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Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

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Author: Fannie Flagg

Published: May 7th 2002 by Random House (first published 1987)

Format: Hardcover , 416 pages

Isbn: 9780375508417

Language: English


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It's first the story of two women in the 1980s, of gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode telling her life story to Evelyn, who is in the sad slump of middle age. The tale she tells is also of two women-of the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth, who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, a Southern kind of Cafe Wobegon offering goo It's first the story of two women in the 1980s, of gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode telling her life story to Evelyn, who is in the sad slump of middle age. The tale she tells is also of two women-of the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth, who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, a Southern kind of Cafe Wobegon offering good barbecue and good coffee and all kinds of love and laughter, even an occasional murder.

30 review for Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

  1. 5 out of 5

    Petra-X

    This is a very good book. Solid hardback. I have about 80 copies in the bookshop. 12 of them are supporting the little fridge up to a reasonable height. Two of them are under the cash desk which otherwise would be a bit wobbly. Another 8 (in two's) are against the ends of the four shelves under the galavanise bit of roof where it leaks when it rains hard (not now, post Irma I need a new roof as I have two huge holes in it, so I moved the books) . Sometimes prior to the hurricanes, when it rained This is a very good book. Solid hardback. I have about 80 copies in the bookshop. 12 of them are supporting the little fridge up to a reasonable height. Two of them are under the cash desk which otherwise would be a bit wobbly. Another 8 (in two's) are against the ends of the four shelves under the galavanise bit of roof where it leaks when it rains hard (not now, post Irma I need a new roof as I have two huge holes in it, so I moved the books) . Sometimes prior to the hurricanes, when it rained a bit everyday and they didn't dry out they got mouldy so I replaced them with some more. I've got lots to spare. I have to be honest though, I've never even sold a single copy. You might wonder why I would buy 80 copies of a book that doesn't sell. I didn't. I acquired them through no fault of my own. What happened was the book was remaindered in huge quantities and I buy from this particular remainder house. Some while back I'd ordered about 8 boxes of books but 10 came. Two of them were full of Fried Green Tomatoes. I immediately got on to the company who said yes they knew of the situation and would refund my shipping costs and the debits on my account. What had happened was that they let one of their members of staff go (customer service, she was a bit... prickly at best and teeth-achingly rude at other times). They didn't exactly fire her they just didn't renew her contract. So to get her revenge in the time left to her with the company she distributed this and other titles (all hardback) to international customers knowing she would have left before we got the books and the shit hit the fan. Cost the company quite a lot of money, but really, you have to give the girl at least 3 stars for creativity.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Brina

    Over the course of this year I have branched out in my reading choices. I have discovered multiple genres that I previously had not read, one of which being southern literature. It is in this regard that I found the writing of Fannie Flagg. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe invites the reader to small town Alabama. Through Flagg's southern charm you feel as though you are a part of the town and its cast of characters. In this light that I rate this gem of a book 4.5 stars. Fried Gree Over the course of this year I have branched out in my reading choices. I have discovered multiple genres that I previously had not read, one of which being southern literature. It is in this regard that I found the writing of Fannie Flagg. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe invites the reader to small town Alabama. Through Flagg's southern charm you feel as though you are a part of the town and its cast of characters. In this light that I rate this gem of a book 4.5 stars. Fried Green Tomatoes is a movie starring Jessica Tandy as Ninny Threadgoode and Kathy Bates as Evelyn Couch although I have never been privileged to view the film; thus, the book is new material for me. Evelyn Couch is a middle aged empty nester who accompanies her husband Ed to visit his mother at a nursing home. Evelyn having no patience for these visits instead strikes up a conversation with Mrs Threadgoode, which develops over the course of the book into an intimate friendship like that of a mother and daughter. I enjoy hearing older people reminisce about their lives so Mrs Threadgoode instantly became a charming character for me, and I, like Evelyn, was happy to enter into her world. Whistle Stop, Alabama is an almost defunct small town on the outskirts of Birmingham. Mrs Threadgoode, inherently knowing that she is enjoying the twilight of her life, takes Evelyn back to depression era Whistle Stop. She regales Evelyn with tales of her family, the Threadgoodes, and their colored friends, the Peaveys. In a time where people were struggling to make ends meet, the citizens of Whistle Stop appeared to enjoy life to the fullest, with the cafe being the center of their world. Whites, blacks, and people of all walks of life lived in relative harmony, epitomized by Idgie Threadgoode and her Dill Pickle Club who went off on one daring adventure after another. In no case was there a mention of poverty, and Evelyn is charmed by Mrs Threadgoode's stories. Meanwhile, in present day, Mrs Threadgoode urges Evelyn to live her life to the fullest. Just because she has entered middle age does not mean that her life is over. Written during the 1980s era of the working woman, Evelyn is coached on to get a new lease on life, a new career, and enjoy the second half of her time on this earth. In an interview following the novel, Fannie Flagg points out that she prefers older characters because they have many layers to their lives and much advice to offer to younger generations. It is in this mind set that she made Mrs Threadgoode the central point of her novel. Flagg touched on non traditional families, the 1930s modern woman, racism and the lack thereof all in one town. Like Evelyn, I was drawn in by the characters and the town of Whistle Stop and finished the novel over the course of one day because I could not get enough of Mrs Threadgoode's stories. Whistle Stop is a small town whose people make up the fabric of this country, and the Threadgoodes and their descendants are cogs who embody southern life. I enjoyed my trip through Whistle Town and am looking forward to reading more of Fannie Flagg's southern novels.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    If you haven't read this yet - get it now. It's funny, most people can be around someone and they gradually begin to love them and never know exactly when it happened; but Ruth knew the very second it happened to her. It's a love story, a friendship story and so much more. There's survival against the odds, murder, and absolute hilarity. In short - really, truly awesome. Remember if people talk behind your back, it only means you are two steps ahead Mrs. Threadgoode is at the same nursing h If you haven't read this yet - get it now. It's funny, most people can be around someone and they gradually begin to love them and never know exactly when it happened; but Ruth knew the very second it happened to her. It's a love story, a friendship story and so much more. There's survival against the odds, murder, and absolute hilarity. In short - really, truly awesome. Remember if people talk behind your back, it only means you are two steps ahead Mrs. Threadgoode is at the same nursing home as Evelyn's spiteful mother-in-law. During one such visit, Evelyn stops by Mrs. Threadgoode's room, and soon an everlasting friendship sparks. Mrs. Threadgoode tells Evelyn stories from a not-so-distant past, when racism was rampart and certain home values were taken utterly seriously. She tells of larger-than-life Idgie, sweet and gentle Ruth, and of course a whole cast of truly unforgettable characters. You never know what's in a person's heart until they're tested, do you? Her stories give Evelyn a new outlook on life - suddenly, she's not the mousy, dissatisfied middle-aged wife - she's got spunk. She's got character. And she'd be damned if she let one more person walk all over her. Face it girls. I'm older and I have more insurance. Gah. It's one of those books that just sweeps you off your feet and holds a special place in your heart forever. It's fluffy, but the kind of fluff that has you squealing with happiness and chasing someone down to let them know how great this book is. I buddy-read this one with my mother and we really, truly bonded over these words. We laughed and teared up at the same parts. This is one experience I will treasure. This book belongs on every bookshelf Audiobook Comments Read by Lorna Raver - and she just brought this story alive. Truly a stunning listen. She had all the right tones and inflections in all the right places. It felt like I was right there in the story. YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Snapchat @miranda.reads Happy Reading!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Reading Road Trip 2020 Current location: Alabama I feel like I'm living like a rat these days, with my own little rat's nest off to the side of my bed where I have stacks of books lined up for my reading road trip project and little post-it notes of feverishly scribbled messages, things I'm supposed to remember. On one of these notes is written: “Nietzsche: A human being is a going-across.” On another: “John Lennon: Whatever gets you thru the night.” I wrote them both, while reading this book. A human Reading Road Trip 2020 Current location: Alabama I feel like I'm living like a rat these days, with my own little rat's nest off to the side of my bed where I have stacks of books lined up for my reading road trip project and little post-it notes of feverishly scribbled messages, things I'm supposed to remember. On one of these notes is written: “Nietzsche: A human being is a going-across.” On another: “John Lennon: Whatever gets you thru the night.” I wrote them both, while reading this book. A human being is a going-across? What, like a bridge? Now that makes me scribble another note: “Richard Bach: The bridge across forever.” I don't know if we are a bridge across forever. . . I'd like to think so, but the people of this story remind us. . . we are a going-across. . . whether we want to be or not, and we are not HERE forever, wherever we go, and we are certainly going to need more than a handful of ways to get us through the night, knowing all that. So, what are the ways? What is it that gets us through the night? Through the bad marriage? Poor health? The death of a child? A pandemic? Well, the characters of this book will tell you: praying, fucking, dancing, singing, drinking, eating, writing, killing, talking, cooking, walking, reading, gardening. . . and crying. Sound about right? Everything is here, y'all. Everything you ever knew and ever thought you wanted to know. This stupid looking book, with its kitschy cover and its hokey title, just about knocked the wind out of me this week. It's an examination of our evolution and our degradation, a glimpse of small town, Southern, American life. . . where every type of person, every type of relationship, every problem, is fairly represented. And could happen anywhere. Do not judge this book by its cover or location. It's a book about people getting through the night. You'll never know how many times I've thought about you and wished I could speak to you. I felt so bad I didn't get to see you before you died. I just never dreamed in a million years that I would never see you again. I never did get a chance to thank you. If it hadn't been for you talking to me like you did. . . I don't know what I would have done.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Shovelmonkey1

