Tragic secrets

2011-06-08 00:00

MOST famous for having penned Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, which set the bar at lofty heights for any reader of her work, Fannie Flagg has again captured the essence of her characters with a pleasing poignancy.

Most of us have a secret or two which many of those closest to us may never uncover. Maggie Fortenberry is a previous Miss ­Alabama winner, and a Southern Belle estate agent who is all charm and poise on the outside, but is actually enveloped by despair and loneliness. Despite her good looks and sweet nature, authentic and sustainable romance has eluded her and she enters her late years alone, with nothing good to look forward to. The homes she is trying to sell are the homes she wishes she could have lived in, with a husband and children.

Maggie decides she is done with the stresses and strains of life and starts to work out the finer details of her suicide. Her friends and fellow estate agents are unaware of Maggie’s master plan for self-destruction. As D-day approaches, Maggie begins to dispose of her assets and orders flowers to be placed on her parents’ grave for many years to come. Ever thoughtful, she boxes up her possessions and puts her affairs in order, to be as little nuisance to anyone after the deed is done.

But, soon before the day she is to top herself, her closest friend asks her to a show, a special circus act she has always been fascinated with, so she delays her suicide. Then other things start happening and Maggie begins to realise she has power and influence.

A magical tiny woman, a skeleton in a closet, an evil rival and a brother and sister who are too close for comfort are some of the other elements of the book. It’s not quite in the storyline league of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café but it’s a very enjoyable read nonetheless.

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