embracing life and letting God

7.04.2010

The Healing Power of Small Towns

A Review of

A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg
Author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

  "A Redbird Christmas" - though the title suggests a Christmas theme, portions of the story surround the Christmas season, but is by no means only a Christmas time book. It is for any time of year.  A lovely read for a weekend trip to the beach or lazing at home on a weekend morning or even a book club book of the month.

This book was given to me by my late mother-in-law just before her last great battle against ovarian cancer a year and a half ago.  When her illness got 'complicated' so did our lives and I set this pretty little narrative to the side. 

I have been reading Jane Austen and other more dense writings of late. So, I decided it was time to pick up something a little lighter and quicker.  OK, to be quite honest, I needed to actually finish a book and feel some accomplishment!  There I said it.  "A Redbird Christmas" was just the answer I needed for light summer reading.  And I have to say, I really enjoyed it.  It was not terribly deep just sweet. 

A man escaping the bitter cold of his hometown, Chicago, finds emotional and physical healing in a small river town in Lost River, Alabama. A baby bird left for dead becomes the one hope for a little girl lost. The beauty with which Ms. Flagg describes the lush landscape is astonishingly accurate.  The Spanish moss, magnolias, pines, maples and pecan trees come to life as time seemingly stands still.

Welcomed with open arms, Mr. Campbell discovers the exquisiteness of a southern ladies charm, men who befriend at a handshake and a town that stands by his neighbor in every need, no matter what inconvenience it brings to his or her own life.  The folks of Lost River share everything that is theirs and show him all of the secrets the river and the elements surrounding it has to offer. He finds he spent his life waiting for something to happen when all along it was right there in front of him to take.  In the end he learns that hope is real and God still does miracles in this sleepy little town. 
"All the years of catechism, and years of drinking had not done it, but now, sitting in the silence, away from 'the whirl of society and the noise of city life', he felt himself becoming one with nature.  For the first time in his life he was at peace.  He finally caught a glimpse of what [his new friends] had been talking about.'

I felt my heart coming home at the portrayal of familiar surroundings I know and love so well. 

Brown spindle beds and white chenille bed spreads.
Birds singing in the sunrise and light that fills a room with glory.
Welcome baskets with pecans and scuppernong jelly.
Old momma who isn't quite right.
Camelia bushes blooming in the winter.
Bungalow homes within walking distance of the post office and corner store.
Everyone knows you even before they have met you.
Fresh vegetables, pot-luck dishes, and the best desserts on the earth.
A neighbor that would drop everything to help another.
Family feuds.
A widow that opens her home for a stranger or a child with no family.
Life and death.


I simply felt at home.  Having spent every summer at my grandmother Cola Dean's house in Loxely, AL and traveled all over Baldwin County on mini field trips with her and my Aunt Sarah, I know these places.  They are engrained in my memory and remind me of some of the happiest times of my life as a child.  I am and always will be a small town girl at heart. 

To further preserve Southern tradition, Ms. Flagg includes delicious southern recipes named for the characters of Lost River, AL.  Fried Mullet, Squash Casserole, and Pecan Pie to name a few.  Yum! So, if you are looking for a quick and enjoyable read you will enjoy "A Redbird Christmas".

From my heart to yours,

Parental warning: There is some language in this book - the 'd' word mostly spattered throughout.
Disclaimer: I received this product as a gift. Reviews are strictly my personal opinion of product.

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