Standing in the Rainbow PDF/EPUB ë Standing in

Standing in the Rainbow PDF/EPUB ë Standing in


10 thoughts on “Standing in the Rainbow (Elmwood Springs, #2)

  1. Wade WDM Wade WDM says:

    You know, sometimes I just need a book that is not going to scare me, get my hackles raised, or make me sad and depressed. This is the perfect book to cleanse the soul after reading some heavy books. I had been reading The Alienist and Wicked, but I found myself feeling so heavy and sad. So I put the books down and went to find something light and airy.

    I love this book. It's sweet. It's a throwback to times when neighbors actually knew each other and liked each other. It's a feel good book with many, many characters. No one is alike. So there is a story line for everyone. And it's wonderful. It really made me wish that our society would slip back into that way of life. When things were a bit slower, but more appreciated. When we weren't so worried about how people looked at us that we ignored our neighbors. I don't know any of my neighbors. I live in an apartment and there are seven other families living in my building and I have no idea who any of them are.

    The book is cozy and will take a load off your mind or your heart. But don't think it's boring because there is a bit of mystery throw in.

    This is one of my favorite books.


  2. Rachel M Rachel M says:

    I felt such a sense of nostalgia when I read this book, for a place and time I never experienced. It's the same feeling I get when I watch A Christmas Story or It's a Wonderful Life.
    When you're little and you get sick, you always know there's a place for you on Mom's lap - there is a comfort in knowing that you will be taken care of.
    I never experienced the 40s and 50s, but I sense from that time that the same secure feeling existed - a confidence in the greatness of America, and its ability to survive and thrive because of its wholesome values.
    Growing up in the 80s and 90s,I was educated from a sense of disillusionment about this earlier time and about that mentality. Now, we tend to villainize the ignorance and the arrogance of the upper white middle class, that innate sense of American superiority, because of the gaping hypocrisies and all that it left neglected. We note, for instance, that America had internment camps at the same time that we were taking Germany to task about concentration camps.
    This pursuit of debunking the popular myth of the wholesome, pure quality of the 40s and 50s isn't without foundation. But I found myself on board with Fannie Flagg's message - there was something special about the 40s and 50s, and the attitude of believing good things of America; there was something good about that time that we discarded somewhere.
    Today's generation has followed the Cold War, Vietnam protests, the Monica Lewinsky scandal... and I think the sense of skepticism that has caused us to take the 40s and 50s to task is the same attitude that shapes the way we look at our country now, and at the government. Without hope. Without faith.
    The 40s and 50s may have done a lot of things wrong, but I can't stop myself from being nostalgic - just for the hope. This was the time that engendered so many of the hallmarks of American tradition - baseball, apple pie, small town life, white Christmases. I am glad that Flagg wrote about some of these things.


  3. Ron Charles Ron Charles says:

    Fannie Flagg, the queen of fried green tomatoes and small town farce, comes on like a thunder storm of sentimental humor. You can run for cover under the awning of Great Literature, you can put up an umbrella of sophisticated disdain, but it's no use: Once you're caught in this warm downpour of kitschy comedy, you quickly give in and start singing in the rain.

    Her latest novel, Standing in the Rainbow, opens with a statement To the Public at Large from old Mrs. Tot Whooten, the ridiculously untalented hairdresser of Elmwood Springs, Mo. As a character in this book, she says, à la Huck Finn, I can tell you that everything in it really did happen, so I can highly recommend it without any qualms whatsoever.

    But it may be that Mrs. Whooten is no more reliable as a critic than she is as a beautician. I like a book with a beginning, a middle, and an end, she tells us, and hopefully a plot and a few laughs in between. By that perfectly reasonable standard, there are some bad hair days in Standing in the Rainbow.

    Not that you could ask for a better beginning -- or more laughs. Indeed, the first 200 pages of this overlong novel are wonderful, a charming comedy about Bobby Smith, the archetypal 10-year-old boy. He's a mischievous little scamp with a heart of gold and a frog in his pocket.

    His world -- a few miles of farmland, the neighbors' yards, and a block of stores -- is a universe of adventure and wonder. Bobby even felt sorry for anyone who was not lucky enough to have been born here.

    Indeed, this is the best of all possible worlds. America had just won World War II, thanks in no small part to Bobby's efforts to recycle rubber and scrap paper. There are only two problems in his life: (1) An irrepressible grin that makes teachers suspect he's always up to something and (2) parents so well known in town that somebody immediately tells on him the minute he does anything wrong.

