mercoledì, novembre 23, 2016

The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie Flagg

The books I pick up from NetGalley are all dreaming. Of course I have also my favorite authors and when I ask to read a book written by one of them, when I am approved I am more than just thrilled.

One day I saw the book of one of my favorite authors in absolute: Fanny Flagg. I decided to ask to read The Whole's Town Talking because saying that I adore Fannie Flagg's books is reductive.

I love the messages contained in every book she writes. She is able to spread positive vibes, she talks at the heart of people/readers in incisive, sweet ways. Her world is beauty with some dramas here and there but always, with a happy, relaxing end.

My love for Fannie Flagg's books started many years ago with Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café and since there I follow her.
Wise, compassionate, she analyzes a reality that is simply beautiful because focused on positive values. Optimism, friendship, help, brotherhood. The people she portrays are wonderful because hectically correct, and able to create a good world around them.

Able to look at the world with beautiful lenses, her books are never discouraging but bring a positive message, encouragements, love, friendship.

When I was approved for reading his latest creation I cried for the joy. The realization of a dream to me.

At that time my world was normal, my routine not altered. But in a short time my dad fell sick and in 25 days he died, the day of the Dead.

He wanted to be remembered picking up a special date. Typical of him.

When I started to read this book I thought at the irony of the case. A cemetery, the After Life, another little community as also our community is, but considering that I have the same sensations regarding the Other World, it was with great joy that I read these wise, calm, funny words, balm for my mind and heart.

You will find in Flagg's books will find stories of common extraordinary people able to add something beauty to this world thanks to their ethic behavior and thanks to the fact that they live with great harmony with everyone else.

In this book we are back to Elmwood Spring, and in particular the book starts at the beginning of all of it, when some Swedish settlers, including the shy Lordor Nordstrom decided to start a village. Lordor created also a cemetery in a stunning close locality of Elmwood Spring called Still Meadows.


The book will cover all the 20th century including the first 20 years of the 21st century so our days.

Fannie Flagg has a particular spirituality. If you have read also her previous books, you will know how profound and deep is her connection with the After Life lived in a sunny, absolutely relaxing way, able to keep cheerful everyone.

Lordor is a wonderful man, nice, but although he owns a farm with a lot of cows he is a bit shy with women and there are not too many there for him.

So he decides thanks also to the help of some ladies and men of the place to write for finding a mail-order bride.
In the past in fact men or women asked for someone via mail. In the  case of this couple it was a success, because Katrina loved the idea of living in a farm distant from Chicago.
She was a so-called good Swedish country-girl. She was missing her country life lived in Sweden and Chicago too crowded for her spirit.

She left at Chicago a girlfriend able to change boyfriend in a split of second, and with which she would have continued to write with for all her life.
In this new country life she found very good people.
Society of little realities very controlled and people helped each other without problems. Once people of doubts reputation tried to start an existence in Elmwood Spring but without success.

In this book you will understand how to keep a little community happy and cheerful.

The mayor of the city will be Lordor and later once he will die his son Ted because no one would have wanted someone else or someone with another last name.

The book tells the stories not just of Lordor and his wife but mainly of the descendants of these first settlers of people of this village in Missouri.

Lordor once he understood he would have dead soon passed the farm at a worker he trusted a lot.

Yes because Elmwood Spring had all the characteristic of a sunny place.

At the beginning of 1900 a place where people tried first of all to find a place where to staying, building their houses and their existence and thinking only later, at the creation of schools, ambulatories, some stores for not affording in very distant cities for some shopping.

Later a more serious expansion of the village always more big and crowded.

It is a historical trip as well. Thanks to the arrival of the cinema everyone dreamed to have the hair cut of the latest famous actress of the moment and Ginger Rogers once in Elmwood Spring.

Slowly slowly we will understand the influence that the new medium created in people's life-style as also of course social and political changes. The Depression of 1929 touched the citizens of Elmwood Spring but being the locality marginal less than what it would have been expected.

The impact of wars, as for example the Second World War, saluted at the end with great joy had seen busy women and men.

It will be only with the Viet Nam war that the town will discover another face of pain...

With the decades arrived also a rail-station. The place wasn't anymore just a little village but a  populated town.

There was the local newsmagazine. It informed people of all the latest events with the characteristic reporter of Elmwood Spring and her specific familiar treats she loved to give at the news.

You will ask: why this title? Why The Whole Town's Talking?

Because the centrality of the book is this one: the profound connection between dead people and people still alive, and their continuation in the after life at helping all of us still in life and their incredible chats at the cemetery Still Meadows while they are resting, following and gossiping about people alive. Any new arrival reason reason for ask for that person or the other one still in the town. Little centers are like this.
And so that's why this title: because if we include the dead ones a large number of people are chatting for sure! Dead and alive.

All the dead people of Elmwood Spring and I guess of all the other cemeteries of this world didn't  feel any pain, they could hear, if they didn't hear, or they hadn't heard at all during their life, seeing, feeling as if they would have been still perfect and intact. Of course they were. They were dead so pains, afflictions, physical problems over.


The place in which in fact slowly slowly all the protagonists of the book will end up, Still Meadows oh, was dreaming.

Beautiful view, it was wonderful to staying there, watching the stars, smelling the flowers, and at the same time trying to understand what was happening to the people, relatives, friends still alive.

It is hilarious and joyous trust me this After-Life parallel world able to help.

As the author remarks the place, the cemetery, lost its sparkle at the end when, focusing incredibly well in our most recent years, 2020, the memory of the past, forgotten, will bring less respect for holy places like a cemetery is and for people who made the history of that place.

As also in Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café the book closes adding that also Elmwood Spring, as Whistle Stop once all the initial settlers and the ones who made the History of that Place dead, ended its experience. Population moved mainly in biggest cities and no one interested to staying there anymore for a reason or another.

In Fried Green Tomatoes the reason was the rail station. At a certain point they suppressed that, and the town lost all the vivacity it had known.

I love the cover so badly!

Why buying this book? Why to present this book? You will find funny, moving, wise, positive, real, optimistic values.

Plus it can gives to you the positive meter of the life and the sense of a life well-spent, where death is not as scaring as it is often but a passage and where connections between the two dimensions more strong than what you can believe.

Try to ask at a certain crow ;-) ....

Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for this book!




Anna Maria Polidori


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