I absolutely adore reading - my love for books has had a huge impact on my life! I'm going to grad school to be a children's/YA librarian.
Folksy and fresh, endearing and affecting, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is the now-classic novel 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. And as the past unfolds, the present--for Evelyn and for us--will never be quite the same again. . . . (source)
This book took me WAY too long to read - I started it on my birthday in December and I finished it today, almost 2 months later. This is no reflection on the quality of the book, however. I read it with my book club and due to our collectively super busy holiday season, we moved REALLY slowly with it. Well, today, I had some extra time because there's a blizzard going on so I figured "What the heck - reading day!" and finished it.
Fried Green Tomatoes is a great piece of Southern women's literature - that's not to say that men won't enjoy it, too; it's hilarious and I really believe that just about anyone would find a reason to smile during it at some point. But really, I do think that, in general, women would enjoy it more - the main characters are all women and generally it deals more with women's lives than men's. Basically, if you liked the movie Steel Magnolias, you should give this a try. It's probably right up your alley!
The format is pretty unique. The chapters are all very short and for the most part it alternates between the 1930s and the 1980s, but towards the end of the book it does touch on the decades in between there as well. To be honest, it's kind of more like a collection of short stories told out of order that can be strung together to show one big picture than a traditional novel. For this book, that format works, especially as Fannie Flagg makes sure to put the date at the beginning of every chapter.
I really liked the way that Flagg approached Idgie and Ruth's relationship. I don't think that it was the most realistic portrayal - I find it incredibly difficult to believe that two women who were openly having a romantic relationship in the 1930s deep South would have been able to freely live their lives without facing prejudice in their community. However, I really liked that Flagg presented it this way: here are two women who love each other, it's just the way it is, deal with it. She never really made a big deal about it, and I liked that - it was like they were just like any other couple.
This is a book that will bring you to both laughter and tears and, unless you're reading it at an incredibly slow pace because of your book club's schedule, I think you'll fly through it. I'm really glad that I bought this book - I definitely plan to read it again someday and I hope to watch the movie soon!