    His father, a paragon of good will and responsibility, is the town pharmacist, and his mother is affectionately known throughout the Midwest as Neighbor Dorothy. Her radio show, broadcast every morning from their living room, provides millions of housewives with a little family chat, a few recipes, organ music by Mother Smith, and a feeling of connection and trust that today's advertisers would kill for. (Even President Truman sends Dorothy's dog a birthday card.)

    Her broadcasts, recounted here in high-fidelity wit, draw a constant stream of celebrity guests, from the Little Blind Songbird to the wildly dysfunctional Oatman Gospel Family. Only Flagg could carry off this parody of revivalist faith-healing Christians -- complete with a ventriloquist dummy -- without sounding derisive.

    Off the air, we follow Bobby's antics (particularly the annual bubble-gum blowing contest), his pretty sister's hysterics over some boy (or her mother's confidential remarks about her love life to millions of listeners), and a town full of comically strange characters who wouldn't be rude to one another if their lives depended on it.

    This ain't no Winesburg, Ohio. These scoops of Elmwood Springs go down like peach ice cream -- almost too sweet but undeniably delicious. Flagg is one of those authors who doesn't worry about creating great significance, but then ends up doing so anyhow.

    The characters in Standing in the Rainbow are so wholly free of self-pity and esoteric angst that if they made contact with a typical piece of New York literary fiction, they would explode in a burst of strawberry-rhubarb pie.

    Death is not frequent in this little town, but it comes, and not always as expected. Sometimes a healthy child fades in the middle of the night, while a sick old lady lives many decades more. Still, if there's any sadness in this book, it's not the periodic passing of a loved one, it's the lingering sense that the values in this town have passed away and left us in a climate awash with commercialism, self-absorption, and cynicism.

    Indeed, change is hard on a small town, and it's particularly hard on this novel. As the 1940s wane and we move into the '50s, the narrative veers away from Bobby and his family and picks up the story of Hamm Sparks, an ambitious tractor salesman.

    Hamm is a perfectly wonderful side character, but when he steals the novel's focus and drags the plot to the Missouri State House, it's like watching Kramer try to spin off from Seinfeld. There's just not enough there beneath the antics. Flagg knows Dorothy's kitchen down to the last doily and can of tomatoes, but her creation of the governor's office seems laughably -- though not comically -- fake.

    Unfortunately, this detour lasts for almost 200 pages that never seem like anything more than a distraction. Her previous novel, the bestselling Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! maintained a much better focus. Yet, even though other things in the world may have changed, Flagg assures us, the 'Neighbor Dorothy' show remained the same. And indeed, it's a great relief when we finally get back to Elmwood Springs, if only to see how it all winds down.

    Beneath the sentimentality, there's a real celebration of life here, an affirmation that success and happiness are the results of simple kindness, gratitude, and courage. If some long storms rumble through this novel, fans probably won't mind. There's still a rainbow arching right over it, and it's something to see.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0808/p1...


  4. Donna Donna says:


    This is my 3rd Fannie Flagg book. I've readFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion. I enjoyed the humor in those and she knows how to create endearing characters. This book also had some very memorable characters that were well drawn. I love that.

    This one started off strong. It reminded me of reading old-time newspapers from doing genealogy research. Crazy personal stories appeared in the local newspapers. In some ways, this book sounded like a collection of those kinds of stories and they were stitched together in these pages. I did enjoy reading the personal type of quirkiness of the characters. However, I think this book was too long because it seemed like so much of the same. The stories started looking like rambling and towards the end, I kept wondering when it was going to end. So three stars.


  5. Danielle Danielle says:

    This is my first Fannie Flagg book, but it won't be my last. I really enjoyed this book. Reading it was like talking to my 86 year old Nanie on a Sunday afternoon. You could be talking about the neighbor's dogs with her one minute and the tone never changes when you switch and talk about a relative with a serious illness. Then you are back discussing the high price of tomatoes, all in a five minute conversation. I got caught up on the comings and goings of the novel's small community, just like I do with my Nanie's updates.

    I was so sad when the book ended. Not because anything was left unfinished, but because I miss the characters. I really grew to care about them. I long to live in their community. Okay, I'll just come out and admit it. I want to BE Neighbor Dorothy.

    I thought the beginning was a little slow, but now that I have finished, I wouldn't change the beginning. It pace was vital to the success of the novel.


  6. Debbie Zapata Debbie Zapata says:

    This book was wonderful and would have earned five stars except that at one point it stopped being so wonderful and slid to just good. Note to Self: If you ever manage to begin writing stories like you have threatened to do for years, never allow a somewhat minor character to take over the story and change its tone. Especially if said character is in politics and might remind your audience of too many things in real life that they are trying to escape from for a few hours.

