“Life is the strangest thing. One minute, Mrs. Elner Shimfissle is up in her tree, picking figs, and the next thing she knows, she is off on an adventure she never dreamed of, running into people she never in a million years expected to meet. Meanwhile, back home, Elner’s nervous, high-strung niece Norma faints and winds up in bed with a cold rag on her head; Elner’s neighbor Verbena rushes immediately to the Bible; her truck driver friend, Luther Griggs, runs his eighteen-wheeler into a ditch–and the entire town is thrown for a loop and left wondering, “What is life all about, anyway?” Except for Tot Whooten, who owns Tot’s Tell It Like It Is Beauty Shop. Her main concern is that the end of the world might come before she can collect her social security.”
This is the third, and I’m guessing final, book in the Elmwood Springs series. This one starts out with one of the most interesting character that Fannie Flagg has ever written dying. I was so upset. I was honestly thinking that Aunt Elner was done. That would have been too predictable (something that I am used to with Fannie Flagg by now), but she really surprised me by having Elner have a trip to heaven that couldn’t be described as anything but peacefully blasphemous.
The trip to heaven, usually a plot line I am very annoyed by not based on my own religious views of lack thereof, was really funny and if that is the way heaven is then it would actually comfort me. The plot line I got the most amusement over wasn’t her rising from the dead hours later, but instead it was the business man from the hospital who was obsessing over the tennis shoe that Aunt Elner saw as she rose to heaven.
The characters were much more in depth than they were before. There was again the token character that was disabled in some way, this time it was a woman named Polly who had Down Syndrome. I am very happy that Fannie Flagg involves these characters, but there is little to no discussion in the novel on these characters except the white, body capable people going “I don’t care about that none, have some cake” and then spouting very much white privilege statements (Tot Whooten’s rant about how everything is racist now stood out in particular). So despite loving the author and the general feel of the novels, I am becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the mindset that the author gives the characters.
I did really enjoy that the author doesn’t rehash the same stories over and over, she references other happenings or she gives a short description of them so you don’t have to relive every scene that comes up again. That is something I wish other series authors would do more of. The book was also again very peaceful, but it was funnier than the other two books combined. It also had a more supernatural/religious feel to it, which is surprising since there were notably less gospel singers in this book.
4 out of 5 stars. I would recommend this book.
You can buy this book here.