I’m taking a break from LDS titles today to share a rare gem I found. I hardly ever pick up titles off of the adult fiction section of the library, I blush far too easily. So that’s why this book really surprised and pleased me. Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven, written by Fannie Flagg of Fried Green Tomatoes fame is just a fun, feel good story. The title caught my eye and I didn’t realize that it was actually part of a series until I went to look up its information for this blog. I never suspected or felt cheated while reading Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven because I hadn’t read the other volumes. I just got caught up in the story and let it sweep me away. Now that I know I can re-visit the characters in other volumes they’ve definitely been added to my “to-read” list.
In Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven an older woman, Elner Shimfissle, dies and gets a peek at what heaven is like. The author’s take on heaven is an absolute hoot! Ok, so it’s secular, not gospel doctrine, but you can still see some interesting examples of what life in heaven might actually be like. Quiet honestly, I’d be surprised if they didn’t have tuba lessons and fresh-from-the-oven cake there.
Meanwhile back on earth, Elner’s entire community is spreading the news of her death like wildfire. Each person is mourning the loss of a woman who was just simply living her life but managed to have a lasting effect on almost everyone she knew. Some of these remembrances are very touching and poignant. They’ll make you stop and think about your own life and the lives of those you’ve loved in the same way this town loves Elner.
In the end the woman is sent back with a message to “hang on”, among other things. The announcement of her supposed mistaken death causes more uproar than the original prospect of her loss. Sadly, not many really get to hear her message of hope and a majority of those hearing the tale do not believe she is in her right mind. I say— who cares if she wasn’t! We can all use a little reassurance and nudge to just do our best and look for the good in life. That’s just what Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven is all about.
Best of all you don’t have to read it with your trusty black marker clutched in your hand. Yes, you will need it— approximately twice. One page contains a diatribe by one of the characters where he is arguing with himself. He peppers in a few double-hockey-stick references. Another section contains a woman’s contemplations about her love life with her husband. It is very clean, mainly dealing with the differences between men and women but there is a mild blushing potential.
On the whole, I would certainly encourage you to take a little trip to heaven the next time you need to remember to “hang on because good things are coming”.
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