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February 2019



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Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!

When I read Can’t Wait to get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg, I didn’t realize that there were three books about the same characters. I’ve read them backwards; next Standing in the Rainbow and now Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!

Dena Nordstrom, the eponymous Baby Girl, is a young woman of flawless Nordic beauty. Through looks and intelligence she’s broken into television interviewing and is starting to be a valuable commodity. She should have a wonderful life but is actually a mess. She drinks and smokes too much, has no friends, can’t sustain a good relationship with a man and spends too much time alone. The reason for all this is very sad. Her father was killed in the War before she was born and Dena tells people her mother is dead. Actually she disappeared, abandoning her fifteen-year-old daughter. As a result Dena refuses to talk about the past and repulses the loving attentions of her few relations in Elmwood Springs, Missouri.

Events force Dena to confront her problems and the unravelling of the mystery about her mother turns the book into a real page turner. The action moves around between New York in the 1970s and the past in various places, including Vienna. Happily, one of those places is Elmwood Springs, home of Neighbor Dorothy, the broadcasting housewife and Dena’s relatives, Norma and Macky and Norma’s Aunt Elner. I love these characters and find them very funny. Norma is my favourite, with her neat freak ways, her constant worrying about things which may never happen, her threats of imminent nervous breakdown and real goodness and kindness.

This book combines the homey-ness of the other two with a mystery that I wanted solved and couldn't guess the answer to. I really enjoyed it.



Fannie Flagg

I read these (in the right order) a couple of years ago and really ejoyed the first two - not so enthusiatic about 'Can't Wait to Get to Heaven' though. I think my favourite was 'Standing in the Rainbow', loved the period details, and the increase in my understanding of how different growing up in the USA was from my experience of an English childhood in the same era. Glad you're feeling better.
Best wishes

Re: Fannie Flagg

I also like Standing in the Rainbow best of the three. American children were certainly better off materially than we were!

Thanks for the good wishes.
Thanks for recommending these. Will try them.