Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Standing in the Rainbow (Ballantine Reader's Circle Series #2) / Fannie Flagg / 493 pgs

My Brown Bag Book Discussion's August book is Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg. I read it a bit early, because I was in some sort of slump and couldn't figure out what else to read. I really enjoyed the story of a small fictional town in Missouri and some of its funniest, bravest, loveliest citizens. The book begins in 1946, just after the end of WWII and ends in the 1990s. You'll meet Dorothy, the hostess of one of the most listened to morning radio shows in the Midwest; her children, Bobby and Annalee; hairdresser Tot Whooten; the Oatman Family Singers; politician-in-the-making Hamm Sparks; blind songstress Beatrice Woods; and many fabulous other Missourians. Standing in the Rainbow is the second book in a trilogy, but do not let that keep you from reading the book out of order. I had never read a Fannie Flagg book before and had no trouble figuring out who the characters were. It seems the books are written a little out of order anyways. From what I read, the first book takes place solely in the 1970s.

Although I love this book and highly recommend it to anyone, I would remiss without pointing out the big inaccuracies that are in the book concerning Missouri geography, history, and politics. Twice, the Gateway Arch is mentioned as already existing despite it's only the 1940s and 1950s in the book. Missouri State University is mentioned even though that name was never used for a university until 2005. Also, it's stated in the book a couple of time that the governor appointed a lieutenant governor and an attorney general, when in reality, both of those positions have been elected positions since the 19th century.

Fannie Flagg is from Alabama and although her look at small town Missouri life was so good, she apparently didn't quite do enough internet research in 2002 to prevent making those mistakes in her book. If you're like me, you'll be almost tempted to let that keep you from enjoying the book. Don't make that mistake.

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