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117 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweetly drawn story of small-town life
I am an avid fan of Fannie Flagg and have read all of her novels. Her latest, Standing in the Rainbow, is nothing short of miraculous. I loved it! The writing, as always, is quick, light and honest, but it is the genius storytelling in this novel that makes it a 5-star read for me.
Standing in the Rainbow tells the story of the lives of the citizens of Elmwood...
Published on October 11, 2002 by Dianna Setterfield

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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars charming and kindhearted, yet more meringue than filling
Fannie Flagg holds an important place in our national heart. Blessed with a down-home ability to tell stories and possessing a warmhearted view of the human condition, Flagg, at her best, combines humor and pathos to construct novels which educate us through laughter and tears. Her most recent effort, "Standing in the Rainbow," is a likable, kind and compassionate...
Published on November 10, 2002 by Bruce J. Wasser


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117 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweetly drawn story of small-town life, October 11, 2002
I am an avid fan of Fannie Flagg and have read all of her novels. Her latest, Standing in the Rainbow, is nothing short of miraculous. I loved it! The writing, as always, is quick, light and honest, but it is the genius storytelling in this novel that makes it a 5-star read for me.
Standing in the Rainbow tells the story of the lives of the citizens of Elmwood Springs, Missouri, spanning through five decades beginning in the 40s. We have Dorothy Smith, hostess of the radio program, The Neighbor Dorothy Show that is transmitted live from her own living room. And Tot Whooten, the town hair stylist, who seems to be a walking, talking advertisement for bad luck. Also in town are the Goodnight sisters; Ida Jenkins, a wanna-be socialite; the Oatman Family Gospel Singers; Hamm Sparks, a very ambitious salesman; and Doc Smith, the local pharmacist. This novel has them all and more -- every character under the sun, a perfect blend of a neighborhood.
I wasn't even born during most of the time frame this novel takes place in, but Fannie Flagg sure makes me wish I had been! A highly atmospheric story that evokes feelings of nostalgia and longing for the good ole days. The characters are unforgettable, Elmwood Springs is the perfect town, and after reading this book, you will feel as if you've lived there your entire life.
Not much by the way of plot, however. Standing in the Rainbow is more of a slice-of-life novel, a darn good story about the lives of people in a small town and the events that take place throughout the years. Engrossing, funny, sweet, wistful and warmhearted, all Fannie Flagg fans will delight in this novel, and new fans will discover a treasure of an author within these pages.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful study, in beautiful colors, of smalltown America, August 12, 2002
By A Customer
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Fans of Fannie Flagg's earlier novels will love this new one, and I predict she'll pick up a whole lot of new fans, too. This book is just wonderful: an unforgettable and yet comfortable voice tells us everything we need to know about everyone in town, yet never tells one thing more than we need to know.
The true subtlety of Miss Flagg's work lies not in the richly softspoken sentences, the dead-on dialogue, the gentle humor and tart observation that are her comic hallmarks. It's what she leaves out of the story, the parts she knows not to tell.
I happen to think Fannie Flagg is the most underrated American author, except by her readers, who love her. She's the finest comic voice working in fiction today, and when things take a serious turn -- as they do in this sweet, lovely, summery novel -- she can flat break your heart.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming, Witty, and Captivating....., September 18, 2002
The year, 1946; the place, Elmwood Springs, Missouri. Life is good and filled with unlimited opportunities and promise, the future never seemed brighter, and spirits are lifted daily, by the "lady with the smile in her voice," radio homemaker, Neighbor Dorothy Smith, as she passes along recipes, friendly advice, local news, and a little entertainment, each morning, from her living room on station WDOT. Meet the Smith family, their friends, neighbors, and acquaintances, and revel in the joys of small town life, as Fannie Flagg takes the reader on an amazing fifty year odyssey, rich in insight, wisdom, humor, and truth. This is storytelling at its very best, filled with interesting twists and surprises, vivid scenes, engaging writing, and clever dialogue. But it's Ms Flagg's brilliant characterizations that make this book stand out and sparkle. These are complex and endearing, real people, warts and all, not cliched, cartoon characters, and Ms Flagg is able to breathe life into each and every one of them. Standing In The Rainbow is an intriguing and captivating story, sometimes poignant, often uplifting, but always touching and heartwarming; a story that captures the imagination as it pulls you in, and introduces a whole new generation to the simple wonders of living in a small town. You'll laugh, you'll cry, but mostly you'll remember what it was like to walk with your family down a decorated Main Street at Christmas to buy your tree at the town lot for $1.50, sit on a stool and have a sundae at the drug store soda fountain, watch a whole afternoon of movies, every Saturday, for a nickle, and listen to the voice of a friendly "neighbor" each day on the radio. And there was never a doubt that "something wonderful was always just about to happen..."
