There are average novels, fun novels, and there are thoroughly enjoyable novels. I Still Dream About You, by Fannie Flagg, is thoroughly enjoyable.
The story centers around an aging former Miss Alabama, Maggie Fortenberry. Disgusted with her life’s lack of direction and, with the world in general, she makes plans to end her life. This is a Type A suicide plan: To Do Lists, a formal goodbye note, and leaving behind as little fuss and mess as possible for others. A “considerate” suicide. Still, despite her depression, Maggie is double-take gorgeous and known for her chic sense of style.
Surrounding Maggie is a cast of colorful supporting characters. Her best friend, Brenda, a member of Overeaters Anonymous who has dreams of becoming Birmingham’s first African American female mayer; Ethel Clipp, Maggie’s 90-something co-worker at the real estate agency; Babs “The Beast” Bingingham, the agency’s #1 rival and nemesis; and the late Hazel Wisenknott, the diminutive woman who started the agency, and Maggie’s mentor in business and in Life.
Like in her novel, Fried Green Tomatoes and the Whistle Stop Cafe’, Fannie Flagg cuts back and forth between time periods in this story. Enter the Victorian Era and the story of Edward Crocker, the former owner of Crestview, a magnificent old estate that Maggie has always admired and which has now become her final listing.
Many themes run throughout the story, with the “grass is always greener” being the major one. The second being that no matter how much we plan ahead, Life often leads us in other directions.
With its Southern setting, driving story, memorable characters, and optimism (despite the protagonist’s ultimate goal,) I Still Dream About You is rich and full-bodied–like a really good piece of cake. It completely draws you in and holds you in comfort until the last bite, or in this case, the last page. I cannot remember enjoying a novel so much.
9.5 out of 10 stars