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Can't Wait to Get to Heaven: 10/29/07
Can't Wait to Get to Heaven is the current popular book in the Tri-Valley BookCrossing group. I had my chance to read it this past month and while I enjoyed it I didn't find it as strong or compelling a story as Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.
Can't Wait to Get to Heaven is a fluffy fantasy that presents the afterlife much in the way that it was done in the Oh God! movies. I was almost picturing Ray (God) and Dorothy (Goddess) as George Burns and Gracie Allen (yes I know, she wasn't in the film but there is a Gracie-ness to Dorothy).
The book had my attention for the first half where Elner Shimfissle (a minor character in previous Flagg books I haven't read) has died and her friends and family must come to terms with her death while meanwhile, Elner is up in Heaven examining her life and death. These initial chapters were an interesting balance of pathos and humor.
Then the book changes direction and becomes a cheesy remake of It's a Wonderful Life and I started to lose interest. The entire tone of the novel changed and I felt like I was reading a Carl Hiaasen novel instead of a Fannie Flagg one. This change was jarring and the punchline ending fell flat for me.
So while I didn't love the novel, I didn't hate it either. I just thought it could have been better.