Welcome to the World, Baby Girl, by Fannie Flagg

Cover ImageFinished 6-7-10, rating 4/5, fiction, pub. 1998

His voice began to drift off.  The earth, baby…sometimes I think it’s just a holding pen for crackpots.  Who knows what planets have discarded us as factory rejects, unfit to live among more civilized planetary societies.  We may be living on the dark side of the moon and don’t know it.”

-The Court of Two Sisters chapter

Dena is a high-profile, on the rise network anchor who has the looks and smarts to have the world at her feet.  Only she has no real friends, is afraid to love and drinks herself into oblivion most nights.  The bright lights of New York City have always been her goal and now that she’s there she finds that she must do questionable gotcha interviews to stay on top.  It’s the 1970’s and the beginning of  tabloid journalism and even the icy, ambitious Dena has qualms about the tactics and the stress leads to a serious health issue that sidelines her in the small town of Elmwood Springs, Missouri.

Dena’s 1970’s story jumps back to the early days of Elmwood Springs and the people who that relate to Dena.  It’s a small town with nice, honest, and eccentric people.  When Dena finds herself convalescing there her heart begins to thaw just a little and she begins to question her childhood and the mystery surrounding her mother.  Dena also touches base with her best friend from college, Sookie, a loveable woman living in a small Georgia town.

Dena has so many flaws, but for some reason she is easy to like because you sense the goodness underneath all of the reserve.  Everyone seems to love her een though for most of the book she offers nothing back, how lucky is that?  The story itself is charming and rich, if a bit meandering at first.  I enjoyed the rose-colored glasses view of Elmwood Springs as the ideal dream and loved its juxtaposition with mean, heartless New York City.  Neither seemed particularly accurate, but it was a fun ride until the mystery involving Dena’s mother unraveled.  For me it seemed a bit anticlimactic.  Realistically, I know it could have happened but I was hoping for more.  It didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book, only left me with a less positive feeling than I’d felt the rest of the book.

I really liked my first Fannie Flagg book and its southern charm.

This is from my personal library and chosen by Debbie, Molly, and Sarah.  Here’s what they had to say…

“I love all of hers because of the great characters and the small town settings.”  Debbie

“A novel about a small-town filled with many interesting, quirky characters.”  Sarah

“She writes with great humor and I have a feeling you will want some good laughs after reading the rest of my choices. Plus, I have this book sitting in my to read pile and would love to have someone to read along with it ;0)”  Molly