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Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!: A Novel (Ballantine Reader's Circle) Paperback – February 27, 2001

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Product Details

  • Series: Ballantine Reader's Circle
  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (February 27, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044900578X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449005781
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (348 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

With home-cooked, Southern literary flair, Fannie Flagg (Fried Green Tomatoes) returns with Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! "Baby Girl," as she is lovingly referred to by her sweet, country cousins, is Dena Nordstrom, a tall, blonde, corn-fed girl who makes it big in Manhattan. Ms. Nordstrom is now the top TV anchorwoman in the city, beating out veteran journalists and making ungodly amounts of money. Although her life seems charmed, Dena is frazzled and miserable. She drinks uncontrollably, is a borderline compulsive liar, and is forced to undergo therapy because of her stress-induced ulcer. Her psychiatrist, Dr. O'Malley, falls madly in love with her, of course, and sends the blonde bombshell to a close colleague, Dr. Diggers. Living up to her name, Diggers shovels up a mountain of dysfunction and forces Dena to face her mysterious past; all the while the good doctor reports back to brokenhearted O'Malley about her patient's progress. Meanwhile, back at the station, Ms. Nordstrom has made friends and enemies in very high places. Her greatest ally is Howard Kingsley, the Cronkitesque reporter who wields power with more ease than most seasoned politicos: "He closed the door and handed the driver a ten-dollar bill. 'Take this young lady where she wants to go for me, will you? And be careful, she's valuable property.'" It's a good thing she has friends like that, because her boss, Ira Wallace, makes George Costanza from Seinfeld look like a scrupulous saint. When Wallace hires a nasty but effective mole by the name of Sidney Capello to dig up garbage on celebrities, Nordstrom has a head-on collision with his sense of ethics (or lack thereof) and gets Capello canned. Or so she thinks. Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! is very much like its star, Dena Nordstrom: pretty, scattered, confused, and sometimes interesting. It's a long ride from the Whistle Stop Cafe, and readers who enjoy Jan Karon's Mitford Fall series will most likely be the biggest fans of Flagg's third novel. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Because so much of Flagg's third novel takes place in the 1970s media-celebrity echelons of New York City, it doesn't offer the regional and historical color and texture of its predecessor, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. Instead, Flagg's achievement here lies in a well-choreographed story of loyalty and survival that zigzags deftly across the post-war years, panning in on the never-changing decency of Elmwood Springs, Mo., then pulling back to watch national TV news devolve into sensationalism?all the while drawing us into the compelling life of Dena Nordstrom. Star of America's most popular morning news show, Dena shuts herself down and shuts men out for painful reasons that are unknown even to her. Only after the stress of ambush- and sound-byte journalism brings on a hemorrhaging ulcer does Dena slowly unearth the scandal that, when Dena was four, drove her mother from Elmwood Springs, hometown of the war hero father that Dena never knew. That her mother's nemesis is a newspaper gossipmonger is nicely ironic, although her mother's secret shame seems slightly larger than life. In contrast, Dena's college friend Sookie and great aunt Elner are reminders of how well Flagg can cook up memorable women from the most down-to-earth ingredients, while a cameo by Tennessee Williams is uncannily true to life. Fans may be sorry at first to leave Elmwood Springs for the big city, but even the most reluctant will get wrapped up in Dena's search for the truth about her family and her past. Author tour; Random House audio.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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

Great plot, great story, great characters.
Just another Stephanie
My main complaint about this book was the presentation of female characters.
Avid Reader
I laughed out loud at times reading this book.
Teacher from San Jose

