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Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (1987)

by Fannie Flagg

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,376152867 (4.12)1 / 343
Mrs. Threadgoode's tale of two high-spirited women of the 1930s, Idgie and Ruth, helps Evelyn, a 1980s woman in a sad slump of middle age, to begin to rejuvenate her own life.
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    Caramellunacy: Both stories are bittersweet - tales of hardship, prejudice and hope although they are set in very different places and very different times. Both are heartwarming, but best of all, both stories also had me laughing uproariously at one point or other. Fried Green Tomatoes jumps around but describes life, race relations and murder in a small Southern town during the Great Depression. Shaffer's novel deals with the occupation (and its aftermath) of the small Channel Island of Guernsey during WWII.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 142 (next | show all)
Been meaning to read this since I first saw the movie, but I'm so glad I didn't. I don't think I would have appreciated the book as a young woman, since now I identify so strongly with Evelyn Couch that it's painful. Highly recommended. As good as, or maybe better than, the movie. ( )
  Jessica_Olin | Sep 17, 2020 |
The writing in Fried Green Tomatoes is fantastic, and the story is both engaging and very moving. I loved the main romance and the structure.

Unfortunately there is an impossible to ignore presence of white-savior-flavor racism. I assume it may have been progressive at the time (1987), as it clearly attempts to have an anti-racist message via depictions of racism and favorable/varied black characters. The author ultimately fails here though, which again I think is best summarized as white savior-ism (along with some other factors). So, I would only recommend reading if you think you can compartmentalize that kind of thing well. ( )
  blueshiftofdeath | Sep 9, 2020 |
So much of this book is a fun time and I love how accepted Ruth and Idgie are as a couple by everyone around them and Evelyn's aromantic feminist revelations, but damn if there ain't a shit ton of paternalistic racism and fatphobia. ( )
  irasobrietate | Aug 31, 2020 |
The problem most of the time is the book is better than the movie. In this case, I found the movie to be better than the book.

I think the fact that book jumped around a lot made it a bit hard to follow. And the ending was definitely bittersweet with so many characters who had lived with each other for decades who ended up moving on when their little town started to die. I guess this book made me a bit homesick and sad, since I see my hometown going the same way. It's slowly dying and eventually I think in a generation it will be almost a ghost town.

"Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe" begins with a woman named Evelyn who on a weekly basis just forced to visit her mother in law at the retirement home the older woman now lives. She ends up sitting next to an elderly woman named Ninny Threadgood who proceeds to tell her stories about her family and friends that lived in Whistle Stop, Alabama.

At first Evelyn feels annoyed this woman has latched onto her, but she soon starts to live for the weekly stories of Idgie, Buddy, Ruth, Stump, Big George, Sipsey, Dottie Weems, and others.

I think that Evelyn and even Ninny were developed a lot. Others in the story I wish we could follow up with more. We just got quick vignettes with them. For example, Big George's kids popped in and out of the story, I would even say so did Ruth and Idgie. I would honestly say the character after Evelyn and Ninny I felt was developed very well was Dottie Weems. We are only introduced to her by way of weekly bulletins about Whistle Stop, but her humor and love for the town was great.

I will say that the main reason why I just couldn't give this book higher than four stars was the fact that I thought that Flagg kind of took the easy way out not really describing the relationship between Idgie and Ruth. I'm assuming that they were both lesbians or at least that's how the book portrayed them. And that fact that everybody in the small town of Alabama in the 1930s was fine with Idgie and Ruth living together and Ruth's son Stump being called her son I thought was a bit of a reach. I can't see people being okay, but the fact that just called Idgie "wild" which I'm assuming was code for being gay was also weird to me. That's the only part of the book that felt kind of false to me. But then I also feel sad because I don't think the movie really showed her as being gay just as liking to wear men's clothes. So like I said I'm just kind of of two minds of how those two characters were shown. I just wish we had gotten more scenes between them.

Flagg does also touch upon the racism of the south in 1930s and the late 1980s. I did think she slowly shows that for some people even for some of the so called good characters they still had prejudices towards African Americans. For example, Evelyn realizing that she was just raised to be just scared of black men and when she finally went to the church and got to hang out with more African Americans felt at home I did not find uplifting, but sad. I do think the way that the book just portrayed African Americans in a couple of places did make me cringe.

The writing was really good. Flagg can tell a story. The flow got off in the middle. The book just jumps from subject to subject before finally hitting it's stride again.

Whistle Stop as I said above reminded me a lot of my hometown and a lot of dying towns in the US.

The ending as I said was bittersweet though I was a bit confused by it. We get to see what happened to one character and I'm surprised they were at another location far from Alabama. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
Never knew this was written by Fannie Flagg! Love the book, love the movie.. but ummm won't eat fried green tomatoes. ( )
  nwieme | Mar 19, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 142 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Flagg, Fannieprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Langotsky, LillyDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Minor, WendellIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pozanco, VíctorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
I may be sitting here at the Rose Terrace Nursing Home, but in my mind I'm over at the Whistle Stop Cafe having a plate of fried green tomatoes. - Mrs. Cleo Threadgoode June 1986
Dedication
For Tommy Thompson
First words
The Whistle Stop Cafe opened up last week, right next door to me at the post office, and owners Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamieson said business has been good ever since.
Quotations
He wanted to get out of Chicago; the wind that whipped around the buildings was so cold that it sometimes brought a tear to a man's eye.
But who could have known that all the shiny shoes and flashy three-piece suits could never cover up the bitterness that had been growing in his heart all these years...
His main problem in life, at the moment, was that he loved too well and not too wisely.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Mrs. Threadgoode's tale of two high-spirited women of the 1930s, Idgie and Ruth, helps Evelyn, a 1980s woman in a sad slump of middle age, to begin to rejuvenate her own life.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
"Watch out for Fannie Flagg. When I walked into the Whistle Stop Cafe, she fractured my funny bone, drained my tear ducts, and stole my heart."



Florence King

"Fannie Flagg is a first-class writer. This book is so much fun it makes me sick I missed the Depression."

Erma Bombeck

From the backcover of the Random House first edition (ISBN 0-394-56152-X
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