Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Book Review: Standing in the Rainbow

Well since Standing in the Rainbow is partially responsible for the blog name, I think I'll start off with a book review of the book! Standing in the Rainbow is the second book by Fannie Flagg that takes place in Elmwood Springs, MO. It has many of the same characters that we meet in Welcome to the World Baby Girl and again in Can't Wait to Get to Heaven. I actually read Standing in the Rainbow first and it remains my favorite of the 3. (Although I love all of them!)

Standing in the Rainbow begins in the 1940s and continues through the year 2000. While it focuses on a handful of main characters there are dozens of supporting characters that intertwine their stories with one another and keep the story moving forward! With so many characters doing so many things you would think many of them would have to be one dimensional, but Flagg does an amazing job of fleshing out even the smallest character's personality. You have a sense, that given the time, she would be able to write an entire book about each person!

While the plot contains some pretty fantastic events you still feel like it could really happen to someone simply because the characters are so true to life. She is a master of starting a character out one way and chronicling their evolution into a completely different person! The way that the characters interact is hysterical and makes you wish that you lived in Elmwood Springs.

While my favorite characters are probably Norma Warren (because I'm a bit neurotic like her) and Aunt Elner (because I'm a little crazy like her), the character I would most like to meet is Neighbor Dorothy! I seriously hope that somewhere a woman like this exists and if she does I want to be her best friend! She's described as a pretty woman who is a bit overweight. Always cheery although she's had heartache in her life. One of the things I admire about her character is that instead of demanding help from everyone around her she gives help to those in need. I know that when I'm feeling down I have to get out and do something. I could pretty easily just sit around and feel sorry for myself for a long time but usually if I can put that energy into doing something constructive (instead of feeling sorry for myself) it works out much better for me and all involved. So Dorothy does her radio show, takes care of her children, sews, reads, rents out rooms, and cooks and bakes for the whole town! I just think I 'd have a ton of fun with her and I loved reading about her life! And I want to try her caramel cake!

The book also discusses the start of Gospel music. The Oatman family is an up and coming gospel group that Neighbor Dorothy meets at one of their performances. She winds up letting their daughter stay with her during another performance and eventually takes their daughter in when she is done performing with her family. She is a shy, quiet, petite girl who eventually meets a man in town and marries him. Her husband ends up becoming the governor and that story really takes over the plot from then on. I won't go into the rest of the details too much because it does have some pretty good bends and twists that kept me turning pages way past my bedtime, so I won't spoil it for you!

My favorite type of books are generational fiction books and this one takes on a big span of time! I love when you have plenty of time to get to know the characters and hear their stories out until the end! And while they all have their ups and downs they always get the ending they deserve! For the most part Flagg gives the good guys good endings and the bad guys bad endings and that is the way I like it! It makes for a fun read! And when I'm busy and worried about things a fun read is exactly what I want to pick up!

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