This is by the same woman who wrote "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe". I've read that one (also the movie is one of my favorites), it's really good and yes the book is ten times better than the movie.
This one is about an old woman who falls out of a fig tree while trying to pick enough figs for a batch of preserves. She "dies". The book swings between her experiences in the afterlife and those of her family. Her entire town is thrown for a loop at the announcement of her death on the radio.
The book also follows some of her doings as a younger woman. As well as how her life twines with all the other people in her small Southern home town.
It's a very sweet story about an old woman who never remarried after her husband's death and did her best to help everyone she knew. Elner is the coolest heroine outside of Judy Abbott (Daddy Long-Legs) I've ever run across.
And the way Flagg portrays Heaven is as fascinating as Dante's Hell, although for completely different reasons.
In the end Elner wasn't dead, well she was but she comes back. Really terrific story that ends in the sweetest way possible! Love it! And yes mom I know that you tried to get me to read it long before I did. You were right!