Can't Wait to Get to Heaven

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Overview

Combining southern warmth with unabashed emotion and sidesplitting hilarity, Fannie Flagg takes readers back to Elmwood Springs, Missouri, where the most unlikely and surprising experiences of a high-spirited octogenarian inspire a town to ponder the age-old question: Why are we here?

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 ...
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Overview

Combining southern warmth with unabashed emotion and sidesplitting hilarity, Fannie Flagg takes readers back to Elmwood Springs, Missouri, where the most unlikely and surprising experiences of a high-spirited octogenarian inspire a town to ponder the age-old question: Why are we here?

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.

In this comedy-mystery, those near and dear to Elner discover something wonderful: Heaven is actually right here, right now, with people you love, neighbors you help, friendships you keep. Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven is proof once more that Fannie Flagg “was put on this earth to write” (Southern Living), spinning tales as sweet and refreshing as iced tea on a summer day, with a little extra kick thrown in.
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Editorial Reviews

Charlotte Hays
What saves this book from being more sugary than Neighbor Dorothy's Heavenly Caramel Cake is Flagg's unerring eye for human foibles.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
The only thing more enjoyable than reading a Fannie Flagg novel is having Flagg read it aloud herself. A born storyteller, Flagg is a marvelous reader with a warm, welcoming Alabama accent. She immediately puts listeners at ease, priming them for an engrossing yarn that will mix laugh-out-loud hilarity with unabashed sentiment in a novel as thoughtful as it is delightful. Returning to Elmwood Springs, Miss. (the setting of two previous novels), Flagg focuses on a handful of days following octogenarian Elner Shimfissle's fatal fall from a tree. As listeners check in on various residents in town to see how they're reacting to the news and remembering how their lives were touched by the old woman, Flagg alternates bite-size chapters detailing Elner's journey to the afterlife. Flagg completely embodies her delightful characters, adapting a slight vocal scratch for eternally optimistic Elner, a flatter drawl for the ever-complaining hairdresser Tot and a sweet innocence as Elner's hilariously nervous niece, Norma. An uplifting delight. Simultaneous release with the Random House hardcover (reviewed online). (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400061266
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/4/2006
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Fannie Flagg began writing and producing television specials at age nineteen and went on to distinguish herself as an actress and writer in television, films, and the theater. She is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (which was produced by Universal Pictures as Fried Green Tomatoes), Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!, Standing in the Rainbow, and A Redbird Christmas. Flagg’s script for Fried Green Tomatoes was nominated for both the Academy and Writers Guild of America awards and won the highly regarded Scripters Award. Flagg lives in California and in Alabama.

Biography

Quite early on in her writing career, Fannie Flagg stumbled onto the holy grail of secrets in the publishing world: what editors are actually good for.

Attending the Santa Barbara Writer's Conference in 1978 to see her idol, Eudora Welty, Flagg won first prize in the writing contest for a short story told from the perspective of a 11-year-old girl, spelling mistakes and all -- a literary device that she figured was ingenious because it disguised her own pitiful spelling, later determined to be an outgrowth of dyslexia. But when a Harper & Row editor approached her about expanding the story into a full-length novel, she realized the jig was up.

"I just burst into tears and said, 'I can't write a novel,'" she told The New York Times in 1994. "'I can't spell. I can't diagram a sentence.' He took my hand and said the most wonderful thing I've ever heard. He said, 'Oh, honey, what do you think editors are for?'"

And so Fannie Flagg -- television personality, Broadway star, film actress and six-time Miss Alabama contestant -- became a novelist, delving into the Southern-fried, small-town fiction of the sort populated by colorful characters with homespun, no-nonsense observations. Characters that are known to say things like, "That catfish was so big the photograph alone weighed 40 pounds."

Her first novel, an expanded take on that prize-winning short story, was Coming Attractions: A Wonderful Novel, the story of a spunky yet hapless girl growing up in the South, helping her alcoholic father run the local bijou. But it was with her second novel where it all came together. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café -- a novel, for all its light humor, that infuses its story with serious threads on racism, feminism, spousal abuse and hints at Sapphic love -- follows two pairs of women: a couple running a hometown café in the Depression-era South and an elderly nursing home resident in the late 1980s who strikes up an impromptu friendship with a middle-aged housewife unhappy with her life.

The result was not only a smash novel, but a hit movie as well, one that garnered Flagg an Academy Award nomination for adapting the screenplay. She won praise from the likes of Erma Bombeck, Harper Lee and idol Eudora Welty, and the Los Angeles Times critic compared it to The Last Picture Show. The The New York Times called it, simply, "a real novel and a good one."

Before her career as a novelist, Flagg was known principally for her on-screen television and film work. She was second banana to Allen Funt on the long-running Candid Camera, perhaps the trailblazer for the current crop of so-called reality television. (Her favorite segment, she told Entertainment Weekly in 1992, was driving a car through the wall of a drive-thru bank.) She appeared as the school nurse in the 1978 film version of Grease, and on Broadway in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. And she was a staple of the Match Game television game shows in the '70s.

As a writer, though, this Birmingham, Alabama native found her voice as a chronicler of Southern Americana and life in its self-contained hamlets. "Fannie Flagg is the most shamelessly sentimental writer in America," The Christian Science Monitor wrote in a 1998 review of her third novel. "She's also the most entertaining. You'd have to be a stone to read Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! without laughing and crying. The cliches in this novel are deep-fat fried: not particularly nutritious, but entirely delicious."

The New York Times, also reviewing Baby Girl, took note of the spinning-yarns-on-the-front-porch quality to her work: "Even when she prattles -- and she prattles a great deal during this book -- you are always aware that a star is at work. She has that gift that certain people from the theater have, of never boring the audience. She keeps it simple, she keeps it bright, she keeps it moving right along -- and, most of all, she keeps it beloved."

But, lest she be pegged as simply a champion of the good ol’ days, it's worth noting that her writing can be something of a clarion call for social change. In Fried Green Tomatoes, Flagg comments not only on the racial divisions of the South but also on the minimization of women in both the 1930s and contemporary life. Just as Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison commit to a life together -- without menfolk -- in the Depression-era days of Whistle Stop, Alabama, middle-aged Evelyn Couch in modern-day Birmingham discovers the joys of working outside the home and defining her life outside meeting the every whim of her husband.

On top of her writing, Flagg has also stumped for the Equal Rights Amendment.

"I think it's time that women have to stand up and say we do not want to be seen in a demeaning manner," Flagg told a Premiere magazine reporter in an interview about the film adaptation of Fried Green Tomatoes.

Good To Know

Flagg approximated the length of her first novel by weight. Her editor told her a novel should be around 400 pages. "So I weighed 400 pages and it came to two pounds and something," she told the Los Angeles Times in 1987. " I wrote until I had two pounds and something, and, as it happened, the novel was just about done."

She landed the Candid Camera gig while a writer at a New York comedy club. When one of the performers couldn't go on, Flagg acted as understudy, and the show's host, Allen Funt, was in the audience.

Flagg went undiagnosed for years as a dyslexic until a viewer casually mentioned it to her in a fan letter.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Elmwood Springs, Missouri.

Monday, April 1

9:28 am, 74 degrees and sunny

After Elner Shimfissle accidentally poked that wasps’ nest up in her fig tree, the last thing she remembered was thinking “Uh-oh.” Then, the next thing she knew, she was lying flat on her back in some hospital emergency room, wondering how in the world she had gotten there. There was no emergency room at the walk-in clinic at home, so she figured she had to be at least as far away as Kansas City. “Good Lord,” she thought. “Of all the crazy things to have happen this morning.” She had just wanted to pick a few figs and make a jar of fig preserves for that nice woman who had brought her a basket of tomatoes. And now here she was with some boy wearing a green shower cap and a green smock, looking down at her, all excited, talking a mile a minute to five other people running around the room, also in green shower caps, green smocks, and little green paper booties on their feet. Elner suddenly wondered why they weren’t wearing white anymore. When had they changed that rule? The last time she had been to a hospital was thirty-four years ago, when her niece, Norma, had given birth to Linda; they had all worn white then. Her next-door neighbor Ruby Robinson, a bona fide professional registered nurse, still wore white, with white shoes and stockings and her snappy little cap with the wing tips. Elner thought white looked more professional and doctorlike than the wrinkly, baggy green things these people had on, and it wasn’t even a pretty green to boot.

She had always loved a good neat uniform, but the last time her niece and her niece’s husband had taken her to the picture show, she had been disappointed to see that the movie ushers no longer wore uniforms. In fact, they didn’t even have ushers anymore; you had to find your own seat. “Oh well,” thought Elner, “they must have their reasons.”

Then she suddenly began to wonder if she had turned off her oven before she had gone out in the yard to pick figs; or if she had fed her cat, Sonny, his breakfast yet. She also wondered what that boy in the ugly green shower cap and those other people leaning over, busy poking at her, were saying. She could see their lips moving all right, but she had not put her hearing aid on this morning, and all she could hear was a faint beeping noise, so she decided to try to take a little nap and wait for her niece Norma to come get her. She needed to get back home to check on Sonny and her stove, but she was not particularly looking forward to seeing her niece, because she knew she was going to get fussed at, but good. Norma was a highly nervous sort of a person and, after Elner’s last fall, had told her time and time again, not to get up on that ladder and pick figs. Norma had made her promise to wait and let Macky, Norma’s husband, come over and do it for her; and now not only had Elner broken a promise, this trip to the emergency room was sure to cost her a pretty penny.

A few years ago, when her neighbor Tot Whooten had gotten that needle-nosed hound fish stuck in her leg and wound up in the emergency room, Tot said they had charged her a small fortune. On reflection, Elner now realized that she probably should have called Norma; she had thought about calling, but she hadn’t wanted to bother poor Macky for just a few figs. Besides, how could she know there was a wasps’ nest up in her tree? If it weren’t for them, she would have been up and down that ladder with her figs, making fig preserves by now, and Norma would have been none the wiser. It was the wasps’ fault; they had no business being up there in the first place. But at this point she knew that all the excuses in the world would not hold much water with Norma. “I’m in big trouble now,” she thought, before she drifted off. “I may have just lost ladder privileges for life.”

8:11 am

Earlier that morning Norma Warren, a still pretty brunette woman in her sixties, had been at home thumbing through her Linens for Less catalog, trying to decide whether or not to order the yellow tone-on- tone floral design chenille bedspread, or the cool seersucker 100-percent-cotton-with-plenty-of-pucker in sea foam green with ribbon stripes on a crisp white background, when her aunt’s neighbor, and Norma’s beautician, Tot Whooten, had called and informed her that her Aunt Elner had fallen off the ladder again. Norma had hung up the phone and immediately run to the kitchen sink and thrown cold water in her face to keep herself from fainting. She had a tendency to faint when she was upset. Then she quickly picked up the wall phone and dialed her husband Macky’s cell phone number at work.

Macky, who was the manager of the hardware department at The Home Depot out at the mall, glanced at the readout of the number calling and answered.

“Hey, what’s up?”

“Aunt Elner’s fallen off the ladder again!” said Norma frantically. “You’d better get over there right now. God knows what she’s broken. She could be lying over in her yard, dead for all I know. I told you we should have taken that ladder away from her!”

Macky, who had been married to Norma for forty-three years and was used to her fits of hysteria, particularly where her Aunt Elner was concerned, said, “All right, Norma, just calm down, I’m sure she’s fine. She hasn’t killed herself yet, has she?”

“I told her not to get on that ladder again, but does she listen to me?”

Macky started walking toward the door, past plumbing supplies, and spoke to a man on the way out. “Hey, Jake, take over for me. I’ll be right back.”

Norma continued talking a mile a minute in his ear. “Macky, call me the minute you get there, and let me know, but if she’s dead, don’t even tell me, I can’t handle a tragedy right now. . . . Oh I could just kill her. I knew something like this was going to happen.”

“Norma, just hang up and try to relax, go sit in the living room, and I’ll call you in a few minutes.”

“This is it, I am taking that ladder away from her as of today. The very idea of an old woman like her . . .”

“Hang up, Norma.”

“She could have broken every bone in her body.”

“I’ll call you,” he said, and hung up.

Macky walked out to the back parking lot, got in his Ford SUV and headed over to Elner’s house. He had learned the hard way; whenever there was a problem with Aunt Elner, having Norma there only made matters worse, so he made Norma stay at home until he could get to Elner’s and size up the situation.

After Macky hung up, Norma ran into the living room like he had said to do, but she certainly could not calm down or even sit down until he called to tell her everything was all right. I swear to God, she thought, if she hasn’t killed herself this time, not only am I taking that ladder away from

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Elmwood Springs, Missouri.
Monday, April 1
9:28 am, 74 degrees and sunny After Elner Shimfissle accidentally poked that wasps' nest up in her fig tree, the last thing she remembered was thinking "Uh-oh." Then, the next thing she knew, she was lying flat on her back in some hospital emergency room, wondering how in the world she had gotten there. There was no emergency room at the walk-in clinic at home, so she figured she had to be at least as far away as Kansas City. "Good Lord," she thought. "Of all the crazy things to have happen this morning." She had just wanted to pick a few figs and make a jar of fig preserves for that nice woman who had brought her a basket of tomatoes. And now here she was with some boy wearing a green shower cap and a green smock, looking down at her, all excited, talking a mile a minute to five other people running around the room, also in green shower caps, green smocks, and little green paper booties on their feet. Elner suddenly wondered why they weren't wearing white anymore. When had they changed that rule? The last time she had been to a hospital was thirty-four years ago, when her niece, Norma, had given birth to Linda; they had all worn white then. Her next-door neighbor Ruby Robinson, a bona fide professional registered nurse, still wore white, with white shoes and stockings and her snappy little cap with the wing tips. Elner thought white looked more professional and doctorlike than the wrinkly, baggy green things these people had on, and it wasn't even a pretty green to boot. She had always loved a good neat uniform, but the last time her niece and her niece's husband had taken her to the picture show, she had been disappointed to see that the movie ushers no longer wore uniforms. In fact, they didn't even have ushers anymore; you had to find your own seat. "Oh well," thought Elner, "they must have their reasons." Then she suddenly began to wonder if she had turned off her oven before she had gone out in the yard to pick figs; or if she had fed her cat, Sonny, his breakfast yet. She also wondered what that boy in the ugly green shower cap and those other people leaning over, busy poking at her, were saying. She could see their lips moving all right, but she had not put her hearing aid on this morning, and all she could hear was a faint beeping noise, so she decided to try to take a little nap and wait for her niece Norma to come get her. She needed to get back home to check on Sonny and her stove, but she was not particularly looking forward to seeing her niece, because she knew she was going to get fussed at, but good. Norma was a highly nervous sort of a person and, after Elner's last fall, had told her time and time again, not to get up on that ladder and pick figs. Norma had made her promise to wait and let Macky, Norma's husband, come over and do it for her; and now not only had Elner broken a promise, this trip to the emergency room was sure to cost her a pretty penny. A few years ago, when her neighbor Tot Whooten had gotten that needle-nosed hound fish stuck in her leg and wound up in the emergency room, Tot said they had charged her a small fortune. On reflection, Elner now realized that she probably should have called Norma; she had thought about calling, but she hadn't wanted to bother poor Macky for just a few figs. Besides, how could she know there was a wasps' nest up in her tree? If it weren't for them, she would have been up and down that ladder with her figs, making fig preserves by now, and Norma would have been none the wiser. It was the wasps' fault; they had no business being up there in the first place. But at this point she knew that all the excuses in the world would not hold much water with Norma. "I'm in big trouble now," she thought, before she drifted off. "I may have just lost ladder privileges for life." 8:11 am Earlier that morning Norma Warren, a still pretty brunette woman in her sixties, had been at home thumbing through her Linens for Less catalog, trying to decide whether or not to order the yellow tone-on- tone floral design chenille bedspread, or the cool seersucker 100-percent-cotton-with-plenty-of-pucker in sea foam green with ribbon stripes on a crisp white background, when her aunt's neighbor, and Norma's beautician, Tot Whooten, had called and informed her that her Aunt Elner had fallen off the ladder again. Norma had hung up the phone and immediately run to the kitchen sink and thrown cold water in her face to keep herself from fainting. She had a tendency to faint when she was upset. Then she quickly picked up the wall phone and dialed her husband Macky's cell phone number at work. Macky, who was the manager of the hardware department at The Home Depot out at the mall, glanced at the readout of the number calling and answered. "Hey, what's up?" "Aunt Elner's fallen off the ladder again!" said Norma frantically. "You'd better get over there right now. God knows what she's broken. She could be lying over in her yard, dead for all I know. I told you we should have taken that ladder away from her!" Macky, who had been married to Norma for forty-three years and was used to her fits of hysteria, particularly where her Aunt Elner was concerned, said, "All right, Norma, just calm down, I'm sure she's fine. She hasn't killed herself yet, has she?" "I told her not to get on that ladder again, but does she listen to me?" Macky started walking toward the door, past plumbing supplies, and spoke to a man on the way out. "Hey, Jake, take over for me. I'll be right back." Norma continued talking a mile a minute in his ear. "Macky, call me the minute you get there, and let me know, but if she's dead, don't even tell me, I can't handle a tragedy right now. . . . Oh I could just kill her. I knew something like this was going to happen." "Norma, just hang up and try to relax, go sit in the living room, and I'll call you in a few minutes." "This is it, I am taking that ladder away from her as of today. The very idea of an old woman like her . . ." "Hang up, Norma." "She could have broken every bone in her body." "I'll call you," he said, and hung up. Macky walked out to the back parking lot, got in his Ford SUV and headed over to Elner's house. He had learned the hard way; whenever there was a problem with Aunt Elner, having Norma there only made matters worse, so he made Norma stay at home until he could get to Elner's and size up the situation. After Macky hung up, Norma ran into the living room like he had said to do, but she certainly could not calm down or even sit down until he called to tell her everything was all right. I swear to God, she thought, if she hasn't killed herself this time, not only am I taking that ladder away from.
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Reading Group Guide

1. When Aunt Elner falls out of her fig tree, she embarks upon a journey she never could have anticipated. Describe Elner’s surprising view of heaven. How does it compare with your own idea of the afterlife, or the conceptions held by various world cultures and religions? On a personal note, what do you hope is waiting for you on the other side of the pearly gates?

2. Elmwood Springs is a tightly knit community in which everyone seems to know his neighbor’s business. For the Warrens, what are some of the benefits of living in a small town?  On the other hand, what are some of the drawbacks? How does your own hometown compare with Elmood Springs? Would you ever wish to move into Elner’s quirky neighborhood? Why or why not?

3. Describe Norma and Macky’s relationship, and how their marriage grows throughout the course of the novel. What bumps in the road have the Warrens endured? What keeps their marriage strong?

4. On her ascent to heaven, Elner climbs a crystal staircase; meanwhile, Ernest Koontz drives up to destiny in a brand new Cadillac convertible with heated seats. Consider your own wildest fantasy about heaven; how would you choose to arrive in style?

5. Norma and Tot’s long-standing friendship is challenged by Tot’s persistent negativity. Do you, like Aunt Elner, naturally embrace a positive outlook on life? Or, like Norma, do you strive, day by day, to “replace a negative thought with a positive”? Or, like Tot, do you prefer to “tell it like it is”?  How does Norma choose to handle her differences with Tot? And how do the two friends manage to reconcile in the end?

6. For Elner, meeting her hero, Thomas Edison, is a dream come true. Which figures from history would top your own list of people you’d like to meet in heaven?

7. What message does Raymond impart to Elner about the meaning of life, and how does this view compare with your own beliefs?

8. If heaven allowed you to re-experience an episode, a place, or a time from your past, like Aunt Elner’s trip fifty years back in time to Neighbor Dorothy’s on First Avenue North, what scene or event would you choose to revisit, and why?

9. Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven is as much a mystery as a comedy. Do you think Elner truly died and went to heaven? What do members of Elner’s family believe? Next, just what is the truth behind the strange golf shoe? And what about Ida’s hidden family Bible? Finally, discuss the mystery of Elner’s loaded gun; were you surprised at the truth behind the mystery?

10. Reading Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven is like taking an antidote to the almost constant stream of bad news that surrounds us in our modern world. Tot voices something we all feel: “I always try to put on a happy face, but it’s getting harder and harder to keep up a good attitude…..Nostradamus, CNN, all the papers, according to them, we are on the brink of total annihilation at any second.” How did this novel make you feel about the state of the world today?

11. Elner touched the lives of many people in her community, from the ambitious journalist Cathy Calvert, to the troubled, misunderstood Luther Griggs, to the reformed lawyer Winston Sprague. How does Elner relate to so many different personalities? Describe Elner’s character and attitude toward people, problems, and life. Do you know anyone who shares Elner’s sensibility and talents for reaching out to others?

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Customer Reviews

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    Posted July 5, 2008

    A reviewer

    I was very disappointed in this book. I was looking forward to reading it because I loved Fried Green Tomatoes. The entire time I was reading it, I was trying to find something redeeming (good writing, humor, insight, something I didn't know). Everything that happens is so predictable and trite. Here's a bit of wisdom from the book: 'She took the advice Elner had given her and was living everyday as if it might be her last.' Or how about 'when your dead, people go through all your things, so if you have anything you don't want found, you better get rid of it before you go!' Shame on you Fannie. You cashed in on the reputation of FGT. I feel like I wasted the $14.00 this book cost.

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2012

    Okay, but not as good as other Fannie Flagg novels.

    Not as good as previous books by Fannie Flagg novels I read.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Just to let you know that for SURE there is a Heaven!

    I read this to my Dad in the hospital and the cute and quirky little heaven sightings really cheered him up and actually kind of rested his worried soul. What more could you ask for????

    It also is a great gift for NURSES. People who almost die and live to talk about what they saw would love this book. There is a peaceful feeling I can't explain after reading this cute story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2014

    Great fun as well as illuminating

    Anyone who doesn't love Fannie Flagg's books has never read one. Being from Green Bay, WI this book had particular appeal. Added to that is that I learned so much about females in aviation both as stunt performers as well as military pilots. It is laugh-out-loud as well as emotionally moving.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2013

    Love

    This book helped me through a loss in such a big way!

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  • Posted August 25, 2013

    I'm surprised by the poor reviews. I thought this was one of he

    I'm surprised by the poor reviews. I thought this was one of her best! Really enjoyed the characters and the after-life concept.

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  • Posted June 16, 2013

    I loved this book!  There are so many dark novels with dark char

    I loved this book!  There are so many dark novels with dark characters engaged in depraved activities lately, that a novel such at this one is like a breath of fresh air.  I've passed this one around to many friends who have also enjoyed it.  You will too, if you enjoy the occasional heartwarming story about good -hearted people. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2012

    A must read!

    Great author!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2012

    The Best

    This was my first Fanny Flagg book, I loved it most fun just to kick back and read. IS IT IMPOSSIBLE WHO KNOWS

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  • Posted October 3, 2011

    Great Book/Fast Reader

    I just started reading books by Fannie Flagg this year and am glad to say I found her.
    Her writing is very expressive; the characters just jump out at you. Great page turner;
    you don't want to put it down. Recommend reading this book for great enjoyment and
    laughter to boot.

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  • Posted June 10, 2011

    Love this book!!!!

    This is such a wonderful story.It's laugh out loud funny at times and makes you cry at other times.The characters are so real.,and have the best personalities you feel like you know them.I read this book and passed it on to all the women in my family.I hope,hope,hope that this becomes a movie someday.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2011

    A Must Read!

    Typical Fanny Flagg with yet another page turner that made my heart smile....

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  • Posted February 5, 2011

    The perfect "feel good" book!

    After seeing one bad news broadcast after the next, like Tot Whooten, it isn't hard to fall into a negative way of thinking that the world will soon come to an end. This book changes all that. The main character, Elner Shimfissle is an honest, believeable and innocent character but not one to be taken lightly. In times of trouble, she shows the needed fortitude that has helped her live 96 years but doesn't let trouble cloud her positive outlook on life. All of the characters in this book will remind us of people we all know but it isn't sappy, it isn't preachy and there is no sex in it because it doesn't need it. It is a book that stands out on the light hearted style of writing and keeps you wanting to read more. The epilogue winds up the book leaving you wanting to live in a town such as this, it even ends with recipes for dishes talked about in the book. This is one I want to keep on my shelf and read again.

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  • Posted January 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    wonderful!

    I just love the way Ms Flagg writes. An overall enjoyable read. highly recommended!

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  • Posted November 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Feel-good Southern Fiction

    Can't Wait to Get to Heaven is feel good Southern American fiction. It's about an elderly woman who falls off her ladder while picking figs and has an afterlife adventure while all her friends and family adjust to her sudden and unexpected death, and even more unexpected recovery. It's funny, sweet, and entertaining. A good read for people who want to reminisce about their own loved ones who've passed away, as well as people who just enjoy some good fluffy reading, with good moral and family values.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Fannie Flagg has another hit!

    "Can't Wait to Get to Heaven" was the only Fannie Flagg book I had not read, and now I can happily say I've read all of them. It was so good to meet up with old friends from "Welcome to the World, Baby Girl" and "Standing in the Rainbow," but you don't have to read them before enjoying this book.
    This was not about plot, but about how well Fannie writes about characters and especially those from the South. As a lifetime Northerner, I feel like I know these Southern folk a lot better after meeting them in her books. These seem to be the people of her childhood, and I treasure knowing them as well as I know the good folks with whom I grew up.
    Delightful to read...couldn't put it down. And I sent a copy to a friend of mine who shares my joy in these characters and has sent me some of Fannie Flagg's books.
    I don't question the theology of her view of heaven, just enjoy it!

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  • Posted August 25, 2009

    A must for your summer reading

    Fannie Flagg has come through once again. Her small town southern characters keep me coming back for more. It makes me long for a slower paced, small town life. I enjoyed this book so much that I gave it to my husband and then my sister to read.

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  • Posted January 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Note

    Story included in condensed version of 4 novels<BR/>"Selection Editions" by Readers Digest

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 3, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Side-splitting, can't put down book!

    The description of this book is so accurate. If you have ever had a Mrs. Elner Shimfissle in your family or circle of friends you can relate to this book and enjoy all the bizarre and amusing conversations she has in this book. Definitely a book to take to the beach or read on a weekend. You won't be able to put it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2008

    Loved it!

    Fannie Flagg is an amazing author, her books captivate you like nothing else. I recommend this book and all of her others for those who enjoy good, wholesome, heartfelt works of art.

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