    So like I said, this book is wonderful for quite awhile. We get to visit the Missouri town of Elmwood Springs and listen to Neighbor Dorothy and her radio show, which she manages to get on the air every day at 930 even with real life buzzing all around. Her son Bobby is a typical boy of ten, up to no good most of the time (loved the worm stunt on Senior Prom night, and I'm glad I was not Bobby's older sister!). Dorothy's husband is the town pharmacist, her boarder Jimmy survived the Pearl Harbor attack and runs the local diner. A not-very-talented beautician who has more than her share of family weirdness to deal with, and a series of orange cats named Sonny also feature here.

    Great characters, easy reading, and a nice clean story. Until the politics arrive. I kept wondering when the focus would shift back to where it one had been, and I was glad to see what finally happened to the politician. He reminded me way too much of someone I would rather not think about more than I absolutely have to.

    But by the time we return, things had changed in Elmwood Springs: our little circle had grown up and moved on. Well, that happens everywhere. The cute kid on the weekly tv show begins to grow up and isn't so cute anymore, and the show is never the same after that, is it. I've read a couple other Flagg titles, but I don't remember the same type of detour in those. The final third of this book seemed to lose its grip by the end, something else I don't remember from my other Flagg reading. But it was still a nice way to spend some time.

    And something I noticed, maybe because of the time of year just now, but in the book the town gets decorated for Christmas on December 21st, when Dorothy and her family go down to pick out their tree and then wander the length of the downtown block (there was only one) and look at the decorations. Bobby felt the town had all changed overnight. How refreshing to visit a time when Christmas season apparently did not start right after Halloween.

    One reason this made an impact on me was that I had to go to WalMart on the 27th to pick up a prescription for my Mom. It wasn't quite ready so I made a lap through the store just for the exercise. And in the aisle where the Christmas candy had been, the shelves were full of boxes of Valentine's Day chocolates. Two days after Christmas. I don't remember such crassness when I was Bobby's age. Maybe I just didn't notice back then, but I've noticed it for years now and it is disgusting.

    Well, sorry for the side trip here. I'm not paying much attention to my Note To Self, am I?! Back to the point: good story most of the time; great people nearly all of the time; laughter, comfort and coziness almost from cover to cover. I would visit Elmwood Springs again, and the next time I get to the library, I plan to look for at least one of the other two books Flagg wrote about the town.


  7. Julie Paugh Julie Paugh says:

    I'm sorry, but this book was just 'okay' for me. While it shared the same tone and humor as Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe it lacked the heart and soul. Like FGTATWSC, it chronicles the lives of a family and community of a small town; it begins in the 1940's and extends into the '90's. My biggest problem with this book is that there was no story to it. It was entertaining most of the way through and felt fun to visit the characters like they were my own friends and family but it was all very shallow. And this book certainly made me yearn for a time period I never knew myself. Flagg does Americana very well, I will certainly hand her that much. My second problem with the book was that the characters were all pretty bland. Even Neighbor Dorothy who was like the glue that touched them all...well, let's just say she was no Idgie. And some of the characters (Hamm and Norma) I found just out-and-out annoying. I might have liked the book better, had the focus been more on Bobby who was the most interesting character and a central character in the early years. But Bobby was just shuffled to the side when he became an adult and the tiny bit of plot focused on Betty Raye and Hamm's political careers (for me this was a big yawn)

    Don't get me completely wrong, there is an entertainment factor here and I see that a lot of reviewers rated this much higher than I did...I did enjoy about 65% of this book. I was just hoping to find a story that was as rich and textured, poignant and humorous and as real as Fried Green Tomatoes... but this fell disappointingly short of the mark.


  8. Elizabeth Elizabeth says:

    This is what they'd call a homespun yarn. Following this yarn was like being led through a very long, very pointless labyrinth. And not an interesting labyrinth, but a plain beige labyrinth in which you go snow blind from the featurelessness of it all. And in the monotony of the labyrinth, somewhere, the hair prickling up your neck, you realise with mounting dread, there are REPUBLICANS!

    The whole book is the most chronic piece of self-idyll-mythologising bullshit you ever read. The twee white bread American small town it claims to depict is about as real as the Disney It's A Small World After All ride. Jesus, it makes me long for the gritty cynicism of The Waltons.

