Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man

1981, 1992 Time Warner edition
Fannie Flagg
Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man
Original price $7.99, bought used for 99 cents
Worn paperback

It's odd reading this book right after Ramona, since they both have moments where a child tries to crack an egg on his/her head, only to find it's not hard boiled.  It happens to 8-year-old Ramona, who's very embarrassed, and it happens to Daisy Fay's 12-year-old best friend Michael, who takes it in stride.  Daisy Fay ages from 11 to 18 in this novel written as her journals, and along the way many embarrassing and sometimes even horrifying things happen to her, her friends, and her family, but she's a lot more unsinkable than Ramona.  She even ends up as Miss Mississippi!  The pageant makes the one in Miss Congeniality looks ordinary.

I could see this book made into a movie, like Flagg's novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, which we'll get to in 1987.  It makes sense that this novel was originally called Coming Attractions, because it does have a movie-trailer-like feel at times.  Flagg combines outrageous events and people with a dry, understated wit.  This is her first novel and probably her least serious, although such issues as alcoholism, divorce, child abuse, rape/incest, abortion, racism, sexism, and homosexuality are addressed.  That last issue is interestingly handled, since Flagg is a lesbian (which I didn't know, watching her on game shows and sitcoms as a child), and a long-time lesbian relationship is at the center of Fried Green Tomatoes (less obviously in the film version).  As a preteen, Daisy Fay has crushes on women, but seems only interested in men as a teenager.  She does, however, have the friendship of an out and proud gay man, Mr. Cecil, and his sequin-sewing Cecilettes.

I remember this as my favorite of Flagg's books, or at least the funniest.  We'll see how it holds up to Fried Green and a couple of her others that I own.

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