Friday, April 13, 2007

Good for a laugh, a cry and a few deep thoughts

I finished Fannie Flagg's "Can't Wait to Get to Heaven" and all I can say is, "Wow! You have GOT to read this book." My initial thought was, how good could a book be if the author's name is Fannie? I mean, really, I had visions of authentic redneck, sweet Southern tea, down home, back woods kind of reading.

But I was wrong. Yes, it's down home, yes it's kind of backwoods, but you know what? It's a fantastic book. The main character, Elner Shimfissle, is an 80-something woman who is down-to-earth, honest, warm and funny. She could be anybody's crazy old aunt or slightly nutty grandmother. She has touched many, many lives during her years on earth by just being who she is. She cracks me up with her no-nonsense attitude towards life, her love of figs, cats and snails and her fascination with the unanswerable chicken or the egg question. She dies, goes to what is her version of heaven, comes back to life, then dies again.

Almost the entire book is based on the impact her first death has on all those who know her and have been touched by her in one way or another, from a simple act of kindness because she felt bad about feeding an annoying neighbor kid candy laced with Ex-Lax to committing a felony to protect a retarded girl and her mother. Everything she has done during her life touched someone and Flagg lets us see how those small acts that changed lives.

It really made me think about the way people treat each other, and how the small things can mean so much to someone else when to us, they may mean very little. The book really reminds readers to just be nice to everyone because you never know how that small kindness, warm word or fresh slice of caramel cake can impact someone's life. Elner also reminds us to live every day as if you don't expect to live another moment and to savor every sunset because it is the most beautiful show ever created.

And in the end, it really doesn't matter what came first, the chicken or the egg, as long as you treat life like the gift it is and simply be kind to each other.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Interesting... I've got to put that book on my list.