    And you do wanna go, Where are all the Blacks? Where are all the Jews? While you're out here mythologising a bygone time that bears fuck-all resemblance to the world at large. Seriously, there a billion boring-ass characters we are introduced to and given their life-story in achingly minute detail. Not one black person. In fact the only black person even mentioned is Huey P. Newton of the Black Panther Party who is classed outright as a traitor. This is a book which encompasses from the 1940s up to the 1980s. Black people make up 10% of the state's population. One guy. He's a traitor. That's all it has to say.

    It's basically a genre of Aryan twee. Propaganda doesn't even begin to cover it. The sympathetic, homespun, charming, down-to-earth, tell-it-like-it-is character who goes into politics suggests during the 60s that they ought to nuke the gooks. This reasonable suggestion is met with downright rudeness by peace protestors who have the gall, get this, to ACTUALLY PROTEST one of his speeches. The rudeness of shouting over a man who's speaking is cast as a grave sin against the reasonable message he's trying to convey, namely the atomic incineration of men, women and children whom the government has chosen to dislike.

    Honestly, I would rather take an ice cream scoop to my own brain than read one more word of this book. Shoot yourself if you ever feel tempted.


  9. Linda Linda says:

    This was kind of a strange book. It didn't really have a plot but was more a series of anecdotes about a bunch of people. I also didn't realize until I had finished it that it was a prequel (though written after) another of her books.

    The characters were all appropriately quirky and most of the stories about them were interesting but as the book progressed I felt like I was lacking any real connection to any of them. So, while I enjoyed it, I can't say I loved it (and I generally like Flagg's books a lot).


  10. Martha Martha says:

    love Fannie Flagg. There are just no two ways about it. She could write her shopping list and I would read it. She writes about people I want to know and places I want to live. Her worlds are the way we want to the world to be, the world we think of when we think back nostalgically to “the way it used to be”.

    I read Standing in the Rainbow when it first came out and, of course, loved it. Then awhile back I was clicking through my libraries list of downloadable audio books and saw it listed and thought it was time to reread this wonderful story. Now, I’m just starting to really get into audio books. To be honest I used to think it was kind of cheating to listen to a book rather than read it. I was wrong and a snob and I’ve changed my evil ways because I’ve loved listening to audio books.

    I think what stands out for me the most with this particular Fannie Flagg story getting to see the passage of time and how Elmwood Springs and all it’s inhabitants change, yet stay the same. We follow the Smith family and all their friends and loved one from just after the end of WWII all the way through the new millennium. What I truly loved was how as much as the world changed the fundamental truths of love and family and friends stayed the same.

    What I had forgotten from the first time I read Standing in the Rainbow was just how many stories were told in this story. I remembered Neighbor Dorothy and her wonderful radio show. I remembered several stories of the residents of Elmwood Springs, the Goodnight Sisters and their adventures during and after the war, Beatrice-the little blind songbird and her longing to travel, and Dorothy’s children Bobby and Anna Lee and the trials and tribulations of their growing up. But, I had forgotten about the Oatman Family Singers and wonderful Minnie Oatman. I had forgotten about that Betty Raye Oatman came to stay with the Smiths and how that was to change her life forever. I had forgotten Hamm Sparks (I don’t know how I could have forgotten a name like that) going from tractor salesman to Governor of Missouri and the wonderful Cecil Figgs and the unexpected turn of events that gave him a whole new life. There is a heck of a lot of story in this book.

    This audio version was read my Kate Reading and she did a bang up job. There were a lot, and I mean a lot, of characters in this book. And almost all had dialog. Somehow she made them all very distinct and recognizable. I knew who was talking throughout the whole book. I’m in awe of the work these readers do. I listened to this every evening when I would go out to walk and I would get excited about the idea of listening the same way I did when I was little and knew my mom was coming to read me a story. It really is wonderful having someone read you a story when you’re all grown up. I don’t know what I was thinking poo-pooing audio books; I’m now an official fan.

    Oh, and when you hear the story that gives the book it’s title you will totally want to stand in a rainbow.


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Standing in the Rainbow (Elmwood Springs, #2) ❮BOOKS❯ ✹ Standing in the Rainbow (Elmwood Springs, #2) ✯ Author Fannie Flagg – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk Along with Neighbor Dorothy, the lady with the smile in her voice, whose daily radio broadcasts keep us delightfully informed on all the local news, we also meet Bobby, her tenyearold son, destined to Along with Neighbor Dorothy, the lady with the smile in her voice, whose daily radio broadcasts keep us delightfully informed on all the local news, we also meet Bobby, her tenyearold son, destined to live a thousand lives, most of them in his imagination; Norma and Standing in PDF/EPUB ² Macky Warren and their ninetyeightyearold Aunt Elner; the oddly sexy and charismatic Hamm Sparks and the two women who love him as differently as night and day Then there is Tot Whooten; Beatrice Woods, the Little Blind Songbird; Cecil Figgs, the Funeral King; and the fabulous Minnie Oatman The time isuntil the present The town is Elmwood Springs, Missouri, right in the middle of the country, in the midst of the mostly joyous transition from war to peace, aiming toward a dizzyingly bright future.

