Friday, April 30, 2010

Book Review: Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

Author: Fannie Flagg
Pages: 416
Format: Paperback
Genre: Chick Lit
Star Rating: 4/5
Buy: Amazon

My Summary: A very character-driven book, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe follows the story of the people who live in Whistle Stop Alabama from the late 1920s all the way through to Birmingham in the 1980s. The story is told in second and third person, going back and forth between conservations between Evelyn Couch and Ninny Threadgood.

Themes: Racism and race relations before the civil rights movement and after; vague GLBT themes; small town life

My Thoughts: I loved it! This book is a new favorite of mine, which took me by surprise.

I really enjoyed reading about the various lives in Whistle Stop, Alabama and the stories that were threaded throughout the novel. I also felt that this was well-accomplished and neatly done by Fannie Flagg, though there are many others who disagree (see reviews on any of the networking sites listed above).

If you haven't seen the movie (and I hadn't, would you believe it?), please be aware that this book jumps around in time quite a bit, from the twenties to the thirties, to the eighties to the forties to the twenties and back again, over and over. Sometimes story lines drop off entirely only to be picked up again much later in the book. This worked for me, but I can see how others might have struggled with this.

I hear the movie is better than the book -- it's going to have to work hard to do that for me when I get a chance to see it!


  1. This is one of my all-time favorite movies! Glad you liked the book!

  2. I don't know if I want to watch the movie now. I've heard it's better but... I can't see it working as a movie.

    LOL still can't believe I've never seen it.

  3. I saw the movie at least three times before finally picking up the book... I actually think the movie works better. They did end up doing some fact-switching, condensing, and cutting to make the story work more in a movie-sense, but I thought it worked well.

    - Rebecca

  4. I've seen little bits and pieces of the movie. One of the reasons I abandoned it was just that I didn't feel like it particularly flowed.

    My family is going to Ohio to visit my parents for Mother's Day, and my best friend loves the movie. I'm hoping to watch it while we're up there so that I can get a grip on it. I'll obviously be able to say more then :)

  5. This is on my TBR list! Thanks for sharing--I am excited to read the book. I saw the movie, but it was a long time ago, so I feel safe reading the book. I really hate to see the movie if I ever plan on reading the book (kind of a pet peeve of mine).

  6. I loved it, Julie. Try to slip this one in when you're feeling overwhelmed with heavier stuff. It's a nice, easy read, though not always light hearted. Very... hearty :)

  7. I can never believe I haven't read this book yet - I do have it on my TBR for the Colour Challenge. Thanks for the review and I'll look forward to reading it now. I did enjoy the movie.

  8. I'm glad you liked it, but I'm not surprised. I knew you would. I like the book more. When we watch the movie together, I'll tell you why.

    On a side note, I wish they would make "Welcome To The World, Baby Girl" into a movie. I know who they could cast as the lead!

  9. Cat: I think you'll like it from an historical perspective. Granted, it's the US in the twentieth century, but I really liked the slice of history that the book depicted, somewhat more accurately (in my opinion) than other books I've read from that time period and setting.

    Lodi: Hopefully we'll get a chance and you won't have to move the TV into the living room. We'll figure something out. Maybe Ashley will want to watch, too.

    I'm going to get Welcome to the World, Baby Girl when I get a chance. I've got one more that I absolutely have to pick up next week, possibly two. Still deciding about The Host.

  10. Hi Becki!
    I'm so glad you liked this one. I've watched the movie and have been toying with the idea of reading the book by Fannie Flagg but didn't think it would be as interesting. I thought the movie flowed pretty well, and loved the ambiguity at the end. I really hope you give it a try! ;)

    Off-topic - You're reading Shutter Island!!! Can't wait for the review. Have you watched the movie by any chance?

  11. I'll be seeing the movie next week, Elle. Looking forward to seeing how it works out in film version :) Fried Green Tomatoes that is. I probably won't be seeing Shutter Island. I haven't seen it yet, but I don't see it being as exciting once you've read the book.