Mrs. Sookie Poole should be entering her “golden years” with her husband, Earle. The Point Clear, Alabama housewife has just married off the last of the three daughters, and although her son Carter is still single, that wedding will be some other mother’s problem. The only sticking point is (and always has been) her formidable mother, Lenore Simmons Krackenberry, an irascible, overbearing 88-year-old who is fond of lording her proud ancestry over anyone who will listen. Sookie, ever the patient daughter, has lived in her mother’s foreboding shadow her entire life. The biggest worry in the Simmons family is the propensity they have to lose their marbles at a certain age and end up at Pleasant Hill Sanitarium (like her Aunt Lily and Uncle Baby: “When a fifty-eight-year-old man goes downtown dressed up in a Dale Evans cowgirl outfit, complete with a skirt with fringe, it’s time.”)
"With her usual deftness, Fannie Flagg combines big-hearted storytelling with comical mystery elements for a charming story of unexpected family. Her characters fully inhabit the page, to the point where you can almost smell their sweet jasmine perfume."
The always dramatic Lenore, with her pronounced hair flip and flowing scarves, earned the nickname “Winged Victory” from her son and Sookie’s brother, Buck, who remarked on their mother’s likeness to a hood ornament. You try standing out with a mother like that. But standing out was never Sookie’s style. She was content just being herself, happily married to Earle, the local dentist, who loved her since they were teenagers, and being a doting mother to her four children. As they grew up, got married and left the nest, Sookie anticipated things settling down and spending more time with her hard-working husband, maybe even taking a cruise. But as the saying goes, “If you want to make God laugh, make plans.” Everything changes with one registered letter from the Texas Board of Health. Sookie’s world is altered in an instant.
With this letter, a secret is revealed about Sookie’s parentage and her mother&