  • Paperback
  • 560 pages
  • Standing in the Rainbow (Elmwood Springs, #2)
  • Fannie Flagg
  • English
  • 03 May 2018
  • 9780345452887

About the Author: Fannie Flagg

Fannie Flagg began writing and producing television specials at age nineteen and went on to distinguish herself as an actress and writer in television, films, and the theater She is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man, Fried Green Standing in PDF/EPUB ² Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe which was produced by Universal Pictures as Fried Green Tomatoes, Welcome to the World, Bab.


10 thoughts on “Standing in the Rainbow (Elmwood Springs, #2)

  1. Wade WDM Wade WDM says:

    You know, sometimes I just need a book that is not going to scare me, get my hackles raised, or make me sad and depressed. This is the perfect book to cleanse the soul after reading some heavy books. I had been reading The Alienist and Wicked, but I found myself feeling so heavy and sad. So I put the books down and went to find something light and airy.

    I love this book. It's sweet. It's a throwback to times when neighbors actually knew each other and liked each other. It's a feel good book with many, many characters. No one is alike. So there is a story line for everyone. And it's wonderful. It really made me wish that our society would slip back into that way of life. When things were a bit slower, but more appreciated. When we weren't so worried about how people looked at us that we ignored our neighbors. I don't know any of my neighbors. I live in an apartment and there are seven other families living in my building and I have no idea who any of them are.

    The book is cozy and will take a load off your mind or your heart. But don't think it's boring because there is a bit of mystery throw in.

    This is one of my favorite books.

  2. Rachel M Rachel M says:

    I felt such a sense of nostalgia when I read this book, for a place and time I never experienced. It's the same feeling I get when I watch A Christmas Story or It's a Wonderful Life.
    When you're little and you get sick, you always know there's a place for you on Mom's lap - there is a comfort in knowing that you will be taken care of.
    I never experienced the 40s and 50s, but I sense from that time that the same secure feeling existed - a confidence in the greatness of America, and its ability to survive and thrive because of its wholesome values.
    Growing up in the 80s and 90s,I was educated from a sense of disillusionment about this earlier time and about that mentality. Now, we tend to villainize the ignorance and the arrogance of the upper white middle class, that innate sense of American superiority, because of the gaping hypocrisies and all that it left neglected. We note, for instance, that America had internment camps at the same time that we were taking Germany to task about concentration camps.
    This pursuit of debunking the popular myth of the wholesome, pure quality of the 40s and 50s isn't without foundation. But I found myself on board with Fannie Flagg's message - there was something special about the 40s and 50s, and the attitude of believing good things of America; there was something good about that time that we discarded somewhere.
    Today's generation has followed the Cold War, Vietnam protests, the Monica Lewinsky scandal... and I think the sense of skepticism that has caused us to take the 40s and 50s to task is the same attitude that shapes the way we look at our country now, and at the government. Without hope. Without faith.
    The 40s and 50s may have done a lot of things wrong, but I can't stop myself from being nostalgic - just for the hope. This was the time that engendered so many of the hallmarks of American tradition - baseball, apple pie, small town life, white Christmases. I am glad that Flagg wrote about some of these things.

  3. Ron Charles Ron Charles says:

    Fannie Flagg, the queen of fried green tomatoes and small town farce, comes on like a thunder storm of sentimental humor. You can run for cover under the awning of Great Literature, you can put up an umbrella of sophisticated disdain, but it's no use: Once you're caught in this warm downpour of kitschy comedy, you quickly give in and start singing in the rain.

    Her latest novel, Standing in the Rainbow, opens with a statement To the Public at Large from old Mrs. Tot Whooten, the ridiculously untalented hairdresser of Elmwood Springs, Mo. As a character in this book, she says, à la Huck Finn, I can tell you that everything in it really did happen, so I can highly recommend it without any qualms whatsoever.

    But it may be that Mrs. Whooten is no more reliable as a critic than she is as a beautician. I like a book with a beginning, a middle, and an end, she tells us, and hopefully a plot and a few laughs in between. By that perfectly reasonable standard, there are some bad hair days in Standing in the Rainbow.

