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Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!: A Novel (Ballantine Reader's Circle) by [Flagg, Fannie]
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Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!: A Novel (Ballantine Reader's Circle) Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 193 customer reviews

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Length: 434 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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With home-cooked, Southern literary flair, Fannie Flagg (Fried Green Tomatoes) returns with Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! "Baby Girl," as she is lovingly referred to by her sweet, country cousins, is Dena Nordstrom, a tall, blonde, corn-fed girl who makes it big in Manhattan. Ms. Nordstrom is now the top TV anchorwoman in the city, beating out veteran journalists and making ungodly amounts of money. Although her life seems charmed, Dena is frazzled and miserable. She drinks uncontrollably, is a borderline compulsive liar, and is forced to undergo therapy because of her stress-induced ulcer. Her psychiatrist, Dr. O'Malley, falls madly in love with her, of course, and sends the blonde bombshell to a close colleague, Dr. Diggers. Living up to her name, Diggers shovels up a mountain of dysfunction and forces Dena to face her mysterious past; all the while the good doctor reports back to brokenhearted O'Malley about her patient's progress. Meanwhile, back at the station, Ms. Nordstrom has made friends and enemies in very high places. Her greatest ally is Howard Kingsley, the Cronkitesque reporter who wields power with more ease than most seasoned politicos: "He closed the door and handed the driver a ten-dollar bill. 'Take this young lady where she wants to go for me, will you? And be careful, she's valuable property.'" It's a good thing she has friends like that, because her boss, Ira Wallace, makes George Costanza from Seinfeld look like a scrupulous saint. When Wallace hires a nasty but effective mole by the name of Sidney Capello to dig up garbage on celebrities, Nordstrom has a head-on collision with his sense of ethics (or lack thereof) and gets Capello canned. Or so she thinks. Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! is very much like its star, Dena Nordstrom: pretty, scattered, confused, and sometimes interesting. It's a long ride from the Whistle Stop Cafe, and readers who enjoy Jan Karon's Mitford Fall series will most likely be the biggest fans of Flagg's third novel.

