A Very Welcoming Book

by Anne S.

A novel must be well written, informative, engaging, and bite into my emotions so that when I close the book, it takes me awhile to revert to the mere mortal that I am. Looking back over the variety of fiction books I have read, Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! by Fannie Flagg ranks, for me, as one of the best in the past ten years.

As I read the book, I found myself involved in the protagonist’s life, trying in vain to tell her what she should do, practically throwing the book across the room as the story progressed, but holding back because I had to see what transpired in the next chapter.

One of my prerequisites for a good novel is the ability of the author to lasso me in and hold me captive. Ms.Flagg, in this book, did more than that. She also took hold of my emotions to the point where I wasn’t just a mere observer, but I became one of the characters. Sometimes I was Dena Nordstrom, other times I crossed genders and was Gerry O’Malley. Then I transposed into Marion Chapman and something happened: I began—just began, mind you—to understand racial prejudice and its damning ways.

Over the years I have heard the cliché, “Walk a mile in another’s shoes,” in order to understand another person’s reasoning. With Welcome to the World, Baby Girl, I walked in every character’s shoes for far more than a mile, and as I finished reading the last chapter and closed the book, my perception of the world as I had known it, changed, and whether the change is for the better or for the worse, that’s what constitutes a very good book.

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