    This book is fluffy. How fluffy? It is as fluffy as floating on cloud while lying on a mattress stuffed with kittens and simultaneously wearing a pink angora jumper and a candy floss hat. This is the sort of book I enjoy when my brain decides to take a day off. But it is lovely and it is likely that even the most po-faced cynics (me) will be drawn into the warm doughy bosom of this story of love, friendship and adversity in 1930s Alabama. The history of Whistlestop, along with helpful recipe appe This book is fluffy. How fluffy? It is as fluffy as floating on cloud while lying on a mattress stuffed with kittens and simultaneously wearing a pink angora jumper and a candy floss hat. This is the sort of book I enjoy when my brain decides to take a day off. But it is lovely and it is likely that even the most po-faced cynics (me) will be drawn into the warm doughy bosom of this story of love, friendship and adversity in 1930s Alabama. The history of Whistlestop, along with helpful recipe appendices allowing the transposition British readers from the grim north to the Deep South, is relayed to the beleaguered Evelyn by old Mrs Threadgoode. Aside from the odd murder, Whistle Stop is populated by a kind of chocolate-box perfection. It's a modest but model community with great food, the kindness of neighbours, life-long friendships. A kind of Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn wholesomeness oozes from between each page. Living in Toxteth I find it hard to imagine this kind of idealised community of hot-buttered-biscuit loveliness but it was nice to at least try until the piercing wail of a police siren broke the illusion.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg is a 2002 Random House publication – (originally published in 1987) Many people have seen the movie version of this book. But,as is often the case, the book is a bit different from the movie version. While I enjoyed the movie, and thought it had an excellent cast, I have to say, the book is still better. Evelyn is stuck in a rut, neglected by her husband, going through menopause, taking comfort in food. But, a chance meeting with Mrs. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg is a 2002 Random House publication – (originally published in 1987) Many people have seen the movie version of this book. But,as is often the case, the book is a bit different from the movie version. While I enjoyed the movie, and thought it had an excellent cast, I have to say, the book is still better. Evelyn is stuck in a rut, neglected by her husband, going through menopause, taking comfort in food. But, a chance meeting with Mrs. Threadgoode, at the nursing home, deepens into a close friendship that gives Evelyn the courage to break out of her shell and take charge of her life. Mrs. Threadgoode’s story is a mesmerizing tale of two women who forge a special bond while living through tragedies, hardships, and triumphs. Idgie and Ruth are friends, but maybe a little more than friends, who build a life together, enjoying a few hair -raising dilemmas and living through some wild adventures. I remember Fannie Flagg during my childhood when she was a regular on some game show my mother used to watch. She was one of my favorites on the show, but had no idea, back then, what her claim to fame was. Years later, when the movie version of this book was released, I was surprised to learn that Fannie Flagg wrote the book the movie was based on. I hadn’t thought of Fannie in years, by that time, so my curiosity of piqued. I bought the book soon after seeing the movie. I was struck by how detailed the story was, how some things were glossed over in the movie version, and how others were curiously more pronounced in the book than on the movie screen, while at other times, I thought the movie version might have brought the scene to life a little better. I hadn’t thought of this book, or the movie,in a very long time. But the other day, while searching for an audio book at the library, I discovered this story was available in audiobook format, and not only that, it was narrated by Fannie Flagg. I couldn’t resist! I also realized that I had apparently read this book pre-Goodreads, and so I thought I’d write out a review after listening to the audio version, while it was still fresh in my memory. While Evelyn’s persona is maybe a little dated now, in my opinion, other subject matter addressed in the story is well ahead of its time. The ending here is much more poignant and still gave me a little chill. Hollywood made some crucial changes in that area, which was nice, too, but didn’t pack the same punch. If you’ve seen the movie version, I hope someday you will give the book a try, and if you can add audio, that would enhance your experience even more. 4.5 stars

