Thursday, June 8, 2023

Book Review: Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg


Goodreads Overview:

Folksy and fresh, endearing and affecting, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is a now-classic novel about two women: Evelyn, who’s in the sad slump of middle age, and gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode, who’s telling her life story. Her tale includes two more women—the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth—who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, offering good coffee, southern barbecue, and all kinds of love and laughter—even an occasional murder. And as the past unfolds, the present will never be quite the same again.

Jacque's Review:

This was the May selection for the Books on Tap book club hosted by the Marysville Public Library. I never watched the movie and didn't really put two and two together that this was the book the movie was based upon until after I started reading it. I did end up watching the movie shortly after finishing the book. As is usually the case, the book is definitely better, but the movie was enjoyable.

The story primarily takes place in a small town in Alabama in the 1920's. Ninny Threadgoode is currently in a nursing home and recounts stories from her youth to Evelyn, who is a middle-aged women experiencing a bit of a mid-life crisis. She is not happy with her life and has turned to food for comfort, which only makes her feel worse about herself as she continues to put on weight. The two women connect and form a sweet friendship. Each week Evelyn comes to visit, and Ninny continues her story about what life was like in Whistle Stop during her youth. Ninny can see that Evelyn is likely going through menopause and offers some great advice and motivation to help Evelyn through this difficult time. 

The Whistle Stop Cafe is a restaurant opened by Ninny's sister-in-law Idgie and her friend Ruth. We never know what sort of relationship the two of them have, but it is implied that they were more than friends. Idgie was a wild spirit growing up and often retreated to a river community away from her family after the loss of her brother. Ruth is the one person who is able to bring her back to Whistle Stop to finally settle down, or as much as one can tame Idgie. The two are completely different, but they bring out the best in each other. They run the cafe and raise Ruth's son together.

Segregation, the KKK, and the depression are all elements that are woven into this story. Idgie never turned anyone away from the restaurant regardless of the color of their skin or their ability to pay for a meal. She knew what was right and stood up for her beliefs. She was a very admirable character and was willing to put her own neck on the line to protect the ones she loved. While Ninny is the one telling the stories about the past, the book is more about Ruth, Idgie, and the Threadgoode family than it is about her personally. 

I really enjoyed this story and was glad I finally got around to reading and watching this movie. It likely isn't something that I ever would have selected on my own, but I would recommend it if you enjoy historical fiction. 

1 comment :

  1. I haven't read this one yet, but am currently reading The All Girl Filling Stations Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg, and I have Standing in the Rainbow on my tbr, Thanks for the review!!