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 characters and tragedies than the movie chose to portray, and the sadness of some of the stories dragged down the humorous parts of the book I guess I had expected the movie when I opened the pages and that is always a dangerous thing Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Caf 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 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 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 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 4.5 stars It S First The Story Of Two Women In The S, 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 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. 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. 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 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. 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 toWonderful 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. 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 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 goldAnd as she gets and 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. 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 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 youHer 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 person walk all over her Face it girls I m older and I have insurance. GahIt 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 CommentsRead 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.Blog Instagram Twitter 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 of Fannie Flagg s southern novels.
Fannie Flagg began writing and producing television specials at age nineteen and went on to distinguish herself as an actress and writer in television, films, and the theater She is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe which was produced by Universal Pictures as Fried Green Tomatoes , Welcome to the World, Bab
- 416 pages
- Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
- Fannie Flagg
- 01 August 2019 Fannie Flagg