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dem

    Reading this book was like waking up on a spring morning after a long dreary winter to the sound of the dawn chorus, after a reading slump of a few weeks I really was delighted when this novel came up as a book club read, having read it in 2010 and loved the book I knew enough time had lapsed for me to forget the details of the story but not the wonderful characters. Charming, witty thought proving and endering are all words that come to mind on finishing this novel. A lovely page turner to loos Reading this book was like waking up on a spring morning after a long dreary winter to the sound of the dawn chorus, after a reading slump of a few weeks I really was delighted when this novel came up as a book club read, having read it in 2010 and loved the book I knew enough time had lapsed for me to forget the details of the story but not the wonderful characters. Charming, witty thought proving and endering are all words that come to mind on finishing this novel. A lovely page turner to loose yourself in and characters that will stay with you long after you finish the novel The day Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison opened the Whistle Stop Cafe, the town took a turn for the better. It was the Depression and that cafe was a home from home for many of us. You could get eggs, grits, bacon, ham, coffee and a smile for 25 cents. Ruth was just the sweetest girl you ever met. And Idgie? She was a character, all right. You never saw anyone so headstrong. But how anybody could have thought she murdered that man is beyond me. loved this book, had seen the film years ago and did not really think much of it, but the book really blew me away, for me it was the witt and the rich characters, Such an easy read full of tall tales and fun and yet sad in many parts. I really enjoyed this novel. I loved the southern charm in this novel that weaves together the past and present through the friendship between Evelyn Crouch a middle aged housewife and Ninny Threadgoode and eatery woman who lives in a nursing home. I loved the references to food and receipes in the novel and came away really wanting to try some of them. Terrific character development makes this one a memorable read and I am so glad this is the book that gave me the five star read I was craving. If you haven't read this one, purchase a copy and give yourself a treat.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I really love this movie, but as usual, the book is much better and vastly different. In 1985, two women, Ninny and Evelyn, meet and develop a strong friendship. They share treats and conversation while Ninny spins the story of Whistle Stop and its inhabitants, weaving relationships through generations in an enchanting tale of the Old South. The journey is equally important for both women, allowing Ninny to remember and embrace her past while helping Evelyn to accept her past and look forward to I really love this movie, but as usual, the book is much better and vastly different. In 1985, two women, Ninny and Evelyn, meet and develop a strong friendship. They share treats and conversation while Ninny spins the story of Whistle Stop and its inhabitants, weaving relationships through generations in an enchanting tale of the Old South. The journey is equally important for both women, allowing Ninny to remember and embrace her past while helping Evelyn to accept her past and look forward to her future. Two significant differences exist between the book and the movie; Idgie and Ruth's relationship is blatently lesbian (in the movie they were just close friends), and the racial atmosphere of Alabama was a much more pronounced theme. Flagg's storytelling is bittersweet with many touching moments, and the cast of characters is wonderful. This is a heartwarming look at life, death, love, and friendship, and a great example of Southern Literature.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mark Porton

    Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg is a book I came to knowing little about, written by an author I know nothing about. So, it was a major surprise when I was blown out of the water by this experience. The story involves a little railroad town in Alabama called Whistle Stop and centres around a Cafe of the same name operated by partners Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison. There’s a whole crew of characters we get to know, in fact, initially I found it difficult to keep Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg is a book I came to knowing little about, written by an author I know nothing about. So, it was a major surprise when I was blown out of the water by this experience. The story involves a little railroad town in Alabama called Whistle Stop and centres around a Cafe of the same name operated by partners Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison. There’s a whole crew of characters we get to know, in fact, initially I found it difficult to keep track of who was who, but after a while I really got to know these people. They came alive for me, each one of them, the good, bad and the ugly. The author jumps from the 1920s to the 1980s and back again and everywhere in between, the chapters are usually named after places such as the The Rose Terrace Nursing Home or after local bulletins like The Weems Weekly (Whistle Stop Alabama’s Weekly Bulletin),. The reader is taken backwards and forwards, from character to character and drama to drama – and one experiences every bump, laugh and tear – it is GOLD!! My favourite character was Evelyn, this forlorn woman really grew on me. She is connected to the story by visiting her Mother-in-Law at the Rose Terrace Nursing Home and there she meets one of the old Threadgoode ladies. A wonderful relationship develops – but for me, it’s Evelyn’s journey that sparked my interest. Her relationship with old Ninny Threadgoode quickly blossomed into a wonderful thing: When she woke this morning, Evelyn realised that she was actually looking forward to going to the nursing home. Sitting there all these weeks listening to stories about the café and Whistle Stop had become more of a reality than her own life….. Ninny could talk underwater with a mouth full of marbles, this – as we all know – can be a little wearing, but it seemed to me this is exactly what Evelyn needed. It was a joy to see their friendship grow. The last section of this book was one of the most moving things I have read in recent times. I read it slowly. Crazy, wayward, boozy Idgie was another fascinating character – her love for Ruth was absolute. Her path was no easier than Evelyn’s. But she was equally lovable. I would have liked to have sat down and had a pint of best bitter with Idgie, it’d be a riot: The Dill Pickle Club……was really just a bunch of Idgie’s ragtag friends that would get together. About all they did was drink whiskey and make up lies (we call it Bullshit in Australia). They’d look you right in the eye and tell you a lie when the truth would have served them better But Idgie had a MASSIVE heart – always looking out for the downtrodden. So kind-hearted, but a handful to be sure. You could say this is a character piece but it’s much more than that – it also catapults us right back to a time and place most of us have never experienced. We are taken from the time Whistle Top was a buzzing little railroad town in the ‘20s to the sad days, decades after the railroads closed and the Town turned into a shadow of its former self. It was also fascinating to learn more about ‘the other’ Birmingham. Birmingham is my hometown in the UK, we are called “Brummies”. The US version call themselves “Birminghamians”!! You know our Brummie accent in the UK is often voted the UK’s worst accent. I wonder if the Birminghamian accent suffers the same fate? I’ve come away from this book with lots of questions - such as “what is Birmingham and Alabama like?” or “What do Fried Green Tomatoes taste like?” (BTW at the back of the book there are recipes), a great book sparks your interest in things I reckon. I’ve also collected a wonderful bunch of characters I will remember for a long time. Evelyn and Idgie in particular. One word of caution though, this story isn’t all ‘Beer and Skittles’, there are certainly elements of racism, violence and domestic violence that come through – making this story all the more realistic. 5 Fried Green Tomatoes for me, with a side of Fried Okra and Lima Beans! 5 Stars

  10. 4 out of 5

    Andy Marr

    This one maked and breaked my heart a hundred times. Possibly perfect.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lynne King

    I saw that a friend was reading this book, loved the cover and blurb and immediately ordered it for my Kindle. When I first started reading it, I thought that it was “insane” but I soon realised what a gem of a book I’d discovered. This has to be the best book I’ve read for a long time and I have no doubt that I’ll continue to look at it many times in the future. Now where to start with this multi-faceted book? I’ve read quite a few excellent reviews on it and mine may be nothing in comparison bu I saw that a friend was reading this book, loved the cover and blurb and immediately ordered it for my Kindle. When I first started reading it, I thought that it was “insane” but I soon realised what a gem of a book I’d discovered. This has to be the best book I’ve read for a long time and I have no doubt that I’ll continue to look at it many times in the future. Now where to start with this multi-faceted book? I’ve read quite a few excellent reviews on it and mine may be nothing in comparison but I’ll try and see if I can get my own viewpoint across. It will be very difficult as there’s just so much that one can explore in this book. What are its qualities? First of all, this is a very important social document of life in the south of the United States (Alabama), in the twentieth century. It is also inspirational, poignant, touching, funny, and has black humour: a body is in a coffin at Whistle Stop awaiting removal to another train. Two kids with a camera get involved here and there’s also a broken nose. On another occasion, there's a meal with unknown ingredients in it, and the sauce especially is thoroughly enjoyed by all. All I can say is that it would have been evidence. There’s even a gruesome murder thrown in with unexpected consequences. In addition, there’s the excellent creative structure of the book. I find it quite remarkable how the author handled the time periods between the two main starting dates: the first commencing in 1929, during the Depression, in Whistle Stop, and the second in 1985 from a nursing home in Birmingham. The clever way in which the layers of all the emotions are broken down just never ceased to surprise me throughout. The book concerns four women: Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison in the earlier period, and Evelyn Couch and Ninnie Threadgoode (the sister-in-law of Idgie) in the later period. It slowly unfurls in 1929 with the simple opening, “The Whistle Stop Cafe opened up last week, right next to me at the post office, and owners Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison said business has been good ever since.” This statement was made by Dot Weems from the post office in “The Weems Weekly, which is Whistle Stop’s weekly bulletin. She gives regular local news throughout most of the book via this bulletin. My favourite character was Idgie (christened Imogen but this was changed by her much loved brother Buddy). One reviewer refers to her as Huck Finn and I agree with that. She is sparkling, feisty, gives wise advice, prefers to dress as a man; in fact decided at the age of eleven that she would never wear a dress again, much to the horror of her siblings. Her tall stories are incredible (a remarkable one about a pond that miraculously disappears), her remarkable loyalty to those she loves, such as her family, Ruth, employees, friends, regardless of whether they are black or white. She was criticized for feeding the “blacks” of the area in the cafe. Her self-effacing manner when she tries to explain to one of them that she would love to feed them in the cafe but there were people in Whistle Stop who would soon put her out of busines. Nevertheless, they could come to the back door. Ruth was brilliantly portrayed and she gets married to Frank Bennett. I just cannot put any spoilers in here. There are two magical parts with the "bee charmer" and the ripped out section from the Book of Ruth (which is mailed) “…whither thou goest, I will go….” Evelyn Couch feels her life is worthless but thanks to eighty-six year old Ninnie Threadgoode, who is living in a nursing home, she rediscovers herself in middle age, loses weight and in addition makes an important discovery through arriving at the wrong church, on a lot of misconceptions she had of the people living in Alabama. When Evelyn goes to a cemetery to look at the Threadgoode family plot, she passes on to another grave and finds an envelope next to the jar of flowers, and inside was an Easter card which stated: "For a special person as nice as you, Who's kind and considerate in all you do, The fairest, the squarest, Most loving and true, That all adds up to Wonderful you" and it was signed by the Bee Charmer. I could go on and on. The book is brilliant and it even brought tears to my eyes (very unusual for me) on several occasions. I highly recommend this to everyone.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nandakishore Varma

