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Elmwood Springs Books In Order

Publication Order of Elmwood Springs Books

Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! (1998) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Standing in the Rainbow (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Can't Wait to Get to Heaven (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Whole Town's Talking (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Elmwood Springs is a series of fiction novels by Fannie Flagg. She started her career when she was in the fifth grade as she wrote, directed and was an actor in a play that she called “The Whoopee Girls.” At age nineteen, she was writing and producing for TV and even wrote scripts for Candid Camera and acted in them too. Flagg would distinguish herself as a film, theater, television writer and actress. Her first novel was “Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man” which was first published in 1981 and went on to become a bestseller. She never looked back since and went on to publish several other successful novels such as “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, “Standing in the Rainbow,” “Welcome to the World Baby Girl!” and “A Redbird Christmas” among many others. Her script for her second novel won her the Writers Guild of America Award and was nominated for an Academy Award.

Flagg was born in Birmingham Alabama to William Hurbert Neal and Marion Leona who named her Patricia Neal. She spent much of her childhood in Birmingham and went to a local acting school after winning the Miss Alabama pageant scholarship. She was a co-host of a local show on WBRC-TV in Birmingham called “Morning Show” but left to move to New York. The name Flagg came about since there was already an actress with her birth name and her grandfather and friend suggested the name Fannie Flagg which she liked. She currently lives in Alabama and California.

Elmwood Springs by Fannie Flagg is a series full of timeless literary richness that paints the hopeful human spirit, community, love, sorrows of life, and heartfelt joys. The novels are set in Elmwood Springs in Missouri, where we follow the stories of ordinary people including their strengths, frailties, idiosyncrasies, and nuances. “Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!” the first novel is about Dena Nordstrom, a successful, gorgeous, smart and highly admired television personality. She exhibits a happy and tough exterior though inside she is a distant, confused, and lonely woman that has lost hope in love. She does not believe she will ever be tied down to any one person until she meets Dr. Gerry O’Mally. He is a crazy, adorable and crazy hero who just knows how to turn on Dena. “Standing in the Rainbow” is set in 1946 Elmwood Springs, Missouri, where it follows the lives of the Smiths and their friends and associates in the small town. Through the lens of Neighbor Dorothy the town’s eminent live radio show host, we get to learn about the bits and pieces of ordinary people Elmwood Springs. The story covers a period of more than fifty years which provides quite the kaleidoscope of the different characters. “Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven” the last novel of the series is a tale of a woman with tremendous influence on her community. It is about Mrs. Elner Shimfissle of Elmwood Springs, a matriarch that touches everything in the small town with her simple life lessons, straight forward advice, and genuine kindness.

“Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!” wanders back and forth through half a century of history telling the story of Dena, the most popular female news anchor in the United States and the townsfolk of Elmwood Springs. She had moved away from her native town when she was only four but the town’s people still think of her as one of them and religiously follow her career. While her life looks glamorous and she is hosting one of the highest-rated talk shows on TV, she is anything but happy. She has no friends and is careering towards alcoholism. What she needs is to go back to her roots though she is so used to lying about her life that she cannot bear the thought of going back home to Elmwood. The journalism industry is full of corruption and she is forced to do things that go against her morals to keep her job and high ratings on TV. She had ferociously earned her place at the top of the industry but now that she is at the pinnacle, she does not know who she is anymore. But then Gerry O’Malley a desperate romantic comes into her life and makes her believe in herself again. He is willing to do anything to be with her and makes her feel that maybe life is worth living after all. She now knows what she wants to do with her life.

“Standing in the Rainbow” the second novel of the Elmwood Springs series is the story of the Smith family and their associates, friends, and family in the small town of Elmwood Springs. The series is set in Post-World War II America and is spread over about fifty years. The stories have everything nostalgic about the 40s and 50s America, from the traveling singing group to the bubble gum blowing competitions and the weekly radio shows. It was a good and simple life that was more of “standing in the rainbow.” Even though bad things did happen to residents, people dealt with it most often with help from their neighbors. With passing years, the Smith family becomes spread out as it grows. However, their lives become more complicated just like overall life in America did during the 60s and 70s. Some changes were good while some were bad and hence you get a dose of both crying and frowning and smiling and laughing. As they head into the 80s and 90s, changes become even more profound, which leaves the Smiths with a sense of nostalgia about how good the 50s and 40s were.

“Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven” combines side-splitting hilarity and unabashed emotion as Flagg tells the story of a high spirited octogenarian. Blessed with one of the most inquisitive minds, Elner has been a huge influence on the community in the small town of Elmwood Springs. She is on her eighties or maybe her nineties when she is attacked by wasps when picking figs in her garden, which causes her to fall out of the tree. She dies from the fall and the neighbors and family immediately set about preparing her funeral. Friends clean her house and feed her cat while the local paper prepares her obituary. Even the local radio station that she loved listening to is airing the news of her death. The florist is conducting brisk business as everyone that knew her wants to bring flowers to her funeral. Meanwhile, Elner is in heaven where she is asking God all the questions she ever wanted to ask. The message of the delightful mystery is that heaven is on earth right here with the friendships you keep, the neighbors you help and the people you love and who love you back.

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