"Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!," by Fannie Flagg...


October 04, 1998|By Nancy Pate | Nancy Pate,Knight Ridder/Tribune

"Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!," by Fannie Flagg. Random House. 467 pages. $25.95. "Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!," mostly cheery, sometimes sobering, remarkably timely, focuses on a seemingly frosty television journalist, Dena Nordstrom, who spent her toddler years in Elmwood Springs before her war widow mother whisked her away for a more peripatetic existence. By the early 1970s, Dena is the news anchor of the country's most popular morning TV show, and her blond, All-American beauty and poise have endeared her to viewers.

But Dena's confidence is a facade. Her personal life is a mess. Obsessed with her career, she eats too little, drinks too much and whenever a guy gets too close, she pushes him away. "Sex, maybe, friendship, yes, but love, no. If she ever felt love coming toward her, she would cross the street to the other side."

Hopscotching from the 1970s to the 1940s, from New York City to Elmwood Springs and several places in between, Flagg gradually and deftly pieces together the puzzle of Dena's life.

She gives us memorable characters, some to care about, others to despise and the outcome, if predictable, is nonetheless satisfying.

Pub Date: 10/04/98

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