    Apparently, this is the tale of an old woman reminiscing to a younger one about her life in a small town in Alabama, and the changes which take place as the American South moves from its racist past to the more inclusive present. It can be read like that, and enjoyed for its simplicity, its easy pace, and engaging characters. But perceptive readers who go beyond the facade will unearth a rich treasure of allegory and metaphor: because in this novel, as with any good work of literature, the real Apparently, this is the tale of an old woman reminiscing to a younger one about her life in a small town in Alabama, and the changes which take place as the American South moves from its racist past to the more inclusive present. It can be read like that, and enjoyed for its simplicity, its easy pace, and engaging characters. But perceptive readers who go beyond the facade will unearth a rich treasure of allegory and metaphor: because in this novel, as with any good work of literature, the real story is on the unwritten pages. *** Evelyn Couch, a middle-aged, disillusioned woman on the edge of menopause, meets Virginia ("Ninny") Threadgoode at the Rose Terrace Nursing Home while on a visit to her mother-in-law who is lodged there - and her life changes forever. For the eighty-six-year-old Ninny is everything she is not. Even though alone in the world, the old woman revels in life, even with the realisation that it may be snatched away at any moment: while Evelyn broods upon a largely uneventful life, Ninny delights in wandering over the colourful landscape of her memory. And as she starts sharing the stories from her childhood and youth, the younger woman gets drawn into the world of the small town of Whistle Stop in Alabama, dominated by the cafe described in the title - and its co-owner, the indomitable Idgie Threadgoode. Ninny, orphaned from childhood, had stayed with the Threadgoodes ever since she was a child - a big, benevolent southern family comprising Poppa, Momma, the steady Cleo, flashy Buddy, feminine Leona, artistic Essie Rue and the incomparable Idgie. Later on, she married Cleo and became part of the family. Now all of them are gone, leaving Ninny alone with her memories, which she shares in typical scatterbrained fashion, and a picture of southern life slowly emerges. Idgie is the centre of the narrative. She has opened the cafe with her friend Ruth Jamison who, we later come to know, is separated from her husband. The food is cooked by Sipsey and Onzell, two "coloured" women, and Big George, Onzell's husband. And around this cafe revolves the life of the small town, as it grows, reaches maturity, and slowly fades away into oblivion. Life with all its attendant tragedy, comedy and farce (with even a murder mystery!) flourishes in Whistle Stop. We have Ruth's son, Buddy "Stump" Threadgoode, missing an arm but still the heartthrob of the town. We have Jim Smokey Philips, committed to a life on the road when he is not putting in time as a helper at the cafe. We have Artis, Big George's son, the playboy of Slagtown. We have Albert, Ninny's mentally challenged son. We have Sipsey, whose thirst to be a mother is satisfied when she adopts Big George, an abandoned child... the list can go on and on. But they are all the supporting cast. The only one that really matters is Idgie. Idgie, the compulsive liar. Idgie, the hot-headed feminist. Idgie, whose tough-as-nails exterior hides a heart of gold... ...And as she gets more and more involved in this tale of a bygone era, Idgie inspires Evelyn to find her inner superwoman. *** What impressed me most about the novel is its structure. The tale is told in snippets, as the narrative jumps across time and space. Several chapters are narrated by Ninny, while others are extracts from various periodicals (the main one being "The Weems Weekly" of Whistle Stop edited by Dot Weems) and some others, straightforward third person narrative but with focus on different characters. It is really like listening to the reminiscences of an old woman who is pretty far gone in years, but whose mind is still remarkably sharp except for the chronology of events. At the heart of the novel is the relationship between Idgie and Ruth: while it is no doubt lesbian, there is nary a mention of sex. Ruth's doomed marriage to Frank Bennet and the tragedy within that marriage is foreshadowed early - but the author drags on the suspense till the very end about what actually happened to Frank Bennet. Through these flawed characters and their tortured relationships, the changing face of America across half a century is brilliantly portrayed. A lovely read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    This story is racist as hell. Just in case you were wondering. I'd never been interested in this book or the movie. This wasn't at all my cup of tea when it came out; I was in the middle of my high school career and only reading classics or fantasy and some science fiction. Domestic fiction, especially Southern, was an anathema. I'm not sure why I had this on my Overdrive wish list. Maybe it showed up on its own? Or maybe I've just expanded my reading interests (now I'll read anything that isn't f This story is racist as hell. Just in case you were wondering. I'd never been interested in this book or the movie. This wasn't at all my cup of tea when it came out; I was in the middle of my high school career and only reading classics or fantasy and some science fiction. Domestic fiction, especially Southern, was an anathema. I'm not sure why I had this on my Overdrive wish list. Maybe it showed up on its own? Or maybe I've just expanded my reading interests (now I'll read anything that isn't full of romance because: GROSS!) far enough that this fell into my net at some point. Whatever the case, I finally listened to this book that was all the rage for years during my more youthful times. And it's racist as hell. So probably it should be one star, right? Probably. But I can't honestly say I didn't enjoy large parts of this book. Actually, this was a weird read, sort of two versions that happened simultaneously. Putting the story in the context of 1987, it was pretty open-minded and possibly even progressive, at least for white people, specifically middle-class white women. Any non-white American readers at the time would have seen just how shittily this story treats its black characters. Still, it evokes that nostalgia for the years between World Wars, of gritty, bootstrap-pulling characters in a tiny town who get along just fine, where the sheriff is a member of the KKK but runs out another group of KKKers because the fine people of Whistlestop take care of their own, including their coloreds. Pie is served for a nickel, wife-abusers go missing and no one's interested in looking any deeper into their whereabouts, a band of hobos and prostitutes live down by a river (not in a van) but don't bother the townsfolk none. Kids die or lose body parts on the railroad tracks and it's sad but everyone comes out ok in the end because that's just how things were back then. There's a golden glow over the town and not just in Ninnie Threadgoode's rosy, sentimental memories. 30 years later, the racism is blatant and loud, covered with that "I'm not a racist" veneer that bigoted white people, specifically middle-class white women, love to use. There's lots of "I have black friends!"...(so I've been given license to say shit and believe shit I want to say and believe even though I know it's shit) going on. It's cringeworthy and it sucked. And it's sappy, overly nostalgic for something that has never actually existed. But then there's this strong current of feminism running throughout the book. Not third wave feminism, but that coming-out-of-the-dark ages feminism that just seemed to have occurred naturally after the 60's, a sort of after-shock from the first wave. Also, there's a lesbian couple that isn't presented as "OMG, look how forward this book is by featuring a lesbian couple!" but, rather, is just another couple among many in the story. I think that, more than anything, shocked me because I don't remember 1987 being a terribly inclusive time for gay folk. Hell, contemporary media still can't treat a lesbian couple as just another couple. I'm sure this book was hotly contested in churchy circles but Flagg introduced Ninnie Threadgoode, octogenarian and devout Christian who loves Oral Roberts but doesn't like Tammy Faye, as an even-minded (racist as hell) moderate conservative, white, former-housewife who is now in a nursing home. How was she received? I don't know because I didn't care about this book when it came out but I think if this were the big blockbuster novel of the summer now, there'd be plenty of bitching about its portrayal of moral decline on Facebook despite the Ninnie avatar. Actually, Ninnie's stories of old Whistlestop reminded me so much of the stories in Big Fish, seemingly tall tales that have been gilded with the patina of remembered better times that were never actually any better at all. There was a strong sense of "Even though things were hard, people and life were more wholesome back then" throughout the story; sentimentality at its finest. But that sort of narrative is appealing on several levels; it's nice to think there was a better time, even if we know there really wasn't. I did appreciate the still-relevant topics of aging and the fear of not being young anymore, of first friendships and first endings, of finding oneself, of dying towns and forgotten people. I was also amused that Sipsey's recipes are my family's recipes, I grew up with that cooking. Is it Southern or is that just how people across the nation cooked? I don't know, I just know that that's how I make chicken and dumplings, too. All in all, this is a story well-told with strong characters and an interesting, meandering plot but it really is racist as hell.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I feel bad saying it, but I think this is a case where I liked the movie better than I liked the book! The movie had its heartbreaking moments, but one was still left with quite a bit of humor and a general feeling of the significance of living life to the fullest. The book featured many more characters (and tragedies!) than the movie chose to portray, and the sadness of some of the stories dragged down the more humorous parts of the book. I guess I had expected the movie when I opened the pages I feel bad saying it, but I think this is a case where I liked the movie better than I liked the book! The movie had its heartbreaking moments, but one was still left with quite a bit of humor and a general feeling of the significance of living life to the fullest. The book featured many more characters (and tragedies!) than the movie chose to portray, and the sadness of some of the stories dragged down the more humorous parts of the book. I guess I had expected the movie when I opened the pages... and that is always a dangerous thing! ;-)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    An endearing and heartfelt story that just makes you want to take a trip and visit the Whistle Stop Cafe. The movie has always been a favorite of mine, and now the book is too! Just loved it!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nidhi Singh

