If you know me, you know I love Fannie Flagg’s books. I came across her latest novel while at Target, on sale, so I bought it as a present to myself. “I Still Dream About You” tells the story of Birmingham native, realtor, and former Miss Alabama, Maggie Fortenberry, as she seeks to end her life since she can’t seem to find any meaning in it. However, so many things keep happening to stop Maggie in her suicidal quest, including finding a skeleton in the attic of the home she is selling and having her best friend taken to the hospital (from a Kate Spade super sale) with a suspected heart attack. The mysteries of the present, such as the skeleton (who is it and where did it come from?) mirror the mysteries of the past (why did Maggie leave her beloved Charles and why didn’t she win the pageant?) as Maggie learns that life is a gift and very much worth living.
I have loved all of Fannie’s previous books. I love her writing style, embedded with her signature humor. I really liked the “mysteries” in this story: who was the skeleton and what was the story of the family who first owned the house in which it was found, and exactly why did Maggie leave her boyfriend years ago and not recover from the loss, and mostly, why exactly does she feel like life isn’t worth living any more?
One thing that bothered me in this story is how Maggie’s suicide attempt was depicted in a comical fashion. It was a list of to-do items and plans, which kept going awry. I kept thinking I should find it funny, and maybe it was just me, but suicide just is never something I can find humorous.
If I had another issue with this story, it was that there were many plot lines all going at once: Birmingham’s past struggle with civil rights, Maggie’s past loves, Maggie’s pageant experience years before, her former boss- the deceased midget Hazel, Maggie’s best friend Brenda and her struggles with overeating, the skeleton in the attic and the whole story of that family from whence it came. In truth, I practically needed a flow chart to keep it all straight.
And I kept wondering: this title ties in how??
All in all, a fun Fannie read, particularly if you like her style, but not my favorite.
If you’d like to see Fannie talking about her books and their settings, here is a You Tube clip of her: