Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man

( 51 )

Overview

In Fannie Flagg’s high-spirited first novel, we meet Daisy Fay Harper in the spring of 1952, where she’s “not doing much except sitting around waiting for the sixth grade.” When she leaves Shell Beach, Mississippi, in September 1959, she is packed up and ready for the Miss America Pageant, vowing “I won’t come back until I’m somebody.” But in our hearts she already is.

Sassy and irreverent from the get-go, Daisy Fay takes us on a rollicking journey through her formative years on...

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Overview

In Fannie Flagg’s high-spirited first novel, we meet Daisy Fay Harper in the spring of 1952, where she’s “not doing much except sitting around waiting for the sixth grade.” When she leaves Shell Beach, Mississippi, in September 1959, she is packed up and ready for the Miss America Pageant, vowing “I won’t come back until I’m somebody.” But in our hearts she already is.

Sassy and irreverent from the get-go, Daisy Fay takes us on a rollicking journey through her formative years on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. There, at The End of the Road of the South, the family malt shop freezer holds unspeakable things, society maven Mrs. Dot hosts Junior Debutante meetings and shares inspired thoughts for the week (such as “sincerity is as valuable as radium”), and Daisy Fay’s Daddy hatches a quick-cash scheme that involves resurrecting his daughter from the dead in a carefully orchestrated miracle. Along the way, Daisy Fay does a lot of growing up, emerging as one of the most hilarious, appealing, and prized characters in modern fiction.

A detailed and hilarious look at life in the South during the fifties, from the bestselling author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A hilarious, endearing novel.”
–Los Angeles Times

“SHEER UNBEATABLE ENTERTAINMENT.”
–Cosmopolitan

“UNFORGETTABLE AND IRRESISTIBLE.”
–Chattanooga Free Press

“SIDE-SPLITTINGLY FUNNY.”
–Cleveland Plain Dealer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345485601
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/13/2005
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 77,990
  • Product dimensions: 5.17 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Fannie Flagg
Fannie Flagg
From plowing into a bank drive-thru for Candid Camera to getting an Oscar nomination for the screenplay of her second novel, Fannie Flagg's road to stardom has been a smidge unconventional. But, as the critics note, she serves up the literary equivalent of "big, juicy Middle American pie" in such novels as Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café and Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!

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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Reading Group Guide

1. The novel begins the day after Daisy Fay’s eleventh birthday and ends more than seven years later. How does the passage of time affect the way the story is told? Is the older Daisy Fay at the end very much like the child at the beginning?

2. In what ways is Daisy Fay a typical young girl and in what ways is she unique? What formative factors in her life stand out as unusual?

3. Do you agree that Daisy Fay’s parents should have separated? They both had their faults, but do you think more of the blame lies with one or the other?

4. Throughout the novel, Daisy Fay is drawn to people with certain characteristics, and she seems to form friendships effortlessly. How does she read people and assess their character? What is she seeking in her relationships, and does she always get it?

5. Why do you think the author uses the diary format for this novel?

6. Do you find any of the attitudes toward race that are expressed in the novel surprising? What is Daisy Fay’s attitude toward people she views as different from herself or from society at large?

7. Daisy Fay’s mother abandons her twice, once when she leaves Daisy’s father and a second time when she passes away. Do you think Daisy had a good relationship with her mother? In an era when women were predominantly homemakers, why do you think Daisy stayed with her father?

8. Do you think a similar story could have taken place in another part of the country? To what extent does the setting affect what happens in the novel?

9. A whole cast of colorful characters parade through the pages of the novel: Mrs. Dot, Peachy Wigham, Mr. Cecil . . .Can you think of someone like these characters in real life?

10. What is it about Kay Bob Benson that makes the reader love to hate her so much?

11. Why do you think Pickles and Daisy Fay stop being friends after Pickle gets pregnant? Do you think friendships can ever survive unscathed when people’s lives change dramatically?

12. What leads to Daisy Fay’s eventual success? What qualities does she have that make people warm up to her and want to help her?

13. For a large part of the novel Daisy Fay believes that her father and Jimmy Snow killed a man in order to keep her safe. To what extent do the people in Daisy Fay’s life protect her and to what extent do they act without regard to the impact their actions may have?

14. Who do you think is the “miracle man” in the title, and what miracle might he have performed?

15. While humor plays a large role in the novel, happy events are often tempered by tragedies that follow on their heels. How does Daisy Fay cope with unfortunate circumstances? Are Daisy’s attempts at humor always convincing?

16. In what way do you think Jimmy Snow was in love with Daisy Fay—like a daughter or more romantically? Do you think he should have told her?

17. Do you think Daisy Fay’s future after the novel ends will be bright? Why or why not? What might be in store for her beyond the last page?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 51 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(39)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 51 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2006

    A well written comedy

    This book is so wonderful, and some parts of it are so funny, i cry with laughter. I reccomended it to my Ganrdmother, who has enjoyed the book as well. She says that since I gave her the book, she thinks that whatever bold little Daisy Fay does, is me. This book glides over Daisy Fays family problems and different lifestyle during the 1950s. This book is so wonderfully written, that sometimes I believe that I am actually with Daisy Fay and participating in her adventures. I would reccomend this book to almost anyone I know.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2011

    Hilarious!

    I never laughed so much as when I read this book. We are taken into the world of a girl growing up at a time when it is supposed to be fun to be her age. Having to deal with nutty grownups throws her into a world that helps her to become what she is meant to be...a wonderful, intellegent, loving young girl. Ms. Flagg is one of my favorite authors. What a funny lady she is.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 3, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    SO HEART WARMING

    I must warn you that if you read this book, be prepared to have your heart stolen by a twelve year old girl called Daisy Fay. I love Ms. Flagg's books and this one is one of my favorites. It's as funny as can be, but sad too. Seeing the world through the eyes of this precocious twelve-year-old was a wonderful gift! Ms. Flagg's sense of time and place cannot be beat, and her characters are unforgettable. It's a story about a father and daughter. It certainly sheds a different light on the effect of disfunctional families on children. It made me realize that good can sometimes come out of a childhood like Daisy's That is, if you're strong, brave and have a wry sense of humour like she does. Be prepared to laugh out loud many times, and also be prepared to have tears threaten as you read. What a great book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2007

    A reviewer

    WOW this is the best book i've ever read!! And im only 11 years old!! I can kind of relate to the younger Daisy Fay in some ways, but she is just-- WOW!!! i actually just finished the book-- I WANT MORE DAISY FAY!!! Is there a sequil??

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2012

    Highly Recommend!

    This is one of the funniest books I have ever read. Only Fannie Flagg could write something so fabulous!

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  • Posted March 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Makes you double-up with laughter - But then you stop and think

    Makes you double-up with laughter - But then you stop and think how brilliantly this story captures this unique young lady - Then you become overjoyed at this heart warming story - Only because it is so true.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    Great book

    Must read for all

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  • Posted May 16, 2011

    ''Bible Beatdown''

    one of the funniest books you will ever read. Daisy Fay is such a loveable character!

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  • Posted May 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Light hearted reading, loved it!

    Story told in the south in 1952 by Daisy Fay who was eleven when the book opens. Hilarious!

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  • Posted August 15, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    One can relate to this one.

    Fun book with lots of excitment and fun characters. Had many chuckles throughout the story. If you would like simple fun reading you should check out ALL of Fannie Flaggs books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2006

    A MUST READ

    I love this book. In fact, I called my mother and read passages to her over the phone. We laughed together. When I finished I loaned the book to her, which she never returned. She and my younger sister had daily readings of the adventures of Daisy Faye. I too have purchased this several times because my friends never return it! I love Fanny Flagg she corresponded with a student of mine who was working on a book report. Fanny continued to correspond with my student long after the report was over. That spoke volumes about her committment to readers.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2005

    My Most Favorite Read!