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars charming and kindhearted, yet more meringue than filling, November 10, 2002
By 
Fannie Flagg holds an important place in our national heart. Blessed with a down-home ability to tell stories and possessing a warmhearted view of the human condition, Flagg, at her best, combines humor and pathos to construct novels which educate us through laughter and tears. Her most recent effort, "Standing in the Rainbow," is a likable, kind and compassionate work, but it lacks both the power and integrity of her best work, "Fried Green Tomoatoes." Ultimately, reading "Rainbow" is much like trying to eat a five-pound box of chocolates. What begins as a treat ends as a sugar-saturated burden.
"Rainbow" is actually contains three distinct narratives, any one of which would have been subject material enough to carry the novel. By chopping her novel into these distinct segments, Flagg diminishes the impact of the whole. The best of the three is the fist two hundred pages; in it, we are transported back in time to the post World War II era. Young Bobby Smith, whose mother Dorothy serves as the modest voice of midwestern maternal sensibility on her morning radio show, explores life with a zest and innocence. His beautifully drawn character shines, and Flagg expertly creates a mid-century everychild whose hopes, frustrations and energy mirror the ebullient optimism of the period.
Unforunately, when Bobby disappears from the novel, he is replaced by Hamm Sparks, an aspiring politican who is part Huey Long and Bill Clinton. The middle section of "Rainbow" sadly reads as a dumbed-down "All the King's Men." Since the scope of "Rainbow" is a half-century, Flagg spends the final hundred pages whirling the reader through the last three decades of the twentieth century. Although historical compression tidily moves the plot to its conclusion, the author unintentionally flattens the characters to whom she has so diligently given dimension the first two-thirds of her work.
Fannie Flagg can create memorable characters, and "Rainbow" has its store of them. Yet, unlike "Fried Green Tomatoes," where her characters stood for something and faced challenges with humor, grace and strength, the men, women and children who populate Elmwood Springs, Missouri are never permitted the luxury to grow. Instead, their appearances are episodic (just as is the novel), and lacking the time to develop, they eventually become predictable, even bordering on stereotypical.
This is not to say that "Standing in the Rainbow" should not be read. Fannie Flagg is a national treasure, and some of her msot recent vignettes are absolute gems. My disappointment stems from admiration; she is capable of far more emotional depth and character development than her most recent effort. "Rainbow" reminds us of that the author is capable of much, much more.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flagg Delivers A Masterpiece on Small Town America, September 3, 2002
By 
Antoinette Klein (Hoover, Alabama USA) - See all my reviews
Fannie Flagg creates the warm, wholesome characters she is famous for and plops them down in the center of the US-- Elmwood Springs, Missouri, to be exact--- for a nostalgic look back at what life was like in the 1940s and into the 90's.
If you are a baby-boomer and remember The Arthur Godfrey Show, the Ink Spots, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Wildroot Cream oil, wearing a shiny dime in your penny loafers and more, you'll fall in love with Flagg's charming characters who populate this small town.
At the heart of the story is the family of Neighbor Dorothy, the homemaker cum radio personality we first met in WELCOME TO THE WORLD, BABY GIRL. This book more fully explores Neighbor Dorothy's family life as well as the people she connects with and the influence she wields throughout the state. The reader sees the world through the eyes of her son Bobby who longs for no greater honor than to become the Bubble Gum King of 1949 yet grows into a remarkable war hero and family man. Along with her daughter Anna Lee, her husband Doc who is the town pharmacist, and her mother-in-law we see a picture of a family that is not only idyllic but realistic in their affections, problems, and experiences.