    Not that you could ask for a better beginning -- or more laughs. Indeed, the first 200 pages of this overlong novel are wonderful, a charming comedy about Bobby Smith, the archetypal 10-year-old boy. He's a mischievous little scamp with a heart of gold and a frog in his pocket.

    His world -- a few miles of farmland, the neighbors' yards, and a block of stores -- is a universe of adventure and wonder. Bobby even felt sorry for anyone who was not lucky enough to have been born here.

    Indeed, this is the best of all possible worlds. America had just won World War II, thanks in no small part to Bobby's efforts to recycle rubber and scrap paper. There are only two problems in his life: (1) An irrepressible grin that makes teachers suspect he's always up to something and (2) parents so well known in town that somebody immediately tells on him the minute he does anything wrong.

    His father, a paragon of good will and responsibility, is the town pharmacist, and his mother is affectionately known throughout the Midwest as Neighbor Dorothy. Her radio show, broadcast every morning from their living room, provides millions of housewives with a little family chat, a few recipes, organ music by Mother Smith, and a feeling of connection and trust that today's advertisers would kill for. (Even President Truman sends Dorothy's dog a birthday card.)

    Her broadcasts, recounted here in high-fidelity wit, draw a constant stream of celebrity guests, from the Little Blind Songbird to the wildly dysfunctional Oatman Gospel Family. Only Flagg could carry off this parody of revivalist faith-healing Christians -- complete with a ventriloquist dummy -- without sounding derisive.

    Off the air, we follow Bobby's antics (particularly the annual bubble-gum blowing contest), his pretty sister's hysterics over some boy (or her mother's confidential remarks about her love life to millions of listeners), and a town full of comically strange characters who wouldn't be rude to one another if their lives depended on it.

    This ain't no Winesburg, Ohio. These scoops of Elmwood Springs go down like peach ice cream -- almost too sweet but undeniably delicious. Flagg is one of those authors who doesn't worry about creating great significance, but then ends up doing so anyhow.

    The characters in Standing in the Rainbow are so wholly free of self-pity and esoteric angst that if they made contact with a typical piece of New York literary fiction, they would explode in a burst of strawberry-rhubarb pie.

    Death is not frequent in this little town, but it comes, and not always as expected. Sometimes a healthy child fades in the middle of the night, while a sick old lady lives many decades more. Still, if there's any sadness in this book, it's not the periodic passing of a loved one, it's the lingering sense that the values in this town have passed away and left us in a climate awash with commercialism, self-absorption, and cynicism.

    Indeed, change is hard on a small town, and it's particularly hard on this novel. As the 1940s wane and we move into the '50s, the narrative veers away from Bobby and his family and picks up the story of Hamm Sparks, an ambitious tractor salesman.

    Hamm is a perfectly wonderful side character, but when he steals the novel's focus and drags the plot to the Missouri State House, it's like watching Kramer try to spin off from Seinfeld. There's just not enough there beneath the antics. Flagg knows Dorothy's kitchen down to the last doily and can of tomatoes, but her creation of the governor's office seems laughably -- though not comically -- fake.

    Unfortunately, this detour lasts for almost 200 pages that never seem like anything more than a distraction. Her previous novel, the bestselling Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! maintained a much better focus. Yet, even though other things in the world may have changed, Flagg assures us, the 'Neighbor Dorothy' show remained the same. And indeed, it's a great relief when we finally get back to Elmwood Springs, if only to see how it all winds down.

    Beneath the sentimentality, there's a real celebration of life here, an affirmation that success and happiness are the results of simple kindness, gratitude, and courage. If some long storms rumble through this novel, fans probably won't mind. There's still a rainbow arching right over it, and it's something to see.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0808/p1...

  4. Donna Donna says:


    This is my 3rd Fannie Flagg book. I've readFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion. I enjoyed the humor in those and she knows how to create endearing characters. This book also had some very memorable characters that were well drawn. I love that.

    This one started off strong. It reminded me of reading old-time newspapers from doing genealogy research. Crazy personal stories appeared in the local newspapers. In some ways, this book sounded like a collection of those kinds of stories and they were stitched together in these pages. I did enjoy reading the personal type of quirkiness of the characters. However, I think this book was too long because it seemed like so much of the same. The stories started looking like rambling and towards the end, I kept wondering when it was going to end. So three stars.

  5. Danielle Danielle says:

    This is my first Fannie Flagg book, but it won't be my last. I really enjoyed this book. Reading it was like talking to my 86 year old Nanie on a Sunday afternoon. You could be talking about the neighbor's dogs with her one minute and the tone never changes when you switch and talk about a relative with a serious illness. Then you are back discussing the high price of tomatoes, all in a five minute conversation. I got caught up on the comings and goings of the novel's small community, just like I do with my Nanie's updates.

