Book Review: Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg

9375Fried 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.

Book Review: The Charmed Sphere by Catherine Asaro

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I have read a lot of books with magic in them, but I have never read one that takes such a different path as this book does. In the realm of the Charmed Sphere, Asaro delineates her mages using the colors of the rainbow, the higher you are on the arc of the rainbow, the more powerful you are. Red being the weakest and Indigo Mages being the strongest, therefore very rare indeed, each color having their own specialty, blue being good at effecting moods and so forth. Also, each mage has a shape assigned to their power level, the more sides a shape has the more powerful they are, with a sphere the strongest with an infinite number of sides. I found this an interesting way of categorizing mages, that I have never experienced before, with a very beautiful and elegant structure.

Review by Leslie B.

What’s New at the Library?

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See what’s new this week at the Danville Public Library at:

*** http://wowbrary.org/nu.aspx?fb&p=8491-141 ***

There are six new bestsellers, six new videos, two new children’s books, and 16 other new books.

The new bestsellers this week include “Theft by Finding: Diaries,” “The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis–and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance,” and “Come Sundown.” The new videos this week include “Logan,” “The Great Wall,” and “The Great Wall.”

Beloved by Toni Morrison

belovedReminder: Page Turners Book Club will be meeting to discuss this book on Thursday, June 8 at 3:00 PM.

This is the story of a formerly enslaved woman named Sethe who makes an incredibly difficult and shocking decision upon being faced with the possibility of being taken back to Kentucky. We don’t learn the full details of what she did until about two-thirds of the way through the book, but really early on we know that it involves the death of one of her children. She gets a pink gravestone for this daughter with the world “Beloved” cut into the stone.

Fast-forward about 18 years and her youngest daughter is still living at home. Her two sons have long ago left to make their own way in the world. Paul D, whom Sethe knew back the Sweet Home plantation, drops by for a visit and encounters the anger of the ghost that haunts the house. It is generally understood that this ghost is Sethe’s dead daughter. A few days later, Beloved arrives on the doorstep. She is about 19 or 20 years old and has no history and no family. She just shows up and there’s something very odd about her.

I really loved this book. I had not realized at the start that it would be a ghost story, but it works really well. It makes sense that the horrors of slavery and its many casualties would manifest in new horrors. It also serves as a good argument against the notion of “good” slaveowners. Sweet Home as run by Mr. Garner was not as cruel as other plantations. Yet when Baby Suggs gets her first taste of freedom in her 60s, she can’t imagine anything better. She realizes that she had never truly lived before that moment.

Beloved tells the history of slavery from the perspective of those hurt most by it. It can be a difficult read at times, but it’s well worth it. This is history that needs to be told, and doing so in this manner, in a novel where we sympathize with each of the protagonists, the emotional impact of this history can be keenly felt by the reader. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to discussing with my book club later this week.

Review by Jessica A.