Tuesday, January 31, 2012

An Engaging Story Well Told

I Still Dream About You, by Fannie Flagg

It surely must be one of those universal experiences to look in the mirror one day and realize that you probably are not going to have the life you imagined for yourself. That is what has happened to Maggie Fortenberrry. Because she grew up above a movie theater her father managed, she expected generally happy endings. Because she is a former Miss Alabama, she expected great great opportunities for herself.

At 60 something, she has come to terms with the simple fact that most of what she wanted from life was lost because of her own poor decisions.  With not much to look forward to except more loss and the inevitable physical decline, Maggie decides to exit this world in her own way at her own time.  And how to do the deed turns out to be more complicated that she expected.

Maggie is a very proper Southern woman, so she concocts a complex plan that guarantees success without mess or fuss, without leaving a body to be found, and without loose ends for someone else to untangle.  Just when she is ready to execute the plan, her life interupts. 

First, it's the whirling diverishes and accommodating a friend who wants to see them. Then, it's a hair appointment she forgot to cancel and she doesn't wnat to stiff the hair dresser.  Then, it's too much goat cheese (don't ask!).  Finally, it's Crestview, a lovely old mansion just up for sale and about to fall into the clutches of Babs Bingington, her archrival in the real estate business who scoops up the elegant old homes and sells them to developers.

That draws her into a mystery that must be resolved.

Along the way, Maggie saves the house and herself.  Although it does require a bit of unexpected good luck to bring some of the old dreams into her life, it is good luck Maggie has earned and along the way, she learns to let go of some of her perfectionism and enjoy her life a bit more.

As always with Fannie Flagg's books, the plot is moved by unique characters in bizarre situations responding in interesting ways.  I Still Dream About You was released in 2011 and it was very popular with book groups.  If you missed it, go back and check it out.  It is not Fried Green Tomatoes, but it is an engaging story well told.

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