    I was so sad when the book ended. Not because anything was left unfinished, but because I miss the characters. I really grew to care about them. I long to live in their community. Okay, I'll just come out and admit it. I want to BE Neighbor Dorothy.

    I thought the beginning was a little slow, but now that I have finished, I wouldn't change the beginning. It pace was vital to the success of the novel.

  6. Debbie Zapata Debbie Zapata says:

    This book was wonderful and would have earned five stars except that at one point it stopped being so wonderful and slid to just good. Note to Self: If you ever manage to begin writing stories like you have threatened to do for years, never allow a somewhat minor character to take over the story and change its tone. Especially if said character is in politics and might remind your audience of too many things in real life that they are trying to escape from for a few hours.

    So like I said, this book is wonderful for quite awhile. We get to visit the Missouri town of Elmwood Springs and listen to Neighbor Dorothy and her radio show, which she manages to get on the air every day at 930 even with real life buzzing all around. Her son Bobby is a typical boy of ten, up to no good most of the time (loved the worm stunt on Senior Prom night, and I'm glad I was not Bobby's older sister!). Dorothy's husband is the town pharmacist, her boarder Jimmy survived the Pearl Harbor attack and runs the local diner. A not-very-talented beautician who has more than her share of family weirdness to deal with, and a series of orange cats named Sonny also feature here.

    Great characters, easy reading, and a nice clean story. Until the politics arrive. I kept wondering when the focus would shift back to where it one had been, and I was glad to see what finally happened to the politician. He reminded me way too much of someone I would rather not think about more than I absolutely have to.

    But by the time we return, things had changed in Elmwood Springs: our little circle had grown up and moved on. Well, that happens everywhere. The cute kid on the weekly tv show begins to grow up and isn't so cute anymore, and the show is never the same after that, is it. I've read a couple other Flagg titles, but I don't remember the same type of detour in those. The final third of this book seemed to lose its grip by the end, something else I don't remember from my other Flagg reading. But it was still a nice way to spend some time.

    And something I noticed, maybe because of the time of year just now, but in the book the town gets decorated for Christmas on December 21st, when Dorothy and her family go down to pick out their tree and then wander the length of the downtown block (there was only one) and look at the decorations. Bobby felt the town had all changed overnight. How refreshing to visit a time when Christmas season apparently did not start right after Halloween.

    One reason this made an impact on me was that I had to go to WalMart on the 27th to pick up a prescription for my Mom. It wasn't quite ready so I made a lap through the store just for the exercise. And in the aisle where the Christmas candy had been, the shelves were full of boxes of Valentine's Day chocolates. Two days after Christmas. I don't remember such crassness when I was Bobby's age. Maybe I just didn't notice back then, but I've noticed it for years now and it is disgusting.

    Well, sorry for the side trip here. I'm not paying much attention to my Note To Self, am I?! Back to the point: good story most of the time; great people nearly all of the time; laughter, comfort and coziness almost from cover to cover. I would visit Elmwood Springs again, and the next time I get to the library, I plan to look for at least one of the other two books Flagg wrote about the town.

  7. Julie Paugh Julie Paugh says:

    I'm sorry, but this book was just 'okay' for me. While it shared the same tone and humor as Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe it lacked the heart and soul. Like FGTATWSC, it chronicles the lives of a family and community of a small town; it begins in the 1940's and extends into the '90's. My biggest problem with this book is that there was no story to it. It was entertaining most of the way through and felt fun to visit the characters like they were my own friends and family but it was all very shallow. And this book certainly made me yearn for a time period I never knew myself. Flagg does Americana very well, I will certainly hand her that much. My second problem with the book was that the characters were all pretty bland. Even Neighbor Dorothy who was like the glue that touched them all...well, let's just say she was no Idgie. And some of the characters (Hamm and Norma) I found just out-and-out annoying. I might have liked the book better, had the focus been more on Bobby who was the most interesting character and a central character in the early years. But Bobby was just shuffled to the side when he became an adult and the tiny bit of plot focused on Betty Raye and Hamm's political careers (for me this was a big yawn)

    Don't get me completely wrong, there is an entertainment factor here and I see that a lot of reviewers rated this much higher than I did...I did enjoy about 65% of this book. I was just hoping to find a story that was as rich and textured, poignant and humorous and as real as Fried Green Tomatoes... but this fell disappointingly short of the mark.

