly noted, and everything is infused with the good humor and joie de vivre that are Flagg's stock-in-trade.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Flagg brings her readers back to 1940s Elmwood, MO, when a family of white gospel singers bursts into town.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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ALMOST EVERYONE in town that had an extra room took in a boarder. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Echoes of a Simpler Life! March 5 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a warm, sprawling novel that will appeal to many,because of its sympathetic portrayal of marriage and small-town life, and its evoking of a simpler time when people of character seemed to do what was right.
The novel centers on a daily half-hour radio program during which Dorothy Smith exchanges cooking tips and recipes, talks about her family's doings, and invites her listeners to stop by for a cup of coffee. The program is like a friendly visit for her listeners, lonely farmwives in the rural Midwest.
Flagg's book depicts good moral people,and the characters are left feeling nostalgia for the past, with echoes of Lake Wobegon.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Read March 4 2004
By Amy
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book was phenomenonally great from start to finish. From the first chapter, you are mentally intrigued and begin memorizing each new character's behavior, and mannerisms. Dorothy is one of the best characters, she never says a mean or ugly thing about anyone, she's available for anyone that needs her, and with each bit of love and kindness that she offers she gets it back 10 fold. You begin anticipating the growth of each character as the story unfolds and years go by. In the end each character has evolved in such a different way from their original self that you feel proud reading about them, for the most part.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Voice and Character Feb. 25 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This novel spans the 40's to the 90's in a small Missouri town. The beginning of the novel is a bit slow but as I got into the book I realized that was due in part to the depth of the characters the author was creating.
The voices that Fannie Flagg creates in this novel are so much fun to read. You become their friends and want to see where they are going to end up. There are some fun twists and just enough humor to keep you entertained throughout.
This is the perfect book to read in short spurts. There are wonderful short chapters. I used it as a great lunchtime read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars So-so Aug. 3 2003
By shmeep
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was my first exposure to Fannie Flaggs work and, while I didn't hate it, I can't say it had any kind of a plot and everything just fizzled out and died by the end. Some of the characters were enjoyable and some were just annoying. Every time I started to feel interest in where I felt the story was headed, it jumped to something less entertaining and then the story I wanted to know more about was summed up or skipped altogether. A very unsatisfactory read by the end. Did not live up the the potential I felt it had in the beginning.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous read! May 24 2004
By A Customer
Once again, Fannie Flagg has delivered a host of characters so real that you feel as though you should pour yourself a cup of tea, pull up a chair and share a recipe with Neighbor Dorothy. Although I found the end of the book less appealing than the beginning, I still marvel at Flagg's writing and her ability to make her characters just jump off the page. Reminds me of the Dorsetville series by Katherine Valentine.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Can I go there? March 26 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
What a wonderful, enjoyable, fun read this was! I have to ask: Is there really such a place, and can I go there? Flagg has a unique knack for creating some of the most loveable characters ever to grace the written page. Sweet and summery, like a Jan Karon book, and well-written like something by McCrae (think Bark of the Dogwood) this page turner (the chapters are short) is nothing but sheer pleasure. Do yourself a favor and buy this one if you want to curl up with a good book and enjoy yourself.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Joy to Experience March 14 2004
By A Customer
A truely heart warming tale about an small town family and those who are dear to them. The character development in this book is spectacular making you feel as if you've known everyone intimately. Having finished the book I am enheartened by the story, but will miss my daily visits with the characters.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read Feb. 8 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Fried Green Tomatoes was, is, and will always be my favorite book and movie--of ALL the books and movies out there. I've worn out my VHS copy and am moving on to DVD. Wish me luck. That said, Standing in the Rainbow is a close second. While I love all of Flagg's books, FGT and this one are the best by far.
Also recommended: FGT, Welcome to the World, Bark of the Dogwood, To Kill a Mockingbird
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! Best I've Read!!
Fannie Flagg is one of my most favorite authors, and this book is in my opinion the best she's written. The characters are great and I was really bummed to see this book end. Read more
Published on Jan. 18 2004 by Mercedes J.
5.0 out of 5 stars Storytelling at it's best!
Fannie Flagg weaves a wonderful story taking us along in her witty, clever way to a small town in a bygone time and introducing us to a cast of characters so rich and interesting... Read more
Published on Jan. 14 2004 by Smart Lady
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
I love how this book follows the lives of the characters through the 20th Century. I think their lives are so interesting, reading how things change with the "progress"... Read more
Published on Jan. 7 2004 by K. Doll
1.0 out of 5 stars Pretty awful
I found that the characters personalities were all the same. It seemed that Fannie was looking back through rose colored cataracts. Read more
Published on Jan. 4 2004 by Daniel Estabrook
4.0 out of 5 stars Small town tales.
If you're in the mood for homesy-folksy stories of likeable people living quite ordinary lives, Standing in the Rainbow is for you. Read more
Published on Jan. 4 2004 by Beverley Strong
5.0 out of 5 stars Just enjoy
There aren't a lot of books that can be compared to this one, and only just a few authors who can draw characters as authentic and living-breathing-real as Fanny Flagg, but only a... Read more
Published on Dec 12 2003 by Irish Lace
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