    I LOVE this book. I've read it numerous times and belly-laughed-out-loud every single time. I recommend it to anyone I like, and have loaned, lost and repurchased it more times than I'd like to admit. Daisy Fay is a quirky, hilarious, charming, character of endearing contradictions. Her frank, unembarrased accounts of her growing up adventures completely remove her audience from their own world and immerse them in hers. Daisy Fay leaves nothing 'on the table'. Yes, there are some harsh realities in her life. But Daisy Fay is an energetic optimist with such an uncrushable spirit that those realities do not ruin the wonderfully humorous spirit her story, they just fill it out in a very satifying way. I'd give it more than 5 stars if that were an option!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2004

    hattiesburg is uppity

    This is definitely an underappreciated novel. Fannie Flagg's other work is so-so, but Daisy Fay is my favorite character of all. I've read it 4 times and lent it to many friends so that my copy is wearing out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2003

    this is the greatest book ever!!!

    I would have to say that this book is the one of the best books I have ever read. At times you find yourself laughing histerically, and at other times you feel like you are going to burst in tears. Fannie Flagg takes you on a six year journey with daisy Fay Harper, from when she's 11-18. I suggest this book to anyone who is for a book filled w/ comedy and life lessons! ENJOY!!!!!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2002

    Character Development Reveals Theme of Life's True Treasures

    Life's true treasures will only be acknowledged when the time comes that you accept your life and who you truly are; in "Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man" by Fannie Flagg, a young girl tells of her tride and true experiences of coming of age. Daisy Fay Harper is eleven years old and she has recently moved to the "undiscovered" town best know as Shell Beach, Mississippi. With a sassy attitude and an inner truth-telling heroine (who just can't stay out of trouble or out of peoples hearts) tells us absolutely everything. With her witty sense of humor, Daisy turns any situation into something we can all relate to and find somewhat hilarious at the same time. Not only does little Daisy Fay Harper grow up, but she experiences about as much "learning" as any human possibly could. The reoccurring literary element, by far is the character development which is clearly witnessed throughout this story. Every character develops, each one in its own different way; usually depending on the situation it is involved in and of course how the character handles the situation. In this case, Daisy Fay starts her journaling when she is about the age of eleven and continues to tell of her days until she is in her mid to late twenties. Readers can see her development, not only by the dates that she marks at every entry, but the change of how she expresses herself, how she thinks, the events she is faced with and how she handles them. When Daisy Fay first moves to Shell Beach her childish ways show through her childish behavior. As she ages, her maturity level and her adult experiences add to the development of her character.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2002

    I COULDN'T STOP LAUGHING

    This was, by far, one of the funniest books I have read in a long time. Almost every page made me laugh out loud. I was almost kicked out of our local barnes and noble for laughing too loud. I've passed it on to my mom and hope that she laughs just as, if not more, than I did. READ THIS BOOK!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2001

    The Funniest Book I've Ever Read!

    I could not put this book down once I started reading it. It was absolutely hilarious and it remindded me of the fun times I had with my best freind when I was 11 and 12. I would recommend this book to any female at any age- who can't relate to this wonderful coming of age story?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2001

    One of the Best!

    I couldn't put this book down! Definitely Fannie's best work! I felt 11 years old reading it! Very Funny and heartfelt. DO read this one!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2000

    FUNNIEST BOOK EVER!

    My niece and I first read this book under the title of Coming Attractions back in 1982. We have both read it too many times to count, sometimes reading it aloud to each other in tears laughing. We have an original hardback with a very dog eared jacket. It is just so real and vivid I can't believe that it has not been made into a movie. Then again, that might take away from this fantastic book. I have my own vision of Mr Cecil, Peachy Wigam and the bingo playing grandma.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2000

    I just keep coming back...

    Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man is by far the best book that Fannie Flagg has written to date. I have read them all, and although they are all very entertaining, and extremely well written, something just keeps bringing me back to this one. I laugh and cry every time I read it.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 51 Customer Reviews

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