Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It seems like this book started a whole new genre in Southern writing. It's the South at it's best and worst. It is sleepy little towns at their best and worst.
The book is about two women, Ninny whom Evelyn, who meets in a nursing home while her husband visits with his mother. Ninny tells about the town she was raised in and various threads weave in and out. Sometimes the book is confusing and hard to keep in order, but I remember sitting outside on the porch in Mississippi and listen to my family tell stories and it seemed like they went just this way. As a child, I did not want to interrupt to have a detail clarified because someone would notice that it was way past my bedtime, or I had something else I should be doing, or worst of all, what they were discussing wasn't a subject I should have been listening to.
The old story is about Idgie and Ruth who run the Whistle Stop Cafe and raise a boy together. It isn't totally clear to the town if it is a lesbian relationship but it is just accepted in Whistle Stop. I don't see any inconsistency with it in the book because the old South has always been very tolerant of people who might be called characters.
Idgie idolized Buddy Threadgood and when he was killed, something happened to her. She was always a tomboy, but she became wild and nothing civilized her until Ruth came one summer to teach Vacation Bible School.
As Ninny tells the tale to Evelyn, we also see a change in her. She starts taking hormones for menopause and selling Mary Kay cosmeticis. It is as if she wakes up and begins to be a person. While the book was better than the movie, the one scene where Kathy Bates (Evelyn) rams a young woman's car is absolutely priceless and worth seeing the movie for.
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