Delightful in all respects, this book takes you through the Korean War, the anti-war movement of the 60's, the political travails of country bumpkins who long for the national stage, the liberation of women, and other important factual events that colored the lives of the American people. Real people mix with fictional in a story that is engrossing, satisfying, and hard to leave behind. You'll treasure your time with Neighbor Dorothy from her first broadcast to her final sign-off and be glad to be a part of the lives of people who remember buying a Christmas dress for $1.50, being mesmerized by the department store window at Christmas, and thrilling to the sight of a new neon sign lighting up the main street.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love Fannie Flagg!!!, August 13, 2002
By 
Laura Duet (Downers Grove, Illinois USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is the first book by Fannie Flagg that I have read, and it will not be the last. I finished it last night and all day I have been in "mourning" that I won't have Standing in the Rainbow to read tonight!! This book is one great story. It follows some truly lovable characters from the 1940's to the 1990's all the while bringing in a true feel for America throughout all of those time periods. This is a definite shoe-in for a spot on my personal top 10 books of 2002. I am now going to read all of Ms. Flagg's books. If you are looking for a heartwarming, good old-fashioned story that entertains you and makes you feel good, this is the book! I just want to hug everyone in Elmwood Springs, Missouri!!!! Great, great book! Get it immediately, it will make your day!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fannie Flagg does it again, August 20, 2002
If you are a certified baby-boomer, particularly one who was born and bred in a small town or thereabouts, "Standing in the Rainbow" is bound to bring back some pleasant memories- particularly memories of long, leisurely summer days when your biggest decision whether to go swimming or to go exploring with your best friend. With her usual gentle humor and beautifully-drawn characters, Fannie Flagg takes us back to a time when everyone in a small town knew everyone else, people sat on the front porch in the evenings, every drugstore had a soda-fountain, and screen doors had springs that made them to slam when little boys weren't careful.
That is not to say, however, that Miss Flagg sees the world only through rainbow-tinted glasses; her characters experience a wide range of experiences and emotions. Even so, Miss Flagg always manages to help her readers smile at life, even when the humor is mixed with a few tears.
At the center of the novel is the Neighbor Dorothy radio show starring Mrs. Dorothy Smith with her mother-in-law, Mother Smith, at the organ. (Some readers will remember Neighbor Dorothy as a supporting character in "Welcome to the World, Baby Girl.") The story, which begins in the 1930s and reaches into the 1990s, includes Neighbor Dorothy's household, her friends, neighbors, and fans. The cast of characters includes some colorful ones: Bobby Smith, whose learns a technique for winning the yearly bubble-blowing contest that helps him solve later problems, Tot Whooten, the local hair-stylist whose experiments with hair go as wrong as her family life, Betty Raye, the mousey member of a gospel-singing family who learns to overcome her stage-fright, and Aunt Elner who has the innate ability to adapt to any situation in any era.
Although the first third of the book is episodic -- a group of (sometimes unrelated) anecdotes that often bring to mind the author's early comedy routines -- as Miss Flagg develops her story, she entwines these many characters and events into a neatly woven story that leaves no loose ends.
Baby-boomer or not, there is plenty in Miss Flagg's straightforward storytelling and delightful characters for any reader to savor.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, August 17, 2002
By 
Sandy Beatty (Sarasota, Florida) - See all my reviews
Words cannot describe how much I enjoyed this book.....I laughed 'til I cried....absolutely hilarious, and at the same time, so poignant.....It's one of those books you don't want to finish. However, at the same time you can't put down....You feel as if you know each character; and if you don't, you wish you did. I wish it had gone on for another 500 pages...I just finished it, and miss the town, and the people already.
I want to thank Fannie Flagg for such a gift...
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed every paragraph, September 2, 2002
By A Customer
My favorite novel of all time is "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlstop Cafe", by Fannie Flagg. Next is this one. "Standing in the Rainbow", also by Fannie Flagg. Ms Flagg is the Norman Rockwell of literature, having the ability to paint with words a humorous yet lovable portrait of Americana past. This ia a lovely book that made me laugh out loud and, I admit, shed a tear or two, but Ms. Flagg's work always does that to me. I highly recommend "Rainbow" and her other novels as well. Also, I recommend two other books with similar themes and setings- "A Painted House". by John Grisham and "The Curve:A Tale of a Gentler Time and Place", by Ned Bibb.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, February 8, 2004
By A Customer
Fried Green Tomatoes was, is, and will always be my favorite book and movie--of ALL the books and movies out there. I've worn out my VHS copy and am moving on to DVD. Wish me luck. That said, Standing in the Rainbow is a close second. While I love all of Flagg's books, FGT and this one are the best by far.
Also recommended: FGT, Welcome to the World, Bark of the Dogwood, To Kill a Mockingbird
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Standing in the Rainbow (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
Standing in the Rainbow (Ballantine Reader's Circle) by Fannie Flagg (Paperback - August 3, 2004)
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