Wednesday 22 December 2010

A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg

Pages - 207

Published by Vintage in 2005

Everywhere she looked, for as far as she could see, was absolutely white, until all of a sudden she saw a flash of a powerful, incredible red streak by the window, then two, then four. When she leaned out and looked down, she saw that the ground was filled with big red camellias that must have fallen off the bushes. It was not until she saw one fly away the she realized that the whole yard was alive with redbirds!

I am so glad that I managed to find this gorgeous little book by Fannie Flagg, it really did give me a glow in my heart.  Fannie Flagg is one of those authors who makes you believe that miracles really do happen.  Her books are just so heartwarming to read and full of surprises and wonder. 

This is a rather short book but packed full to the brim of interesting and heartwarming characters. The book begins with Oswald, a depressed former alcoholic who has been given months to live. After reading a brochure given to him by his doctor, he decides to move from the bitter cold of Chicago to the warmer climate of Lost River, Alabama.  Oswald is a pitiful character, who cannot see a future to get excited about and it is lovely to see how his whole persona is transformed during his time at Lost River. He changes from someone who cannot see any further than his death to a self made man with a rosy future and an instant family.

Lost River is a town full of Golden Girls and Steel Magnolias. These women are very strong characters and reminded me a lot of the female characters in Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistlestop Cafe.  They are self sufficient and help to create a warm welcome  to all the lost souls that wander into Lost River. 

Two of the main characters within the book are rather unusual leads.  Firstly, there is Jack the rare Red Cardinal, which was saved from death by the local shop owner Pat. You cannot help but love Jack as he mixes with the characters in the book.  He is loved by all, as he creates havoc.  He is especially loved by the second unusual lead character, Patsy, the trailer park child with  a crippled leg. Both of these characters will grab hold of your emotions from their first appearance and tie your heartstrings into knots.  You cannot help but laugh and cry at their adventures.

This is a truly wonderful heartwarming book. I would love to say I had nothing bad to comment on it, but I do have two minor irritations.

Firstly the copy of the book that I now own had loads of spelling mistakes. Well I think they were spelling mistakes unless drug stores are now known as drag stores. Or maybe the little girl liked to also be known as Pasty! 
Now I know I am not always on the ball with my spellings and my grammar, but you can't buy my blog from a book store! I just wish the editors had been a little more meticulous when proofreading the final copy.

Secondly, the ending slightly bothered me. Everything was wrapped up a little too quickly and a little too neatly for my liking. It would have been more enjoyable if the ending had been longer, giving the character's wrap up more of a natural development.

I definitely want to read more by Fannie Flagg and hope to get hold of her other books soon. Perhaps I will have a Fannie Flagg month next year too.


  1. Loving our robin redbreast as I do this book sounds wonderful despite the spelling mistakes and as its panto season I love the idea of a 'drag' store.

  2. I think this was my favorite Christmas book EVER - loved it. Your cover is so pretty.

  3. I listened to this a few years ago - best Christmas audio ever! Glad I couldn't see the spelling mistakes...

  4. I've read a few books by Fannie Flagg and enjoyed all of them! Sorry to hear about all the spelling errors in this one, though. As an editor, that's exactly the type of thing that irritates me enough to put a book down!

  5. Oh, I love Fannie Flagg books, but too bad about the spelling mistakes! I hate when that happens....

  6. So glad you enjoyed this one Viv! I read it last winter and it was the perfect holiday treat. A little cheesy and too perfectly wrapped up, like you say, but just cozy.

    Is this your first Flagg? Can I recommend Daisy May (fay?) and the Miracle Man? LOVE that book. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is also a good one (plus a movie to watch afterward!)

  7. I read this a few Christmas' ago and loved it! It's one of my favorite books. My only complaint is I wished it had been much longer. Glad you enjoyed it Viv!

  8. This sounds like such a cozy read! Glad to hear you enjoyed it.

  9. This sounds really sweet. And what a cute cover. I can imagine the spelling mistakes would be annoying.

  10. I am a true fan of Fannie Flagg and received her new release for Chirstmas. It is safely nestled under the tree right now!
    Merry Christmas...

  11. Ooh, shame about the spelling errors, that would have really bothered me as well. Years ago I read Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle-Stop Cafe and tried reading other books by Fannie Flagg - None of which I loved as much.

    Shame, I have this book and bought it a few months ago in the hopes that it would be read around Christmastime. Obviously missed out on that one, maybe next year!


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