  8. Elizabeth Elizabeth says:

    This is what they'd call a homespun yarn. Following this yarn was like being led through a very long, very pointless labyrinth. And not an interesting labyrinth, but a plain beige labyrinth in which you go snow blind from the featurelessness of it all. And in the monotony of the labyrinth, somewhere, the hair prickling up your neck, you realise with mounting dread, there are REPUBLICANS!

    The whole book is the most chronic piece of self-idyll-mythologising bullshit you ever read. The twee white bread American small town it claims to depict is about as real as the Disney It's A Small World After All ride. Jesus, it makes me long for the gritty cynicism of The Waltons.

    And you do wanna go, Where are all the Blacks? Where are all the Jews? While you're out here mythologising a bygone time that bears fuck-all resemblance to the world at large. Seriously, there a billion boring-ass characters we are introduced to and given their life-story in achingly minute detail. Not one black person. In fact the only black person even mentioned is Huey P. Newton of the Black Panther Party who is classed outright as a traitor. This is a book which encompasses from the 1940s up to the 1980s. Black people make up 10% of the state's population. One guy. He's a traitor. That's all it has to say.

    It's basically a genre of Aryan twee. Propaganda doesn't even begin to cover it. The sympathetic, homespun, charming, down-to-earth, tell-it-like-it-is character who goes into politics suggests during the 60s that they ought to nuke the gooks. This reasonable suggestion is met with downright rudeness by peace protestors who have the gall, get this, to ACTUALLY PROTEST one of his speeches. The rudeness of shouting over a man who's speaking is cast as a grave sin against the reasonable message he's trying to convey, namely the atomic incineration of men, women and children whom the government has chosen to dislike.

    Honestly, I would rather take an ice cream scoop to my own brain than read one more word of this book. Shoot yourself if you ever feel tempted.

  9. Linda Linda says:

    This was kind of a strange book. It didn't really have a plot but was more a series of anecdotes about a bunch of people. I also didn't realize until I had finished it that it was a prequel (though written after) another of her books.

    The characters were all appropriately quirky and most of the stories about them were interesting but as the book progressed I felt like I was lacking any real connection to any of them. So, while I enjoyed it, I can't say I loved it (and I generally like Flagg's books a lot).

  10. Martha Martha says:

    love Fannie Flagg. There are just no two ways about it. She could write her shopping list and I would read it. She writes about people I want to know and places I want to live. Her worlds are the way we want to the world to be, the world we think of when we think back nostalgically to “the way it used to be”.

    I read Standing in the Rainbow when it first came out and, of course, loved it. Then awhile back I was clicking through my libraries list of downloadable audio books and saw it listed and thought it was time to reread this wonderful story. Now, I’m just starting to really get into audio books. To be honest I used to think it was kind of cheating to listen to a book rather than read it. I was wrong and a snob and I’ve changed my evil ways because I’ve loved listening to audio books.

    I think what stands out for me the most with this particular Fannie Flagg story getting to see the passage of time and how Elmwood Springs and all it’s inhabitants change, yet stay the same. We follow the Smith family and all their friends and loved one from just after the end of WWII all the way through the new millennium. What I truly loved was how as much as the world changed the fundamental truths of love and family and friends stayed the same.

    What I had forgotten from the first time I read Standing in the Rainbow was just how many stories were told in this story. I remembered Neighbor Dorothy and her wonderful radio show. I remembered several stories of the residents of Elmwood Springs, the Goodnight Sisters and their adventures during and after the war, Beatrice-the little blind songbird and her longing to travel, and Dorothy’s children Bobby and Anna Lee and the trials and tribulations of their growing up. But, I had forgotten about the Oatman Family Singers and wonderful Minnie Oatman. I had forgotten about that Betty Raye Oatman came to stay with the Smiths and how that was to change her life forever. I had forgotten Hamm Sparks (I don’t know how I could have forgotten a name like that) going from tractor salesman to Governor of Missouri and the wonderful Cecil Figgs and the unexpected turn of events that gave him a whole new life. There is a heck of a lot of story in this book.

    This audio version was read my Kate Reading and she did a bang up job. There were a lot, and I mean a lot, of characters in this book. And almost all had dialog. Somehow she made them all very distinct and recognizable. I knew who was talking throughout the whole book. I’m in awe of the work these readers do. I listened to this every evening when I would go out to walk and I would get excited about the idea of listening the same way I did when I was little and knew my mom was coming to read me a story. It really is wonderful having someone read you a story when you’re all grown up. I don’t know what I was thinking poo-pooing audio books; I’m now an official fan.

    Oh, and when you hear the story that gives the book it’s title you will totally want to stand in a rainbow.

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