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A Redbird Christmas: A Novel Hardcover – November 2, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 229 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (November 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400063043
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400063048
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (366 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #252,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lured by a brochure his doctor gives him after informing him that his emphysema has left him with scarcely a year to live, 52-year-old Oswald T. Campbell abandons wintry Chicago for Lost River, Ala., where he believes he'll be spending his last Christmas. Bestselling author Flagg (Fried Green Tomatoes; Standing in the Rainbow) makes this down-home story about good neighbors and the power of love sparkle with wit and humor, as she tells of Oswald's new life in a town with one grocery store and a resident cardinal (or redbird, as the natives call it). Frances Cleverdon, one of four widows and three single women in town, hopes to fix him up with her sister, Mildred—if only Mildred wouldn't keep dying her hair outrageous colors every few days. The quirky story takes a heartwarming turn when Frances and Oswald become involved in the life of Patsy Casey, an abandoned young girl with a crippled leg. As Christmas approaches, the townspeople and neighboring communities—even the Creoles, whose long-standing feud with everybody else keeps them on the other side of the river—rally round shy, sweet Patsy. Flagg is a gifted storyteller who knows how to tug at readers' heartstrings, winding up her satisfying holiday tale with the requisite Christmas miracle.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Oswald Campbell doesn't have much to live for, except to cash his paltry pension check, drop in on the occasional AA meeting, and visit the VA hospital. Dreading another winter in Chicago, he takes in stride the news that his emphysema will probably take his life before Christmas. Having no family except an ex-wife, who has since moved on, Oswald follows his doctor's advice and spends his final months in a more comfortable climate. By chance, he ends up in Lost River, Alabama, a sleepy town with so many single, older women that Frances Cleverdon, a widow, hopes that Oswald will turn out to be someone's knight in shining armor. Not quite the Romeo they had hoped for, Oswald nonetheless is taken under folks' wings. Without noticing how it happens, Oswald comes to love Lost River, visiting the town store and the feisty redbird that lives there, waiting out at the dock for the river-faring postman to bring the mail, or accepting myriad dinner invitations from the town's women. Flagg based Lost River on her own hometown, and though such places may actually exist, there nevertheless is an allegorical feel to this little tale of hope, friendship, and common decency. Intended as a Christmas story, it would be readable year-round. Mary Frances Wilkens
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

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 Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (which was produced by Universal Pictures as Fried Green Tomatoes), Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!, and Standing in the Rainbow. Flagg's script for Fried Green Tomatoes was nominated for both the Academy and Writers Guild of America Awards and won the highly regarded Scripters Award. Flagg lives in California and in Alabama.

Customer Reviews

Very well written and has a very wonderful story line and fun and easy to read.
Mabel
A sweet story that will make you smile and cry but in the end you will be so glad you have read it.
Beverly Everling
It is a great book, once I read it, I ordered four more copies to give away as Christmas gifts.
Bonnie Bell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Antoinette Klein on December 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a devoted fan of Christmas novels, I savor each new one that comes my way. Not only did I absolutely love this one, but yesterday I bought copies to give to all the booklovers on my Christmas list. It's wonderful, magical, and uplifting. Having read all of Fannie Flagg's novels, I can only say how much she amazes me with each new book. Her keen insight into what makees small-town America tick is definitely true, refreshingly rewarding, and a pure delight to share with other readers.

Oswald T. Campbell, hapless orphan named after the can of tomato soup his mother left behind when she desserted him, feels life has just not been fair. He's never had a break, never a lucky streak, not even a fair-to-middlin' streak. And now his doctor has told him this Christmas will most likely be his last. Emphysema and Chicago winters are not a good match, and Oswald's drinking has not helped. An out-of-date brochure the doctor gives him leads Oswald to a better climate in Lost River, Alabama. The fictional city is located near Elberta, Lillian, and Mobile, but represents the small towns everywhere that the brilliant Ms. Flagg has immortalized in her wonderful work.

This one is definitely hard to put down, so save it for when you have a spare afternoon or evening, if there is such a thing. You will be caught up at once in Oswald's life and his meeting with Jack, the redbird who lives at the neighborhood grocery store. The store's proprieter Roy, along with Frances, Mildred, Betty, Dottie, and even the infamous Julian LaPonde will have you spellbound and quickly turning the pages to see what happens next. But it is Patsy, the young, cripped child whose bond with Jack transcends reality that elevates this book to a league of its own.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Mercedes J. TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read all of Ms. Flagg's novels, she is without a doubt my favorite author. I only wish she had more books out there for me to read. So when I saw this book had been released, I was ecstatic! This is a touching Christmas tale about a man (Oswald T. Campbell) and the wonderful little town of Lost River Alabama (a place I wish existed, cause I'd move there in a heartbeat!).

Oswald is told by his doctor that he must leave the Chicago cold for the warmer temperatures of the south for serious health reasons. Lost River has been recommended to him as an ideal place to go, so he packs up, and heads down there, thinking he'll just be there for the winter. But as time goes on, Oswald falls in love with the little town, and all it's residence, including one very special redbird, Jack, and one precious little girl, Patsy.

Of course I absolutely recommend this book for people of all ages, it's such a sweet Christmas story that I can't give enough praise to. Hopefully I won't have to wait so long for Ms. Flaggs next novel, but I'm confident it'll be just as wonderful as this one and all the others she has given us.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mamalinde on November 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Fanny Flagg delivers a Christmas tale to delight even the Grinch (and Scrooge too) - why even my sister loved it! With slush in his shoes and a life that lacks color, Oswald T. Campbell bids farewell to a bleak and wintry Chicago after the doctor delivers an unexpected death sentence. A very old brochure magically directs Oswald to Lost River, Baldwin County, Alabama, for his last months. As Oswald settles in, life suddenly becomes Technicolor and the kind of "family is where you find it" interaction gives all the characters of Lost River a reason to live and love. Jack, the redbird, is conniving little pest who knits the disparate characters into a wonderful whole.

This is an easy recommendation for ALL ages. About halfway through the book, my reading slowed down, I savored each page, and knew that more enchantment would appear but that it would eventually end. Sigh. Mamalinda has already bought several copies for gifts.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Author on December 28, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
And that was one of the best things about Redbird Christmas -- recipes. Another "best thing" was the tone of the novel, which is homey and cozy -- you can smell and touch the lushness of the atmosphere with your mind, like a Barry Levinson movie that takes a town like Baltimore and turns it into Avalon.

Unfortunately, the characters and the writing come in second place to the tone of this book; in fact, the plot is fairly easy to suss out once you get going. But that didn't seem to matter to me as I read along. I enjoyed these people very much. So what if the do-good ladies' groups sound too much like the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. The attempt is to create a special Christmas world where people get along nicely, in spite of differences of opinion, and eccentricity is not only tolerated, but encouraged. The book succeeds here and I finished it in record time -- not hard, it's a small book.

I have enjoyed Fannie Flagg since the old Candid Camera TV show (when she was, what? 10?!) I had no idea she was such an accomplished and talented writer. Overall, "A Redbird Christmas" made me feel warm and cozy over the holidays. I passed it on to my sister, who I know will like it even more than I did. I can see this book easily becoming a Christmas classic, where, year after year, children ask for it to be read to them at the Holidays.
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