Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg
Lonely Evelyn befriends elderly Ninny who reminisces about the people she knew and loved in Whistle Stop, Alabama during the Depression. He stories are supplemented by excerpts from the Weems Weekly, a weekly newsletter written by Dot Weems of the Post Office in Whistle Stop, and by third-person narrative that allows the reader to see a bit more than Ninny may have been aware of in Whistle Stop. Ninny’s tales mostly follow the exploits of Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison. Idgie was a tomboy who loved practical jokes and telling tall tales. She helped people out whenever she could and loved Ruth with all her heart. Ruth and Idgie opened up the Whistle Stop Café after Ruth left her husband in Georgia. The two of them raised Ruth’s son Stump together and were well-loved by the entire town. Meanwhile in the present, Evelyn rises out of her depression through her friendship with Ninny.
I saw the movie 15-20 years ago and vaguely remember enjoying it, but very little else. And that’s good, because this story has a couple of mysteries and I was surprised by both. Who killed Frank Bennett? (I had this one narrowed down to three characters and turned out to be completely wrong. It was great.) Who is Railroad Bill, who throws canned food and goods from the train for the poor black folks in Troutville during the Depression? Troutville characters also play a large part in the book. Sipsey and her son Big George both cook at the café and the story follows Big George’s children as well, especially Artis Peavey.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It’s funny and heartfelt, and it’s clear how much love Flagg had for these characters. Since it’s been such a long time, I think I’ll rewatch the movie soon.
Review by Jessica A.