From Publishers Weekly

Because so much of Flagg's third novel takes place in the 1970s media-celebrity echelons of New York City, it doesn't offer the regional and historical color and texture of its predecessor, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. Instead, Flagg's achievement here lies in a well-choreographed story of loyalty and survival that zigzags deftly across the post-war years, panning in on the never-changing decency of Elmwood Springs, Mo., then pulling back to watch national TV news devolve into sensationalism?all the while drawing us into the compelling life of Dena Nordstrom. Star of America's most popular morning news show, Dena shuts herself down and shuts men out for painful reasons that are unknown even to her. Only after the stress of ambush- and sound-byte journalism brings on a hemorrhaging ulcer does Dena slowly unearth the scandal that, when Dena was four, drove her mother from Elmwood Springs, hometown of the war hero father that Dena never knew. That her mother's nemesis is a newspaper gossipmonger is nicely ironic, although her mother's secret shame seems slightly larger than life. In contrast, Dena's college friend Sookie and great aunt Elner are reminders of how well Flagg can cook up memorable women from the most down-to-earth ingredients, while a cameo by Tennessee Williams is uncannily true to life. Fans may be sorry at first to leave Elmwood Springs for the big city, but even the most reluctant will get wrapped up in Dena's search for the truth about her family and her past. Author tour; Random House audio.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4347 KB
  • Print Length: 434 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (June 22 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004JHYR36
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 193 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #253,507 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
First, I have to say that I genuinely liked most of the characters that Fannie Flagg developed in "Welcome to the World, Baby Girl". Especially well liked were Norma and Macky and Aunt Elner. There was a sweet charm to these characters that made me smile and wish that I actually knew people like these.
The layout of the book was a little frustrating for me. Ms. Flagg jumps back and forth between time periods, which makes following the story more than a bit confusing. Also, because the shifts can be dramatic - going from 1974 to 1952 - means the reader must make some real mental shifts to follow along. I realize that Ms. Flagg is trying to build suspense, but this was overly much.
I'm not certain if it is because it took Ms. Flagg 12 years to write this book, or because of the back and forth nature of the way she tells the story, but historical inaccuracies abound and are very, very apparent. For me, they drew away from the story being told, and I am quite frankly amazed that no other reviewer has mentioned this. Ms. Flagg has the 911 emergency number fully operational as of 1968 (when in fact it was 1973), and an 87 year old woman giving birth. (A woman born in 1808 giving birth in 1895 - a little far-fetched) There are scores of other historical inaccuracies until the book simply becomes comical for a reader to find all of the errors.
If one is able to get beyond these inaccuracies and this book as pure "fluff", it might be quite enjoyable. Otherwise, it might be interesting just to pick out the inaccuracies.
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By A Customer on June 12 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the worst book I've read in a while. The only word I can think of to describe it is trite. The characters are barely two-dimentional and the story doesn't make you care about any of them. Most of the plot is predictable, except for the "big secret" at the end. I skimmed through the last hundred pages because I must admit that I had to know what the secret was- when revealed it was a complete let-down. I loved Fried Green Tomatoes... but don't waste a minute of your pecious time on Baby Girl.
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By A Customer on June 4 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Welcome to the world of Dena Nordstrom (Debra Norville?), pioneering woman broadcast journalist, tall cool drink of water and American Nordic ice princess. In an attempt to create an interesting, conlficted heroine, Fannie Flagg has delivered a paper-thin cliche, like so many bestsellers marketed to us women. "Baby Girl" would have been more entertaining if Dena were truly a strong woman and able to handle the stress of her job without suffering bleeding ulcers or being an alcoholic. Then again, Dena is ultiamtely the sum of her weaknesses, and this would be a different story without them. Still, I would have liked to see Dena persevere, instead of being unable to handle success because of her traumatic childhood. Her secret was something of a letdown, and the ultimate explanation for her mother's disappearance is utterly implausible.
The other characters, too, are weak. I'm not sure what her first psychiatrist, Dr. Gerry O'Malley, saw in her -- she was utterly cruel to him. And I found Flagg's portrayal of Alabama and Missouri small-town life rather caramelized, even a bit patronizing. In truth, rural living is no more idyllic than living in The Big, Scary, Busy, Unfeeling City.
As in "Fried Green Tomatoes," Flagg takes on sensitive issues of race, and throws in a murder for good measure -- but Fried Green Tomatoes was much more effective. Entertaining enough, but improbable and as light as Neighbor Dorothy's buttermilk biscuits.
P.S. If her mother's disappearance wasn't resolved until nearly the book's end, how on earth did she support herself from age 15 though college? Her grandparents? A trust fund? Unlikely, considering her mother supported them by working in dress shops.
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By A Customer on March 8 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I loved "Fried..." and "Daisy...", and enjoyed parts of "Welcome..." However, my overall impression of the book was less than favorable. I thought it was too cheesy. The "good" characters were too good. The "bad" characters were too bad. Gerry, the nerdy doctor. Oh, God, totally one dimensional character. Wasn't likable in the very least. Loved Aunt Elner, though. I thought the mystery behind Dena's mother was so lame, I put the book down with 30 pages to go and didn't touch it for days because I was so disappointed with that revelation. There wasn't one word or action in this book that wasn't predictable. I could have written it myself word for word after reading only the first chapter. Except the end. I wouldn't subject ANYONE to that ending. I believe Flagg has an excellent grasp on small town America. She's a great storyteller when she's telling an original story. I've read this one a million times before by a million different authors.
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Format: Hardcover
Are small town folks this nice? Ms. Flagg has a good ear for dialogue but not much for reality. The heroine is confused and confusing. I couldn't understand how she inspired such devotion if she was, in fact, as distant, reserved, untruthful as described. I felt Ms. Flagg did a hurry-up job on this novel. She never explained how the penniless 15-year old Dena supported herself for the next 4 years after her mother deserted her. She rents a house that has supposedly been occupied until a few months ago and finds a 1954 calendar hanging in the kitchen. I realize this was supposed to be nostalgia time, but what of the previous tenants? Did they live in a time warp? I found it hard to believe that a girl with small town relatives had no idea what a pot-luck dinner was. The big mystery was some letdown. Book seemed very hasty, tangled, and I will never understand the fictional conversation with Tennessee Williams. I'm sure he would be mortified to be credited with so many cliches
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