Standing in the Rainbow Paperback – Aug 3 2004
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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!
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
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... Read morePublished on May 24 2004
What a wonderful, enjoyable, fun read this was! I have to ask: Is there really such a place, and can I go there? Read morePublished on March 26 2004
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... Read morePublished on March 14 2004
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... Read morePublished on March 5 2004 by Gregory Nyman
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. Read morePublished on March 4 2004 by Amy
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... Read morePublished on Feb. 25 2004 by J. A Carty
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. Read morePublished on Feb. 8 2004
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 morePublished on Jan. 18 2004 by Mercedes J.
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 morePublished on Jan. 14 2004 by Smart Lady