In a small Missouri town, populated by the quirkiest characters you’re ever likely to meet, Flagg opens Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven: A Novel (Ballantine Reader’s Circle) with a freak accident involving an eighty-something woman named Elner Shimfissel, who climbs a ladder to retrieve some figs, and ends up on the ground, out cold, while neighbors and townsfolk scurry around to help.
From the hospital, Mrs. Shimfissel then begins an incredible “journey” that takes her (and the townsfolk) on a series of adventures that fill the colorful pages with all the historic moments between Mrs. Shimfissel and each member of the community.
Hilarious, folksy, homespun—all these adjectives can barely begin to describe this wonderful story, and for fear of spoiling it for the rest of you, I must not say more.
Except that Flagg has a way of bringing the reader right into the midst of the community; we feel like we could be one of the neighbors or townsfolk; and we find ourselves caring tremendously about their fate. And in the end, we haven’t simply closed a book, but we’ve just taken a journey out of the town “for a spell.”
I’ve read other Flagg books, but it’s been awhile…I won’t wait so long for the next one.