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I Still Dream About You: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, November 9, 2010

4.0 out of 5 stars 527 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com 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.

From Publishers Weekly

Flagg's whimsical heartstring tugger (after Can't Wait to Get to Heaven) follows the continually interrupted suicide attempt of a former Birmingham, Ala., beauty queen, now 60 and a realtor. The 2008 election is hitting the home stretch as former Miss Alabama, Maggie Fortenberry, plans her exit from a world she can no longer bear. Still grieving over the loss of her best friend and unceasingly optimistic boss, Hazel Whizenknott, Maggie feels like a failure: the business is in decline, and she's lamenting a lifetime's worth of chances missed, including turning down her one true love. In fact, she's come up with 16 "perfectly good reasons to jump in the river" and only two reasons not to. Of course, there is hope to be found--professionally, personally, perhaps romantically--even in Maggie's darkest hours. Flagg gives the story some breadth with a subplot about a friend's campaign to become Birmingham's first black mayor. Maggie's quandary, meanwhile, is detailed with Flagg's trademark light touch and a sincere wit that's heavier on heart than sass. (Nov.) (c)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1St Edition edition (November 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400065933
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400065936
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (527 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #292,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Freudian Slips VINE VOICE on October 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
So here's the dilemma: how can a respectable Southern woman, who wants everything neat and orderly, who has a responsibility to always look her best, and who cannot bring shame either to the South or to her former title of Miss Alabama, neatly commit suicide? Particularly when her condo doesn't have a gas stove, she can't use a gun (because the newspapers will be all over that--Southerners and their guns, you know), and her car is leased by her business so she can't wreck it. And to make matters worse, life keeps interfering with her perfect plan. The Whirling Dervishes come to town. A hair appointment looms (and that pesky 24-hour cancellation policy), parking tickets and bills need to be paid first, there's too much goat cheese in the refrigerator, and there's a mystery to be solved in one of the old mansions on the hill.

Such is the dilemma for Maggie Fortenberry, a former Miss Alabama beauty queen who has endeavored to create a picture-perfect life--a "neat orderly way of being" that she envies in other people's lives. She is so busy admiring everyone else's seemingly perfect existence and punishing herself for her private transgressions that when we meet her in this story she is composing (on perfect stationery- with unfortunately a less-than-perfect pen) her suicide note. She approaches her suicide plans in the same calm, orderly way she has tried to live her life: making a list and being careful not to leave any loose ends or mess.

What a wonderful book.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I couldn't read this fantastic book fast enough. Our main character Maggie feels as if there is nothing more in this life for her, so she has planned her own death. She gives away her clothes, closes her bank account; has basically everything all planned out. But one thing after another keeps happening so she has to delay her death.

All the characters are just fabulous and so full of life you can't help but chuckle outloud throughout the book! I really wanted to get more in depth in what happened between Maggie and Charles though but it never did. That didn't take away from the book though. Brenda is a real hoot - her and her ice cream and sweets.. too funny! Ethel, her purple hair and all, what an image in my mind! I sure did love all the memories of Hazel though!

Fannie's books always have women in such a wonderful bold scene -- very awesome to read!

Every time Maggie gets ready to go down to the river and then something happens to delay her, I think God is speaking to her. What made this book even better is the bit of mystery about what they find in the trunk in the attic at Crestview! Nothing like a good little mystery hidden deep in a wonderful book like this!

Perfect book to read this holiday season all warm and toasty inside -- Enjoy! Fannie Flagg is worth the wait!
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I love Fannie Flagg and have read every single one of her novels, which is why I picked up this one. It's charming but not as good as her others. There is something missing in this novel ... something like sass and a sharp wit that are evident in her other novels. There is a spark to Maggie but it took forever for Flagg to lead us to the moment when Maggie, a former beauty queen, finally stopped whining about how miserable her life is and how much better being dead would be.

This book is more depressing than funny and sweet, and it is incredibly predictable, which takes the charm of the book out of it for me. The book focuses on Maggie, a woman who has a dark secret in her past and how it overshadowed everything positive in her life, leaving her at the age of 60 still single and childless and floundering at this big realty firm that is being stalked by a ruthless woman named Babs (so predictable!). Maggie had also lost her best friend, Hazel, who was the one person in the world that kept it brighter and still turning on its axis. Then there's Brenda, her other best friend, also a single woman but determined to enjoy life in its all fatty goods.

Maggie decides that the world would be better off without her and planned an elaborate suicide that she had to keep putting off because of an event that she was supposed to attend with Brenda; then a gorgeous antique mansion fell into her lap and she had to sell it and on and on. It got to be annoying instead of funny ... because I do not find suicide a laughing matter. Then there was a skeleton found in the attic of the house she is commissioned to sell and it came with its own set of mysteries that she never completely discovered (though Flagg did reveal it to the reader).
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Once again, Fannie Flagg manages to find humor in everything, from a pending suicide to a midget Real Estate agent.

Maggie Fortenberry had no more reason to live. It wasn't anything specific; the former Miss Alabama was just done. Finished. Her note was just about written when her best friend, Brenda, phoned with tickets to see the Whirling Dervishes. Maggie, always the lady, hated to disappoint, so she postponed her plans.

And things KEEP cropping up, in a most humorous fashion.

In I Still Dream About You, the characters are vibrant and personable, from Maggie and Brenda to Hazel, "the biggest little real estate woman in the world" and Ethel, always in purple. Readers will even enjoy Babs, "the Beast of Birmingham" and her horrid antics used to steal clients away from Hazel's agency.

The characters are full of dreams. Hazel's dreams, not only for her agency but for her life, inspired her employees long after she died. Hazel held them together. Even Maggie's final delay for her Big Decision was inspired by Hazel.

The book occasionally gives us small glimpses back in time. They are nicely written and easy to follow.

I Still Dream About You is witty and charming and even surpasses Flagg's other works (which include Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and A Redbird Christmas).

The only problem with this book was the wait between this and the last.

Fannie Flagg may be in her 60s, but her writing shows no signs of flagging. May she continue to write for us.
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