The Whole Town’s Talking
By: Fannie Flagg
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 2016
Forrest Gump said, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.” And this story is like that. It is an easy and fun read.
If you are a fan of the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, well Fannie Flagg is the author of that book. And you will love this one!
The story follows the town from the date it is established, 1880 to the year 2016, followed by an Epilogue of 2021. Characters live and characters die. Children grow up, get married, and have children of their own. Some folks are happy and some are miserable.
The Whole Town’s Talking takes place in the small town of Elmwood Springs, Missouri. It begins in 1880 with the founder, Lordor Nordstrom. At age twenty-eight, Nordstrom left Sweden to travel to the United States. He settled in Missouri and cleared land for a farm. Soon he advertised in the Swedish-American newspapers for young farmers to come and help him start a community.
By 1889, the community was growing and known as Swede Town, even though two Germans and one Norwegian lived there. It was this year that Nordstorm donated land for a cemetery. The cemetery was on top of a hill that overlooked the town and Nordstorm named it Still Meadows.
Nordstorm decided he needed a wife and with the lack of unmarried women in the community, he advertised for a mail-order bride. Katrina Olsen, a Swede living in Chicago, answered the advertisement and in 1890, the two got married.
While Nordstorm is a main character in the book, he and Katrina are by means the only ones. After all, there is a whole town!
As the years go by, the name of the town is changed to Elmwood Springs. Children are born and a school is built. In 1901, Miss Lucille Beemer is hired as the first school teacher.
Flagg’s colorful description of the small bucolic town puts the reader right there on the spot. She draws the reader into the lives of each character and shows how their lives are intertwined. Some characters are very likable and others not so much. Flagg keeps you guessing as to what is going to happen and to whom it will happen.
Some of my favorite scenes in this story take place at Still Meadows, the cemetery.
I invite you to read The Whole Town’s Talking and meet the Lordor and Katrina Nordstorm and their children. Get to know folks by the name of Swensen, Knott, Eggstrom, Tildholme, Shimfissle, Hendersen, Warren, and others. Meet Miss Beemer and Sweet Potato, the pig.
The book has sections titled such as, “And So It Begins…,” “The 1900s, a New Era,” “The Twenties, All the Wonderful Things in Store,” “The Thirties, The Show Must Go On,” and other amusing titles for each decade.
Chapter titles are just as much fun such as “A Change of Address,” “Reunited,” “More Good Friends,” “Fun at Still Meadows,” and “It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got That Swing.”
Read this book to learn who goes off to war, who marries whom, who gets murdered and how the murder gets solved, and which colorful character meets Bonnie and Clyde and Harry and Bess Truman.
You will be pleasantly surprised as to how this story develops and ends.
Some other books by Fannie Flagg:
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café (1987)
Welcome to the World, Baby Girl (1998)
A Redbird Christmas (2004)
Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven (2006)
The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion (2013)
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