    Just had this quirk of making a note of a few words from the book. So here it goes- Blue gums, Miss Fancy, Naughty Bird, Hogs, Catfish, Blue jays, Whistle Stop, Alabama, Pink Cadillac, Boots, Opal, Dumplings, Fried chicken, Willie Boy, Blue Polka, Flower girl, Dill Pickle Club. Now as much as I loved this book, there are a few things that struck me as peculiar. The understated homosexuality of the lead pair; how could it be so readily accepted by the townspeople? Fannie Flagg never describes it i Just had this quirk of making a note of a few words from the book. So here it goes- Blue gums, Miss Fancy, Naughty Bird, Hogs, Catfish, Blue jays, Whistle Stop, Alabama, Pink Cadillac, Boots, Opal, Dumplings, Fried chicken, Willie Boy, Blue Polka, Flower girl, Dill Pickle Club. Now as much as I loved this book, there are a few things that struck me as peculiar. The understated homosexuality of the lead pair; how could it be so readily accepted by the townspeople? Fannie Flagg never describes it in the sexual context. Apart from the first few romantic interchanges, there are not much detailed descriptions of any personal/romantic communication between Ruth and Idgie. Well without any certainty I can say that this understatement of homosexuality and ambiguity serves a purpose in the way our reading of the book is directed. The relationship seems to spill copiously both in the spheres of a genuine asexual female friendship and a beautiful romantic bond between the two women. Neither can one place it just in the one and not in the other. It is beautiful in both ways and so does it illuminate the prospect and possibilities of bonding between women. How much can they change each other and themselves for the better with greater self-esteem and self-identification. I would consider this book one of the most enjoyable reads ever. A southern kind of story, it is beautiful, warm, and humourous. Makes me yearn for places I have never been, and for a moment in history I can never live.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    I know I should feel guilty for loving this book as much as I do. I mean, it only has one measly murder, no mad scientist, no bloodshed and it’s not about the end of the world as we know it... But sorry, not sorry: I just love it. “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café” is just too damn awesome for me to shelve it with my junk food books. Certainly, it is chick-lit: the little Alabama town is populated by people who are way too nice and quaint to be true (even the miscreants have hearts I know I should feel guilty for loving this book as much as I do. I mean, it only has one measly murder, no mad scientist, no bloodshed and it’s not about the end of the world as we know it... But sorry, not sorry: I just love it. “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café” is just too damn awesome for me to shelve it with my junk food books. Certainly, it is chick-lit: the little Alabama town is populated by people who are way too nice and quaint to be true (even the miscreants have hearts of gold!) and there is a theme of female empowerment that is just a little bit too obvious. But those flaws are easily forgotten by the touching (but never cheesy) tale of friendship between two women, and the poignant (but never clichéd) love story of two other women. Evelyn Couch is having a mid-life crisis: her marriage is… well… duller than rain, she is hitting menopause and feels as if she has let her entire life pass her by. She meets Ninnie Threadgoode at the nursing home where her mother-in-law resides, and they become fast friends. Ninnie is one hell of a story teller, with a sharp wit and a twisted sense of humor. Every time Evelyn drops by the nursing home, Ninnie regales her with stories about her sister-in-law Idgie Threadgoode, who ran the titular Whistle Stop Café with her “friend” Ruth Jamison in the 1930’s. The two timelines are beautifully interweaved to draw the engaging story of these four women. The characterisation is lovely, if flirting a little closely with some stereotypes: Idgie can be described as a female Huck Finn, Ruth is every bit the sweet and dutiful Southern Belle, Ninnie is the filter-less old lady and Evelyn is the sad housewife who turns her life around. But that is just their surface, and the book shows them growing and changing, through good times and bad times. What truly matters here is the bond between these women, how they care for and support each other no matter what, and how being in each other’s lives has made them better people. You become very emotionally invested in all four main characters, which makes the book a breeze to read, despite its relative bulkiness. (Rant that contains some spoilers: I saw the movie before I read the book, and while the movie hints at the nature of Idgie and Ruth’s relationship, I had never really caught on to it until I read the book, which makes it completely unambiguous. I re-watched the movie after I finished the book and spent most of it smacking myself in the face for not having figured it out before. I think that Idgie and Ruth being a couple is actually relevant to Evelyn’s arc of the story: these women are an inspiration for her not because they were lesbians, but because they were not afraid of being themselves, and found a family in people not related to them by blood, which is how Evelyn eventually comes to see Ninnie – as family, not as a romantic interest. The fact that the people of Whistle Stop accepted their relationship might seem unrealistically optimistic, but I think that Flagg wanted to show that you can be accepted for being yourself no matter what that is. It is also my understanding that Flagg expressed confusion about her own sexual orientation after publishing “Fried Green Tomatoes”: the small town community embracing Ruth and Idgie regardless of their sexuality might also have been wishful thinking on her part because she yearned for the kind of support and acceptance the Whistle Stop folks and the Threadgoode family show her characters.) Do not let the deceptively simple story fool you: this is a heartwarming book about love, grief, friendship, community and how the changing times affect our lives. Nothing in “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café” is really new under the sun, but that doesn’t make it any less of a refreshing and sweet read that makes me smile and cry. The movie is just as lovely, and I recommend both enthusiastically.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Baker

    This book was one of a dozen or so books that I added to my TBR when I first joined Goodreads in January of 2013. It's also one of my favorite movies, so it's a shame that I'm just now reading the book. The audiobook narrator did a fantastic job giving different voices to the characters. The movie played in my head the entire time, except for a few parts that weren't in the movie. I loved this book so much!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    My Goodreads friend just read this book... I'm having memories of it ---AND the wonderful movie!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*

    “You know, a heart can be broken, but it keeps on beating, just the same.” After catching the movie on Netflix, I was bitten by the reading bug and decided to hunt this one down, see how it holds up, what’s different and what’s better. I found it to be a charming book of friendship and personal growth. Told mainly through the stories of Mrs. Threadgoode in the nursing home, she goes back and forth between memories, from dull things like her cat and family dinners, to intriguing things such as mu “You know, a heart can be broken, but it keeps on beating, just the same.” After catching the movie on Netflix, I was bitten by the reading bug and decided to hunt this one down, see how it holds up, what’s different and what’s better. I found it to be a charming book of friendship and personal growth. Told mainly through the stories of Mrs. Threadgoode in the nursing home, she goes back and forth between memories, from dull things like her cat and family dinners, to intriguing things such as murdered men and domestic violence. Evelyn was an excellent character – she was weak-willed, submissive, so being in her head was interesting. If she didn’t change in the end, then I doubt the author would have had the nerve to write about a woman like that. She was stuck in the proper fifties mindset of what a proper wife and woman was supposed to be, but her self-esteem was fragile and flawed, making a realistic character rather than a stereotype. When she started coming into her own, I was mixed between being amused to being alarmed she was actually losing her mind. Seriously – she was becoming demented from menopause. Thankfully Mrs. Threadgoode told her about those pills… This is a rare case where the book and movie are on par with each other. There are some differences, such as an obvious closeness between Ruth and Idgie that is clearly a lesbian relationship, but most of the story stayed the same. The book wins with personal introspection and making Evelyn the more interesting of the bunch, but the movie wins with emotional tragedy when it came to (view spoiler)[Ruth’s ending (hide spoiler)] . In book form it just didn’t carry the same oomph – strangely the murder scene was also downplayed and didn’t seem shocking written down. It read as an afterthought and minor point of the story. Sometimes my interest failed, especially with rambling of unimportant things, but the quirky Mrs. Threadgoode was fun to listen to. She had a solid way of looking at life with her viewpoints were expressed humorously. At the end there is a change with her over the movie too, which had a different note of what she brought to Evelyn’s life. In the movie she was still needed in the same role to continue the protagonist’s evolvement, but in the book form she’d finished her work and the masterpiece was complete. This is at least 90% chick-lit.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kimber

    Time & again, this book has restored my soul. Time & again, this book has restored my soul.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Francesca

    This book is a master class in writing a novel. First of all you have a solid story which takes you down the path and never wanders too far. Every element adds to the story, none of the side plots or extra details take anything away, they just keep adding to it. Secondly you have a cast of wonderful characters who are three dimensional and real. None of the characters feel unnecessary and they all add to the over all feeling of the book. There are two main stories in this book. One is of Evelyn This book is a master class in writing a novel. First of all you have a solid story which takes you down the path and never wanders too far. Every element adds to the story, none of the side plots or extra details take anything away, they just keep adding to it. Secondly you have a cast of wonderful characters who are three dimensional and real. None of the characters feel unnecessary and they all add to the over all feeling of the book. There are two main stories in this book. One is of Evelyn Couch and Mrs Threadgoode in the 1980's. The other is of Idgie, Ruth, and Whistle Stop ranging from the 1920's all the way through to the present day of Evelyn and Mrs Threadgoode. Both stories are full of life, and love, and discovery. They are so immersive that you can't help but be sucked up into the world of the novel. There are twists and turns and fluffiness galore. How a book manages to be simultaneously serious, hard hitting, and fluffy, I have no idea but this book manages it. The book explores many themes. It tackles racism, the wars, feminism, morals, murder, self-discovery, and it serves them all up in a very tasty dish (pun intended). I was so emotionally invested in the characters that I cried several times throughout this book and that doesn't happen often when I read. I am eternally grateful that I was on the balcony of my hotel room when I read the last part of the book, where only my Mum was able to see me full on ugly crying, and not by the pool where all the other guests of the hotel would have thought I was crazy. This novel touched me and I have discovered a new favourite book along with new favourite characters and a new favourite couple (OTP alert!). I can not recommend this book highly enough. It's beautiful and charming and deserves every ounce of praise that it gets.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cortney LaScola - The Bookworm Myrtle Beach

    The movie Fried Green Tomatoes has always been a favorite of mine, so I finally decided to pick up the book. I love this story, but knowing the movie so well, I really didn't need to read the book too. Still absolutely enjoyed it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Roel ✿

    Trigger warnings: (view spoiler)[Domestic abuse, alcoholism, murder, rape, racism, suicidal ideation (hide spoiler)] --------------- Even though I'm quite disappointed in myself for not loving this book as much as everybody else seems to, I'm glad there were at least some parts of it I did enjoy. In between the heavy topics this book touches on, you'll find a fair few likeable characters, good family dynamics, and a cute and subtle romance. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café is about tw Trigger warnings: (view spoiler)[Domestic abuse, alcoholism, murder, rape, racism, suicidal ideation (hide spoiler)] --------------- Even though I'm quite disappointed in myself for not loving this book as much as everybody else seems to, I'm glad there were at least some parts of it I did enjoy. In between the heavy topics this book touches on, you'll find a fair few likeable characters, good family dynamics, and a cute and subtle romance. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café is about two women that meet at a nursing home: Mrs. Threadgoode, a chatty elderly lady, and Evelyn Couch, a miserable middle-aged woman. They strike up a (very unlikely) friendship, and Mrs. Threadgoode begins to tell Evelyn the life story of two other women who lived in Whistle Stop, Alabama in the early 1900's. The two women — Idgie and Ruth — were one of the only elements of this book that kept me hooked until the end. Their whole relationship was so wholesome and they were the only two characters that really had some depth to them. Idgie is tomboyish and fiery, and her fits of rage make her all the more interesting, and Ruth is quiet and sweet and Idgie's polar opposite. "Almost immediately, the parties started, and she tried to shut out any thoughts of Whistle Stop. But sometimes, in the middle of a crowd or alone at night, she never knew when it was going to happen, Idgie would suddenly come to mind, and she would want to see her so bad that the pain of longing for her sometimes took her breath away." Racism is a consistent theme in this novel, and some scenes revolving around it made me hold my breath: (view spoiler)[Clarissa and Artis' interaction, George's constant struggles (hide spoiler)] ... The African American family that works for the Threadgoodes added a whole lot of dimension to the points Flagg was trying to make with this story. I liked that she made sure to underline that family is based on love, and not blood relation. Sadly, I grew disinterested in half of the story as it progressed. There is a constant switch between narratives of characters, and just when you start to get to know one, you're stuck with a new chapter following some side character that doesn't add much to the storyline. I got a little sidetracked. I skipped a few of the Weems Weekly bulletin chapters and skimmed through a bunch of other pages. She smiled at Evelyn. "That's what I'm living on now, honey, dreams, dreams of what I used to do." I didn't dislike this book as a whole, but I didn't really like it either. Parts were engaging, parts weren't. Still, hats off to Fannie Flagg for taking on the themes that are woven into this. --------------- Additional Notes: - I had to read this book for school and I didn't hate with a passion, so that's a first

  25. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Reading this one was like spending a sunny afternoon, lazily drinking fresh iced tea on the veranda, surrounded by friends and family. Love and highly recommend this hilarious and heart warming Southern yarn. It’s full of nostalgic moments, intriguing characters, yearning, delicious food as well as the best and the worst of human nature. So happy to have finally read this adorable and entertaining book!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Pradnya K.

    It was such a lovely story! I enjoyed it since beginning to the end. Now it's over, I'd watch the movie soon. I thought of a few of my girl friends while reading it. Without realising, we help each other. Quite often it's just few kind words that we need. To know that someone believes in you, someone roots for you and encourage you - it helps us trudge through. Or simply not go crazy. That's how I'll summarize Ninny Threadgoode and Evelyn Couch's friendship. I loved the world of Ninny which she It was such a lovely story! I enjoyed it since beginning to the end. Now it's over, I'd watch the movie soon. I thought of a few of my girl friends while reading it. Without realising, we help each other. Quite often it's just few kind words that we need. To know that someone believes in you, someone roots for you and encourage you - it helps us trudge through. Or simply not go crazy. That's how I'll summarize Ninny Threadgoode and Evelyn Couch's friendship. I loved the world of Ninny which she brings back from memories and so vividly describes to her friend, Evelyn. Must read for those who like old-time charm.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ed