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Antoinette Klein on March 31, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Fannie Flagg serves up a hefty helping of Southern humor in this sometimes funny, sometimes melodramatic, but always interesting story. Baby Girl is Dena Nordstrom of Elmwood Springs, Missouri, who becomes one of the top tv journalists in New York City. She learns a lot of lessons in the big city, such as tv news has no ethics, tabloid shows are what America wants, and people with no morals rise to the top. When Dena crashes from the stress of big city living, she goes back home (against her will) to be coddled and loved by her extended family. The very best parts of this book take place below the Mason-Dixon line as cousin Norma and her husband Mackey Warren delight readers with their down-to-earth goodness and hysterically funny dialogue. Also adding to the fun is Kappa sorority sister extraordinaire Sookie from Selma, Alabama, the complete antithesis of Dena. Sookie is a devoted wife and mother, a born-again Christian, but mostly she is a loving friend who never forgets that being a Kappa is the ultimate achievement for all women. Flagg describes small-town living perfectly and captures all the love, humor, and genuine neighborly concern that small towns have become famous for. Lucky for Dena, because she has a major crisis to confront. Things become serious when Dena delves into her past and searches for the mother who abandoned her many years ago. The climax of this novel is surprising and totally unique. I was shocked at what I learned about Dena's mother and overcome with emotion at the poignancy of the story.
But the reason this book appealed to me so much was primarily due to Neighbor Dorothy, the first character we meet and the one whose spirit hovers over the entire story.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Ratmammy VINE VOICE on February 5, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
WELCOME TO THE WORLD, BABY GIRL is the second Fannie Flagg novel that I've read. The first, of course, was Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. Welcome To the World, I have to say, is not as wonderful as the other book, but I think comparing the two may be a mistake.
The novel switches back and forth between the present, the 1970's, and the past, the 1930's and 1940's. Dena Nordstrom is a famous television personality of the 1970's, almost akin to what Oprah Winfrey is for us today. She's' highly respected and well-loved by her many fans. She brings ratings to her television network, and everyone just loves her. She lives in New York, lives a fast life of parties and liquor and all the trappings that come with being a famous celebrity.
Then we switch to the 1930's and 40's. We see Dena's roots, where she came from. We get them in pieces, in short scenes, because Dena herself does not know too much about her childhood or about where she came from. Her mother was a mystery to her, and she knows hardly anything about her. All she knows is that she once loved her mother very much, but somewhere along the way she stopped loving her.
The scenes of the 1930's and 40's take place in a small country town called Elmwood Springs, Missouri. To modern day Dena Nordstrom, this is hicktown. She has no desire in going back home. Fannie Flagg paints a quaint, wonderful little town where everyone knows everyone else, and there is not one secret in town that nobody knows. However, the biggest secret is something that no one knew, because Dena's mother chose to keep it secret.
Dena has troubles sleeping and soon is forced to see a psychiatrist to help. She starts with one psychiatrist, Gerry, but he soon sends her off to another one, a friend of his, Dr. Diggers.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Dawn Dellarocco on July 27, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I bought this book at a Library Book Sale, and I brought on my vacation to a Rhode Island beach last year, and I enjoyed it immensely. I loved it, and Ms. Flagg wrote a good yarn. The storyline was really good, and I couldn't put it down. A MUST READ. If you like a good southern story, you will definitely enjoy this one.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
She remains a master of characterization, dialogue, language, and good old fashioned storytelling. I appreciate the contrast she was making between city and country here, but it's damn hard to engage me with a story about ethics in TV news, no matter how much is based on experience. It dragged in spots, with plot driving character when I prefer the opposite, but overall I'm glad I read it, and it certainly hit me with some shocks later on. However, I've been advised that you shouldn't read it immediately after STANDING IN THE RAINBOW, and that's right. If you compare the two, this one will fail. So don't compare them. Just enjoy.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Charles Pooter on August 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
Welcome to the World, Baby Girl is an amazing collection of lives and events that keeps you guessing all the way. It's not a mystery or thriller - this is a novel about one woman and her search for happiness, but Flagg interweaves so many elements that this book is a pleaser at many levels.

While I initially coudln't like the heroine, Dena, very much, Flagg fleshes her out by going into her past and surrounding her with truly lovable characters who get you to see the sweet person Dena really is. All of the supporting characters are memorable, including the villains, whose lesser traits are explained through Flaggs' narrative. You don't love them, but you understand why they do what they do.

Fannie Flagg is a great observer of human motivation, and has a fabulous sense of humour. Welcome to the World, Baby Girl is a novel you will enjoy and not be able to forget for a long time.
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