Welcome to guest blogger Olivia George. We hope you enjoy her review of Fannie Flagg's Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café.
Many of you have probably heard/seen the movie Fried Green Tomatoes. Well, you haven't read the book, and the movie just isn't good enough.
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café follows the interconnected lives of several folks living in Birmingham and Whistle Stop, Alabama. In 1987, Evelyn Couch is lost in life. She is overweight and can't stop eating. She is putting up with her husband's affairs. And she just can't find anywhere to fit in. That is, until she meets Ninny Threadgoode. A kindly old woman who lives at her mother-in-laws nursing home, Mrs. Threadgoode is the epitome of chatty-cathy. She doesn't even know Evelyn when she begins to tell her about her life in Whistle Stop and all the colorful characters she knew there. There's the Threadgoode family, who she married into. A big, wonderful family, they took Virginia (Ninny) in as a little girl and raised her as one of their own. So from then on, every visitor's day, Evelyn would politely say hello to her mother-in-law and then scurry into the lounge to listen to Mrs. Threadgoode's fascinating stories.
Traveling back in time, Ninny tells Evelyn about Buddy Threadgoode, a charmer to be sure, who was killed by a train. Then there's Idgie, the baby of the family, the tomboy. There's also Cleo, Leona, Essie Rue, and a few others. But let's just focus on Idgie.
Idgie is a loner, and she likes her freedom. Okay, loves her freedom. She's never loved anybody as much as she loved her brother Buddy, and it nearly killed her when he died. That is, until Ruth Jamison came to town. The best friend she's ever had, Idgie swears to protect her and love her. And she stays true to her word. Idgie saves Ruth from an abusive husband. She opens The Whistle Stop Café to support her. She helps raise her boy Buddy Jr. And when Ruth becomes sick with cancer, she cares for her night and day. She takes care of Buddy after she dies and forever honors her memory.
Evelyn becomes caught up in the world of Whistle Stop and often imagines herself living there, talking to Idgie and Ruth. Seeing Buddy's death. And there are so many other characters to become acquainted with: Dot Weems, Smokey Lonesome, Grady Kilgore, Big George, Sipsey, Onzell, Naughty Bird, Artis, Jasper, Willie Boy.
Believe me, you'll fall in love with all these characters. You too, like Evelyn Couch, will lose yourself in Whistle Stop. You'll become friends with Smokey and Grady. You'll imagine Onzell's buttery biscuits and Big George's mouthwatering barbeque. I unfortunately saw the movie before I read the book, and now that I have read the book, I might never go back. I hate movie that change the endings of books. That's all I have to say on it.
I love this book. I live in the South, and I understand the culture. But it's a beautiful story for anyone about loyalty and love and confidence and finding yourself. This is a good read for anytime, but especially when you need a boost. Be sure to check this book out, or you'll regret it!