Sunday, July 13, 2008

Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! - Fannie Flagg

Title: Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!
Author: Fannie Flagg
Date Finished: July 9, 2008 #39
Pages: 467
Rating: 3/5

Dena Nordstrom is finally making it big in TV--she is being recognized for awards and is being offered jobs of a lifetime as journalist/anchorwoman. However, her life feels empty and as of late she has been suffering from panic attacks and stomach problems. When she is ordered to go to a psychiatrist for help handling her stress, she begins to take a deep look at her life and the source of her continual push for success at all costs.

Set mostly in the 1970s, with the exception of a few flashbacks, Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! is Dena's story of self-discovery but also of discoveries she makes about her mysterious past. Dena's father died while fighting in World War II before Dena was born and she and her mother moved around from town to town throughout her childhood as if they were running from something. Dena's mother, too, has passed away although Dena does not like to talk about the details and prefers to keep her life a secret--but could this be because Dena doesn't really know her past or her mother? When she begins to dig deeper into her life will she be prepared for the secrets she will uncover?

Along with Dena there is a cast of characters from a small town in Missouri where Dena's father was from. As Laura from Reading Reflections mentioned in her review of Can't Wait to Get to Heaven, the characters of Aunt Elner, Norma, and Macky were a lot of fun and very endearing. Relatives of Dena, they take her in when she is trying to hide from the present and trying to figure out her past. Also Dena's college roommate Sookie is a hoot--and through these characters I got the true Southern Lit feel that I was hoping for in the novel.

After reading and loving Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man last year, I had high expectations for this book that unfortunately weren't met. Overall the writing is pleasant and the story was interesting, but the big surprise at the end was totally out of the blue taking me on a tangent that just didn't seem to fit with the rest of the story. Also, there is a sort-of love story ends up working out perfectly with little development. And the book spans about five years, but the only way the reader would know this is by reading the chapter headers--again the development of the novel doesn't quite fit the time span. All that being said, I'm glad that I read it and hope the next Flagg book I read is more like Daisy Fay in all of its wonderful, sassy quirkiness.

14 comments:

Dar said...

Thanks for the review Trish. It's always nice to know which books don't quite meet up to expectations. I've only read one of hers-Redbird Christmas which I loved and had wanted to read more. I'm going to make that Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man after your comments on it.

Joyce said...

I love Fannie Flagg, I read this book several years ago, and I really liked it. I have read several of her books, but have not read Daisy May and the Miracle Man yet.

If you like the characters Aunt Elner, Norma and Macky Characters, I think you really like "Standing in a Rainbow" and "Can't Wait to get to Heaven", whick I liked better than "Welcome to the World.." and don't forget to read "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe"- It was better than the movie, but they usually are.

Nicola said...

Thanks for the review. This one is going to be my next Fannie Flagg book too. So far I've only read Fried Green Tomatoes, which was fab.u.lous!

Corinne said...

So, I gave you a little award
:)

Literary Feline said...

I have only read one book by this author, Fried Green Tomatoes, which I really liked. I keep meaning to read more by her. I'm sorry this didn't quite live up to your expectations. I will have to add Daisy May and Miracle Man to my wish list. Thanks!

Trish said...

*Dar - I think with any author that has published a lot of books there will be one that just won't be as good--and hopefully this is it. I still liked it! I just didn't close the book thinking it was great. Daisy Fay is great, though (I thought anyway!).

*Joyce - I read Fried Green Tomatoes so long ago that I can barely remember it! I'll have to revisit it one day and keep my eye out for the others. I think part of the reason why this book didn't do it for me like the others is because it was set mostly in NY--I think Flagg does best with her southern characters.

*Nicola - I'd really recommed Daisy Fay--a really delightful read. By the way, for the past couple of months when I click on your profile your blog isn't there!! I've been trying to find you and just noticed today that your blog is appearing today. If you didn't do this on purpose it might be something for you to check out...

*Corinne - THANK YOU!! That makes my entire day. :)

*Lit Feline - I really liked Daisy Fay. It is a little ridiculous but who doesn't need/want that every once in a while?

Laura said...

I think I had similar overall feelings to the Flagg book I read (thanks for the shout-out, btw! :) ). It's funny because Norma had anxiety/panic attacks in Can't Wait...I wonder if there is a reason for 2 main female characters to have similar issues?

____Maggie said...

Huh? If you didn't really enjoy this one, should you read another southern book?!? I want you to finish on a high note! :D

Stephanie said...

I read this one a few years ago. I too was totally thrown by the twist in the end. Definitely not what I was expecting, or anything that I'd even thought of, but it's an interesting peek into a part of the past I didn't know much about.

Trish said...

*Laura - Ha ha, I'm not surprised that Norma has a panic attack--she is very very tightly wound in this book and always thinking the worst and overreacting to thinks. :) I'm actually really surprised that the main character of this book, Dena, isn't in Can't Wait. Reading this one makes me really interested in finding out more about the lives of Elner, Norma, and Macky.

*Maggie - I'll always love Southern Literature--but to be fair this was only "half" southern lit as it mostly takes place in New York. Thanks for hosting a great challenge!!

*Stephanie - I did find the story about Dena's mother really interesting especially because I haven't heard a whole lot about "passing". But it was sudden! :)

Laura said...

Way to go on finishing yet ANOTHER challenge!

Trish said...

*Laura - I secretly removed another book from a few of my challenges that I know I just can't read so I have two finished. :) I like these short ones!!

Jeanette said...

I have read Fried Green Tomato but none of Fannie Flagg's other books. I keep thinking about it but never do. One of these days...

Trish said...

*Jeanette - I'd recommend Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man--its a lot of fun!