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Standing in the Rainbow Paperback – Aug 3 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (Aug. 3 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345452887
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345452887
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #18,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I loved this book! I can't say enough wonderful things about this storyline! The characters and the town just come to life while you read it. I really enjoyed getting to know Dorothy's family and the other wacky townspeople. I had already read "Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!" and although I really enjoyed that book, I kept wanting to know more about the Neighbor Dorothy Show and the people surrounding her! I was so excited to start reading this book and realize it was just that! It makes you feel like once upon a time there really was a town just like Elmwood Springs, and it almost makes me wish I'd grown up in a small town, way back when...
I did read this book in just one night (one very late night!) because it really does suck you in. Even though it spans a huge amount of time I really didn't want it to end! It had everything I enjoy in a good book and I think it would make a great movie. I smiled a lot while reading it, laughed out loud often, and finally even cried (which I don't usually do with the books I read). It left me feeling good and having a little different outlook on life in general!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Reading Fannie Flagg is the best of diversions from the complicated world of today. Just travel back to the simpler life of Elmwood Springs, Missouri, and the radio domain of Neighbor Dorothy. It is the 1940's in a small town of quite beauty with families and neighbors living very normal lives in a time just after WWII. Neighbor Dorothy is an incredible woman, a center for broadcasts that reach a huge span of listeners in many states. Her thirty minute broadcast, homespun with reliable sponsors, varied guests, a family of supporters, most especially Mother Smith at the organ, and talent that a world of media junkies might find hard to believe is the hub of the novel. The cast of thousands over the years draws in a cast of characters that are priceless and real, as the home of Dorothy and Doc, the local pharmacist, their children Anna Lee and Bobby, and their family pets, comes to house even the most desolate of persons. And the simple acceptance and open arms welcome of the Smith household just seems to be second nature, especially to Dorothy. One can only imagine how delightful Dorothy's cookies for on-the-air guests and audience members must smell. That thought alone draws the reader into this wonderful home.
Skillfully, Flagg executes her story line in easy-going episodes, developing each character in relation to the others and revealing their personal oddities and endearing traits. From the gospel singing Oatmans and their retiring Betty Raye, to the in-for-a-meal poultry king, name of Fowler, to Hamm Sparks, the politician and future governor of Missouri, Flagg makes her characters vivid and fun, with potential greatness and feet of clay.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Standing in the Rainbow," by Fannie Flagg, is a novel that seems to me like a literary version of a patchwork quilt: Flagg takes a colorful bunch of stories and weaves them together into a warm and comforting whole. The novel tells the stories of a number of generations of folk living in Elmwood Springs, Missouri. The book begins in the 1940s and takes us through several more decades.
Flagg deals with a lot of issues in this 500-plus page (in the paperback version) book: love, marriage, parenthood, loss, death, growing up, growing old, cultural difference, etc. Particularly juicy is her storytelling about American popular culture and politics. In the interlocking tales of these people she deals with a wide span of human relationships: mother/daughter, brother/sister, husband/wife, grandparent/grandchild, friends, political rivals, etc.
The book is full of likeable and colorful characters, some of whom have surprising twists in their life journeys. Flagg is adept at showing how people live their lives in the midst of societal change; I also admire her skill at showing how ordinary folk can have revelatory moments in their lives.
"Standing" is a big, lively, likeable novel. Although a number of sections could almost stand alone as independent short stories, they ultimately contribute to Flagg's larger story--the story not of one person, or of one family, but of an entire community and more. Although there is sadness along the way, it's a hopeful and positive book. Flagg writes with grace, humor, and--above all--compassion for her characters.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read all of Flagg's books and this one is just as sweet and humorous as her others. If you love Southern Fiction, then you will love this book. It is unbeatable! It is a page-turner ~~ you can't help but turn the page in order to keep up with the residents of Elmwood Springs.
Dorothy broadcasts her radio show from her living room along with her mother-in-law ~~ bringing local news and gossip to the town and surrounding areas. She brings such warmth and humor into the book that you wish she was your own mother! Or neighbor! Then there is Minnie Oatman, head of a gospel-singing family, her daughter Betty Raye who desires nothing more than to put her roots down somewhere and not travel, there is Bobby, Dorothy's rascally son who is so curious and full of imagination that lives a thousand lives, there is Jimmy, their boarder who is a WWII vet who lost his leg in battle, there is Tot Whooten, Dorothy's neighbor who seems to have a string of bad luck starting with her husband. Then there is Anna Lee, Dorothy's beautiful daughter who is always squabbling with Bobby. There is Hamm Sparks, a man full of ambition, Doc Smith, Dorothy's husband and the town pharamicist.
These are just a few of the characters in the book ~~ but you'll warm up to the story telling that spans four decades. You'll laugh with them, cry with them, moan over them and sometimes fight their fights as well. They are people just as real as your neighbors, friends and family are. Flagg writes about the everyday people through the changes of time. It is a very heart-warming book ~~ one that you keep thinking of long after the last page has been turned.
I highly recommend this book ~~ not just for its humor but for the indepths Flagg writes about her characters. You know those characters because they are you.
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