I Still Dream About You: A Novel

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9781400065936: I Still Dream About You: A Novel

The beloved Fannie Flagg is back and at her irresistible and hilarious best in I Still Dream About You, a comic mystery romp through the streets of Birmingham, Alabama, past, present, and future.

Meet Maggie Fortenberry, a still beautiful former Miss Alabama. To others, Maggie’s life seems practically perfect—she’s lovely, charming, and a successful real estate agent at Red Mountain Realty. Still, Maggie can’t help but wonder how she wound up in her present condition. She had been on her hopeful way to becoming Miss America and realizing her childhood dream of someday living in one of the elegant old homes on top of Red Mountain, with the adoring husband and the 2.5 children, but then something unexpected happened and changed everything.

Maggie graduated at the top of her class at charm school, can fold a napkin in more than forty-eight different ways, and can enter and exit a car gracefully, but all the finesse in the world cannot help her now. Since the legendary real estate dynamo Hazel Whisenknott, beloved founder of Red Mountain Realty, died five years ago, business has gone from bad to worse—and the future isn’t looking much better. But just when things seem completely hopeless, Maggie suddenly comes up with the perfect plan to solve it all.

As Maggie prepares to put her plan into action, we meet the cast of high-spirited characters around her. To Brenda Peoples, Maggie’s best friend and real estate partner, Maggie’s life seems easy as pie. Slender Maggie doesn’t have to worry about her figure, or about her Weight Watchers sponsor catching her at the Krispy Kreme doughnut shop. And Ethel Clipp, Red Mountain’s ancient and grumpy office manager with the bright purple hair, thinks the world of Maggie but has absolutely nothing nice to say about their rival Babs “The Beast of Birmingham” Bingington, the unscrupulous estate agent who hates Maggie and is determined to put her out of business.

Maggie has heartbreaking secrets in her past, but through a strange turn of events, she soon discovers, quite by accident, that everybody, it seems—dead or alive—has at least one little secret.

I Still Dream About You is a wonderful novel that is equal parts Southern charm, murder mystery, and that perfect combination of comedy and old-fashioned wisdom that can be served up only by America’s own remarkable Fannie Flagg.
 

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Review:

Pat Conroy on I Still Dream About You

In 1992, I met Fannie Flagg in Los Angeles at the end of her triumphal march through America to promote her book and movie, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. She was in town because she’d been nominated for an Academy Award for her marvelous screenplay based on her novel. Because my tribe is a man-eating one, I inquired among other southern writers about her reputation. On the road, I’ve encountered writers about as friendly as scorpions or copperheads, and I always like to get a scouting report before I approach any member of my contentious breed. Anne Rivers Siddons told me that she was "a fabulous creature;" Terry Kay added that “she is even better than her novel,” which both of us had loved; and Mark Childress assured me that "she is the best of the best of the best." I met her that night and have loved her ever since.

I just finished her new novel, I Still Dream About You, and it’s a grand thing to have Fannie Flagg’s name carved on my heart again. Her main character is Maggie Fortenberry, a woman with a brand-new plan to change her life but who keeps getting interrupted by phone calls from friends and responsibilities to the troubled real-estate company where she works. A former Miss Alabama who represented her state in the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, Maggie is a worthy descendant of those four fabulous women who were the main protagonists in Fried Green Tomatoes. In this novel, as in all of her novels, Fannie Flagg creates memorable characters, great set pieces, and gales of unexpected laughter. When a cop stops Maggie for speeding, Flagg writes one of the most hilarious scenes she has ever created in the oddball world of southern letters. There is a trunk in the attic of an enchanted house for sale that reminded me of William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily.” I laughed my way through this book, and I found myself falling in love with Maggie as she kept postponing her plans for reasons of real estate and friendship. Always an artist with her villains, Flagg introduces us to Babs Bingington, a carnivorous real-estate agent who would sell her soul for peanuts to steal a listing from anyone else trying to sell property in her part of Alabama. In fact, the other real-estate agents call her “The Beast of Birmingham,” and she lives up to that title in this funny, well-made novel. There is also a mystery in the center of the story that is solved in a shocking and most satisfying fashion. I Still Dream About You is a love letter to the city of Birmingham and the state of Alabama, and it captures a South that seems both original and right to me. Flagg creates a world that you love entering and are reluctant to leave. You fall hard for characters like Hazel Whisenknott, Brenda Peoples—the list goes on and on, and there is great wit and wisdom on every page. I’m still smiling at the passing mention of the man who robbed the First Alabama Bank armed with only a live lobster. She has written a wondrous gift for all of us--five stars for Fannie Flagg.

About the Author:

Fannie Flagg’s career started in the fifth grade when she wrote, directed, and starred in her first play entitled The Whoopee Girls, and she has not stopped since. At age nineteen she began writing and producing television specials, and later wrote and appeared on Candid Camera. She then went on to distinguish herself as an actress and a writer in television, films, and the theater. She is the New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man; Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe; Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!; Standing in the Rainbow; A Redbird Christmas; and Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven. Flagg’s script for the movie Fried Green Tomatoes was nominated for an Academy Award, and the Writers Guild of America Award and won the highly regarded Scripter Award for best screenplay of the year. Flagg lives happily in California and Alabama.

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