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Book Review: A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg

Updated on February 9, 2018

I am very traditional when it comes to Christmas. I use the same decorations every year for the tree and the house. I cook basically the same meals AND I re-read several Christmas books each year to help me "get in the mood" for the holiday.

A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg is one of my favorite stories. I read it every year right after Thanksgiving.

Although the title implies it is for Christmas only, the book can be enjoyed in any season. A Redbird Christmas is a short, easy read and I highly recommend it.

Of particular interest to me is that Fannie Flagg herself is from Alabama and her writing is dotted with areas in south Alabama with which I am familiar.


Oswald T. Campbell, divorced long ago and all alone, hates the cold Chicago winters, which aggravate his emphysema. His doctor tells him that he must move to a warmer climate or he will die within the month. But, where will he go?

Ending up in the tiny community of Lost River, Alabama, Oswald thinks he's entered another country. Everyone is so friendly, the slow pace of life is appealing and the weather is fabulous - even in winter.

The cast of characters is fascinating and all the more funny since there really are people like that in the area. The mail is delivered by boat by the best fisherman around, the Creoles who live across the river stay there, the widows have their do-good "Mystic Order of the Royal Polka Dots Secret Society" and the only store sells everything from fish hooks to marshmallows.

Jack is the title redbird (otherwise known as a cardinal) who was rescued as a baby and nurtured back to health by Roy, the store owner. He can no longer fly but Roy teaches him all manner of tricks. The bird pokes all the food in the store and customers become used to buying things with Jack "holes" in them - all but Mildred, whose hair color changes with the wind - she complains about it all the time.

Lost River "adopts" a poor crippled girl named Patsy Casey who is abandoned by her family and who is also fascinated by Jack. When a crisis occurs involving Patsy, Lost River and surrounding communities join together to support her.

Like all Fannie Flagg books, A Redbird Christmas is heart-warming and tragic, with tongue-in-cheek humor and intriguing people that must be experienced to be believed.

Northern Cardinal


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