Southern Belles and Estate Agents:trickery and manners

Fannie Flagg: Book Review I Still Dream About You:

3.5 stars

I very much liked the style of writing with short chapters and clear sentences. It was a very interesting take or illumination is you prefer, on Southern Belle manners and the rigidity of the ideas about what women should do, how they do it and what they could say and wear etc…

I thought that the social commentary that underlay the story about the struggles of beautiful women and the careers that they think are appropriate or possible because of their beauty and their disappointments when things don’t work out that way was very well put. In a very gentle way. All too often they think that because they are beautiful – or that some people think that they are beautiful – eg because they won a beauty contest, they can have a career as a model and don’t take any practical training as a result. You see this in so many young women on the TV – I admire the actresses and models that realise that they should train for a different career as you cannot rely on beauty forever.

Also, it was interesting to read about someone who didn’t like the all too common desecration of heritage and the tearing down of old property to replace it with a shopping mall or what I call ‘footballer bling’ (I have seen quite a few lovely house torn down this way as they had no preservation order on them) and which is a result of lax planning laws and conservation areas. Of course, I speak as one who lives in a conservation area here and thus someone who loves to keep heritage. Trickery – as shown in the book – though doesn’t always pay, sometimes manners triumph…

There was also a sub-story about the death of towns that relied on manufacturing and had not found alternative means of employment and the decline of the High Street and the growth of shopping malls. (Interesting here that the recent UK figures are showing that malls are losing more money than High Streets at the moment, so perhaps some people are returning to their local shops – I do hope so as I am involved in trying to encourage this locally to me!)

I assume from reading this story that there is no mandatory retirement age in the US and so I really liked the oldest estate agent in the US… I did like Hazel as a character too but would have found very hard indeed to work with! She was just too off the wall and relentlessly happy – she would have been very tiring all day, every day.

PS Fannie Flagg also wrote Fried Green Tomatoes

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