    I enjoyed reading this multi-generational Southern story set in Alabama. I saw the 1991 movie version starring Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy at the cinema although I don't remember much about it except I also liked it. The novel's vibrant cast of characters (especially the strong female leads) appealed to me. The dishes served at the Whistle Stop Café also sound delicious.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    Evelyn Couch, an empty-nester woman who is unable to find meaning in her life, finds personal strength and a new zest for living through the stories and friendship of Mrs. Threadgoode, a nursing home resident. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is essentially about the relationships of two sets of women—Evelyn and Mrs. Threadgoode in the present (1980s) and Idgie and Ruth in the past. At the start of the novel, Evelyn has no purpose and finds her life unbearable. Her kids are grown a Evelyn Couch, an empty-nester woman who is unable to find meaning in her life, finds personal strength and a new zest for living through the stories and friendship of Mrs. Threadgoode, a nursing home resident. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is essentially about the relationships of two sets of women—Evelyn and Mrs. Threadgoode in the present (1980s) and Idgie and Ruth in the past. At the start of the novel, Evelyn has no purpose and finds her life unbearable. Her kids are grown and don’t talk to her, her marriage is essentially loveless, and she has no job or friends. During her visits to see her mother-in-law in the nursing home, Evelyn starts to develop a close friendship with Mrs. Threadgoode, another resident at the home. Mrs. Threadgoode recounts stories of life in Whistle Stop, Alabama from about the 1920s onward. Many of these stories center on two close friends and lesbian lovers, Ruth and Idgie. Evelyn’s and Mrs. Threadgoode’s growing friendship and inspiration from the strength of Idgie and Ruth help Evelyn become a happier, more confident person. The importance of friendship is the central, unifying theme for the whole novel. The story skips around to different times, different cities, and different characters. Yet through all of the changes that occur over time and place, the constant is that kindness and friendship can triumph the many hardships that people might face in life. Fried Green Tomatoes is a very emotional book. The characters are very likable (with the one obvious exception) and easy to empathize with. Consequently, readers will share in the emotions of the characters through both joyful and painful times. It’s also hard not to feel a sense of sorrow and loss for the gradual transformation of Whistle Stop from a bustling village into a ghost town. I really enjoyed the book. Other readers my get more out of the relationships in the book than I did. I was much more interested in the story and setting. I was lost in a sort of nostalgia for the café and the “simpler times” of Depression-era Whistle Stop. Although the book has a leisurely pace, I found that it read very quickly; I couldn’t put it down because I had to know what was going to happen next. I highly recommend it. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe will most likely appeal to women who are 30 or older and people who enjoy reading historical fiction or books that take place in the South.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Paakhi Srivastava

    Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is a unique book. It has an interesting plot, lots of black humor, a rapid to and fro journey between two completely different spaces and times, glimpses of history and some wonderful characters. Let me take you through each of these: The plot of the story is mundane that grows poignant as one reads through it. Evelyn is an empty nester, menopausal, overweight, neglected wife who meets the 86 years old high spirited Mrs. Ninny Threadgoode at the Rose Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is a unique book. It has an interesting plot, lots of black humor, a rapid to and fro journey between two completely different spaces and times, glimpses of history and some wonderful characters. Let me take you through each of these: The plot of the story is mundane that grows poignant as one reads through it. Evelyn is an empty nester, menopausal, overweight, neglected wife who meets the 86 years old high spirited Mrs. Ninny Threadgoode at the Rose Terrace Nursing Home. And… Mrs. Threadgoode starts to talk.... it is through these conversations that the author entices you to have an acquaintance with The Whistle Stop community during 1920s to 1950's. But the enthusiasm with which Ninny Threadgoode introduces the characters is very distracting at the beginning. I could not help but identify with Evelyn who, I assume must have been equally baffled. However, the reader gradually develops a fondness for each character. I marvel at the author’s skill at characterization though, each one is introduced episodically, all the characters seem real. I loved each character and wondered, 'what happened to that one?' I am quite glad that Flagg concluded each character’s life story. The narrative is notable because the flashbacks and flashforwards occur with ease and the transition comes through the ‘weekly news’ which lends coherence despite seeming discontinuity. Fannie Flagg throws at you this volley of comic instances, intermittent conversations and ‘weekly news’ wrapped in black humor which all finds resolution at the end. Skirting along an episodic narrative, Flagg broaches the issues of domestic abuse, racial discrimination and depression around that time. Of particular significance is the attitude of benevolence, equality and amity with the then called ‘colored’ people. This is opposed to descriptions of oppression and discrimination that we normally come across in other books written around the same time as this one. The main premise of the book remains to be of love, friendship and loyalty that go beyond differences of all kind. The same influences Evelyn, to overcome hesitations, self defeating beliefs and doubts that aid in personal liberation. Ninny Threadgoode’s dealing with her arduous life is something that you can take home from the book. It is remarkable that with much ease she takes a lighter perspective on everything. In one conversation, Ninny tells Evelyn with time the differences between a married couple become apparent and how easily you develop liking for them because they are a part of the very person you love. :) Here, I conclude this review and recommend this book which is so full of goodness.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Obsidian

    The problem most of the time is the book is better than the movie. In this case, I found the movie to be better than the book. I think the fact that book jumped around a lot made it a bit hard to follow. And the ending was definitely bittersweet with so many characters who had lived with each other for decades who ended up moving on when their little town started to die. I guess this book made me a bit homesick and sad, since I see my hometown going the same way. It's slowly dying and eventually The problem most of the time is the book is better than the movie. In this case, I found the movie to be better than the book. I think the fact that book jumped around a lot made it a bit hard to follow. And the ending was definitely bittersweet with so many characters who had lived with each other for decades who ended up moving on when their little town started to die. I guess this book made me a bit homesick and sad, since I see my hometown going the same way. It's slowly dying and eventually I think in a generation it will be almost a ghost town. "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe" begins with a woman named Evelyn who on a weekly basis just forced to visit her mother in law at the retirement home the older woman now lives. She ends up sitting next to an elderly woman named Ninny Threadgood who proceeds to tell her stories about her family and friends that lived in Whistle Stop, Alabama. At first Evelyn feels annoyed this woman has latched onto her, but she soon starts to live for the weekly stories of Idgie, Buddy, Ruth, Stump, Big George, Sipsey, Dottie Weems, and others. I think that Evelyn and even Ninny were developed a lot. Others in the story I wish we could follow up with more. We just got quick vignettes with them. For example, Big George's kids popped in and out of the story, I would even say so did Ruth and Idgie. I would honestly say the character after Evelyn and Ninny I felt was developed very well was Dottie Weems. We are only introduced to her by way of weekly bulletins about Whistle Stop, but her humor and love for the town was great. I will say that the main reason why I just couldn't give this book higher than four stars was the fact that I thought that Flagg kind of took the easy way out not really describing the relationship between Idgie and Ruth. I'm assuming that they were both lesbians or at least that's how the book portrayed them. And that fact that everybody in the small town of Alabama in the 1930s was fine with Idgie and Ruth living together and Ruth's son Stump being called her son I thought was a bit of a reach. I can't see people being okay, but the fact that just called Idgie "wild" which I'm assuming was code for being gay was also weird to me. That's the only part of the book that felt kind of false to me. But then I also feel sad because I don't think the movie really showed her as being gay just as liking to wear men's clothes. So like I said I'm just kind of of two minds of how those two characters were shown. I just wish we had gotten more scenes between them. Flagg does also touch upon the racism of the south in 1930s and the late 1980s. I did think she slowly shows that for some people even for some of the so called good characters they still had prejudices towards African Americans. For example, Evelyn realizing that she was just raised to be just scared of black men and when she finally went to the church and got to hang out with more African Americans felt at home I did not find uplifting, but sad. I do think the way that the book just portrayed African Americans in a couple of places did make me cringe. The writing was really good. Flagg can tell a story. The flow got off in the middle. The book just jumps from subject to subject before finally hitting it's stride again. Whistle Stop as I said above reminded me a lot of my hometown and a lot of dying towns in the US. The ending as I said was bittersweet though I was a bit confused by it. We get to see what happened to one character and I'm surprised they were at another location far from Alabama.

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