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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 15 June 2007
I have loved some of Fannie Flagg's other books, especially 'Fried Green Tomaotoes...', and was looking forward to this one. As always, an easy, pleasant read, but perhaps this time just a bit too easy. Fried Green T, "Welcome to the World Baby Girl" and even "Standing in The Rainbow" had enough edge for the sweeteness to work, but I found this one distinctly sacharine. Characters whom I enjoyed in other books seemed self-conciously quirky in this one, and the 'heaven' scenes made my skin crawl. If you just love Flaggs books as a safe place to go, this one will probably work fine, if you enjoy the stronger, more orginal side of her writing, I think this one may disappoint.
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My wife and I have both just finished devouring Fannie Flagg's latest and much longer (359 delicious and precious pages) novel - "Can't Wait To Get To Heaven" - and we both laughed out loud dozens of time as we read. We each also pronounced it the most amusing and moving yet and another masterpiece - indeed, a total triumph. The author brings to life - and death - many of the great characters from her earlier books and from 'Elmwood Springs,' Missouri, notably Mrs Elner Shimfissle, 'Neighbor' Dorothy, Macky and Norma Warren, 'poor Tot' Whooten, and some we hadn't across before, such as Boots Carroll, La Shawnda McWilliams, the Reverend Susie Hill, and, of course, the very surprising 'Raymond,' as well as famous pet friends, 'Princess Mary Margaret,' the old cocker spaniel, and 'Sonny,' the name borne by several successive orange cats. Not all are examples of the small-town neighbours and relatives we would all want to know and love: inevitably, the world of the splendid Elner Shimfissle also contains the nasty Winston Sprague, the awful Franklin Pixton, and the 'changed' Gus Shimmer. I have compared Fannie Flagg with Charles Dickens before: in my humble but reverential opinion, the former surpasses the latter by a mile. Her writing is of exceptionally high quality, her ingenuity of thought is mind-blowing, and her book producing is second to none. My wife and I, her devoted English fans from over the Ocean, love Fannie Flagg's books - and "Can't Wait To Get To Heaven" is the best of a great bunch - get it now!
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on 8 January 2007
You probably know what your in for when you buy this book, but i was still totally enthralled. Yes its schmaltzy and happy but sometimes it's nice to read something that puts a real smile on your face and a warm cosy feeling inside, and much to my surprise this did it for me. So if your in the mood for a well written, lovely story i would highly recommend this.
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on 15 August 2007
I loved this book, It took me a while to get into but once I did I couldn't put it down. Elner reminded me so much of Ninny Threadgoode played by Jessica Tandy in Fried Green Tomatoes. I thought the book was thought provoking & comforting in what may lay 'beyond the grave' The characters came alive for me & all in all a very good read.
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on 12 September 2011
I'm reading this yet again. I love all Fannie Flagg writings, and I know its silly but I am pretty convinced its 'all real'... a kind of Utopia where the characters are familiar, and you feel you really would be welcome round at Elners place.

its moving and comforting. Hang on past the heavenly bits if they annoy you, because it really is one of those feel-good novels.
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on 14 August 2007
Easy to read but I found myself skimming pages rather than holding my breath to find out what happened next. The homespun wisdom and non judgemental tone were familiar but the story lacked bite and substance. To be honest it felt more like a religious tract of the sort that get handed out by strangers on brightly coloured matt paper... but a well written one.
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Everyone has weak spots when it comes to literature. I love the stories of Fannie Flagg or Patricia Neal to give her real name. Ever since I read Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe I have been a fan.

On the surface Flagg's books have a naive feel to them, but underneath they make a whole host of comments about human nature. By and large her characters are hometown Americans - the salt of the earth. Her books always see good prevail and at times the people are just too good to be true.

But her observations are very sharp and there is wit and humanity running through them all. Last year I found A Redbird Christmas just a little too sentimentally cloying. Can't Wait to Get to Heaven finds a better balance - never becoming over mawkish. I have to day that at one point I did begin to struggle when the main character "dies" and is ushered into the presence of a God who looks surprisingly like a former neighbour. Here the tale stretched reality just too thinly.

Thankfully after skating on the brink, the story pulls itself back to life - just as the main character does. It is essentially the story of Elner Shimfissle, a minor character in some of the previous Flagg novels. One day she falls out of a fig tree, is certified dead at the hospital, meets God, and comes back to life. Yes I know it sounds ridiculous but Flagg just about gets away with it.

The rest of the novel introduces us to many already well known characters from the world of Elmwood Springs and relates just how Elner touched their lives and there is also a mystery story in how peace loving Elner came to have a gun and what the secret is behind it.

As with most of Flagg's books all loose ends are tied up and you get to a point in this novel where you realise that process is just beginning. Although the storyline of this might be more implausible than in many of her novels there is no doubting that once again Flagg has come up with an easy to read moralistic story of everyday country folk.
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on 15 April 2016
Billed as a comedy, this was taking it a bit far, but it was a feel good book with some funny moments which I felt compelled to share with the family! I read this for a book club and couldn't believe how much conversation the book led to - we covered the full range of emotions - spiritual thoughts, prejudices, inclusion, what a great conversation starter.
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VINE VOICEon 9 August 2007
Elner Shimfissle is an elderly lady (no-one knows quite how old because the family Bible was lost) who decides to pick some figs to make jam. One minute she is up the tree and the next, having been stung by wasps, she is in the hospital. So starts a series of knock-on events that make up this novel. (It's impossible to say too much without giving too much away!)

I usually love Fannie Flagg books, so approached this one with my normal enthusiasm, thinking that it would be like the written equivalent of 'comfort food.' However, 'Can't Wait to Get to Heaven' was something of a disappointment. The characters weren't as well drawn as usual and there was little plot (unlike the wonderful 'Fried Green Tomatoes') It was Ok if you really need a Fannie Flagg fix, but I think that regular fans may be a little disappointed.
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on 7 March 2016
Okay but not read any other Fanny Flagg books. This was a one off for a book club I belong too. Not really the sort of thing I would have chosen. It seems to come highly recommended so perhaps it was just me.
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