Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Fiction Review: I Still Dream About You

One of my book groups wanted something light to read during the holiday season, so we chose Fannie Flagg’s I Still Dream About You. I hadn’t read anything by Flagg since Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe twenty years ago, so I was looking forward to this one. It doesn’t have the depth of that famed novel, but we all agreed it was a fun, light read.

Oddly, I Still Dream About You is a somewhat humorous book about someone who is contemplating suicide. Strange, right? It makes the reader feel a little uncomfortable and unsure what to think at first (is it funny? sad?), but once you realize that the story is very much tongue-in-cheek, you can go along for the ride.

Maggie Fortenberry is a former Miss Alabama (and a Miss America runner-up) who now works in real estate in her beloved hometown, Birmingham. To everyone else, Maggie’s life seems wonderful – she is still beautiful, has a great job, and has plenty of friends. But underneath her perfectly coiffed and graceful appearance, Maggie is actually quite depressed and sees no reason to continue on as is just to wait to get old. She comes up with a perfect plan.

Things keep getting in the way of Maggie’s plans, though, and – as with everything else in her life – she wants everything to be perfect. So, she bides her time and makes her lists (I especially enjoyed her many lists). Meanwhile, life goes on, things happen, and Maggie uncovers a mystery at the heart of her city’s past. As is typical in Flagg’s books, this novel is populated by funny, quirky, unique characters.  My favorite is Maggie’s best friend and business partner, Brenda, who lives with her sister’s family and is constantly fighting her tendency to overeat.

Our book group members all agreed that, though this novel is not great literature, it is lots of fun and an enjoyable read, filled with southern drama and a hefty dose of humor.

315 pages, Random House


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