The Whole Town’s Talking

by Fannie Flagg

Fannie Flagg’s books never disappoint. They are always fun reads and do not follow a particular “formula” for any specific genre. Her books contain some drama, some romance, some laugh-out-loud comedy, and even some mystery. Regardless of what genre a reader prefers, a book by Fannie Flagg will include some of those elements.

The Whole Town’s Talking is no exception. This is the story of a small Missouri town from its founding in the late 1800s all the way to 2020. The reader follows the residents through love, loss, war, peace. Children are born. People die. There are war heroes. The residents pull together to get through the Great Depression. Many leave home to join the war effort during World War II.

The book is broken into decades. The readers are not only entertained but also educated on American history. As a retired history teacher, I found it very interesting to watch the evolution of this small community in which everyone knows everyone, and even on to see malls move businesses from the once-thriving downtown area, as so many small towns in the United States have experienced.

What was great about The Whole Town’s Talking is where and when the town was talking. Generations come together in a way that is very unexpected. I thought I had an idea of how this story might develop. The plot twist was so surprising I could not help but smile. The surprises continued all the way to the end.

Every book I have read by Fannie Flagg has contained elements of surprise. There were times I was sure I knew what happened, and who did what. Every time I thought I had figured out everything, the author threw in a plot twist. The Whole Town’s Talking is likely the most unexpected, fun plot twist of any of her books. I wonder how many times during writing this book that Fannie Flagg laughed out loud first at her ideas and then imagining how her readers would react when they read the book.