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Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop…
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Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe / Welcome to the World, Baby… (original 1987; edition 2005)

by Fannie Flagg

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,907116707 (4.12)1 / 298
Member:KarenSkullerud
Title:Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe / Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!
Authors:Fannie Flagg
Info:Ballantine Books (2005), Edition: 2 Bks in 1, Paperback, 928 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:FIC, South, Depression-era friendship; Birmingham, Alabama

Work details

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg (1987)

  1. 70
    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (Caramellunacy)
    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)
  2. 50
    Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns (citygirl)
  3. 20
    Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind by Ann B. Ross (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  4. 20
    Divining Women by Kaye Gibbons (shesinplainview)
    shesinplainview: In both books two women become close, one provides protection for the other from an abusive husband.
  5. 00
    The Well and the Mine by Gin Phillips (historycycles)
  6. 00
    Truelove & Homegrown Tomatoes : A Novel by Julie L. Cannon (Yells)
  7. 00
    The Interior Life by Katherine Blake (infiniteletters)
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English (106)  Italian (3)  French (2)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (115)
Showing 1-5 of 106 (next | show all)
Honestly, not as good as the movie. However, it is worth the purchase alone just for the recipes included in the back. If you have always wanted to be able to make your Grandmother's biscuits, fried chicken, or fried green tomatoes, buy this book. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
Love the movie but I think I liked the book even better. Not that Kathy Bates did a bad job, but I liked the character as I read her better. ( )
  mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
Love the movie but I think I liked the book even better. Not that Kathy Bates did a bad job, but I liked the character as I read her better. ( )
  mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
The story jumps narration and sequence and is distinctive in chapter opening visuals to establish the date and the source of the chapter. Some come from the fictional newspaper in Whistle Stop, Alabama called The Weems Weekly. Some come from the Couchs' house in Birmingham, and others fill in some of the more intimate details of the stories told about the characters.

The story is told through many generations and begins in 1985 with an unfulfilled housewife named Evelyn Couch, who visits her mother-in-law, who dislikes her, at an Alabama nursing home. While avoiding her, Evelyn meets nursing home resident Ninny Threadgoode, who begins to tell her random stories of her home in Whistle Stop, beginning in the 1920s. Evelyn becomes so interested in the stories of Whistle Stop that her life begins to take new meaning in the characters in Mrs. Threadgoode's history.

Ninny Threadgoode grew up in a bustling house after being adopted by the Threadgoode family and eventually married one of the brothers. Her first love, however, was young Buddy Threadgoode, whose pet of all the children was the youngest girl, Idgie (Imogene). An unrepentant tomboy, Idgie learned her charm from Buddy. Buddy died tragically, when a train hit him, and high school-aged Idgie was devastated. Nothing civilized her until a few summers later when beautiful and virtuous Ruth Jamison came to live with the family while she taught Vacation Bible School. The family and servants watched with amusement as Idgie fell head over heels in love with Ruth, but when Ruth went home to Georgia to marry a man she was promised to, once more, Idgie drank too much, lived in the woods, and fell apart.

After a few years, Idgie went to check up on Ruth and discovered that her husband, Frank Bennett, was abusing her. When Ruth's mother died of illness soon after, a page torn from the Book of Ruth in the Bible was sent to the Threadgoode house (appropriately Ruth 1:16, "But Ruth said, 'Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.'"), and Idgie, her brother Julian, and Big George (son of the Threadgoode cook, Sipsey) went to Georgia to bring the pregnant Ruth home. Frank resisted, but Ruth came home and promised never to leave Idgie again. Papa Threadgoode gave Idgie money to start a business so that she could care for Ruth and their son. She bought the cafe where Sipsey and her daughter-in-law Onzell cooked, and Big George, married to Onzell, made the best barbecue in Alabama.

Idgie and Ruth raised Ruth's son, and the cafe became known all over the US during The Great Depression through the communication of hobos, especially half-time Whistle Stop resident Smokey Lonesome. It had a reputation for feeding men down on their luck, and Idgie and Ruth got in trouble from local law enforcement when they decided to serve black customers from the back door at lowered prices. It was about this point that Georgia detectives started asking about the suspicious disappearance of Ruth's ex-husband.

Evelyn Couch becomes so entwined in Mrs. Threadgoode's stories that she begins to live them in her mind, and she realizes how purposeless her life has become and how pointless her reasons were for caring about people's opinions while growing up. Overweight and virtually ignored by her husband, Evelyn becomes inspired by Idgie's boldness and audacity and creates an alter-ego named Towanda, a hyper-violent, Amazon-like character who lashes out at people. Made uneasy by how much satisfaction she feels at lashing out, Evelyn confesses to Mrs. Threadgoode what is happening. She gets a job with Mary Kay Cosmetics and, at Mrs. Threadgoode's suggestion, starts to take hormones for menopause.

Prodded on by Evelyn, Ninny resumes her story. For years the cafe ran--through World War II and into the 1950s. Idgie and Ruth's son grew up, and the lives of the town members moved on. However, when Ruth died of cancer, the life went out of the cafe. Soon after, Idgie herself was arrested along with Big George for the murder of Frank Bennett when his car was found at the bottom of a lake outside of Whistle Stop. The case is dismissed at the trial when the local minister, paying Idgie back for anonymously bailing his son out of jail, lies on the stand and testifies that she and Big George were at a three day revival the weekend Frank Bennett went missing. Bennett's body was never found, but it is revealed toward the end that Sipsey killed him as he came into the cafe to kidnap Ruth's infant son by slamming a cast iron skillet on his head. Big George barbecued the body, and Sipsey buried the head in the Threadgoodes' garden.

Evelyn gets called home from a weight loss camp when Mrs. Threadgoode dies. Evelyn visits her grave, driving her new pink Cadillac. After visiting her grave, Evelyn notices a note from Idgie on Ruth's grave, placed there moments before.

In an epilogue, it is revealed that Idgie is still alive and now sells honey by a roadside stand.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
It took a day or two to get into the book; it flits between the 1930s and the 1980s and I had a hard time keeping track of all the people in the 1930s. But gradually the main characters emerged and I found myself eager to read more.

The story in the 1930s is shocking in places, dealing with rampant racism (there are many instances of a word that is now taboo), violence, infidelity, and yet acceptance of a (presumably) lesbian couple. There’s an ongoing mystery, too, whose perpetrator is revealed in a flashback towards the end of the book.

Despite a Southern American culture of drop-outs, legal apartheid and paternalism, there’s a warmth that seeps into the pages. There’s a sense of extended family, and of caring for strangers which is rather lacking in the 1980s section. It’s cleverly written, intertwining past and present as it does, with poignancy in the last pages.

Recommended if you’re interested in American social history of the 1930s, or just want a good read that’s different from the norm. The film with the same name is excellent too; screenplay was written by the author of the book, so it sticks to it pretty closely. ( )
1 vote SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fannie Flaggprimary 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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Unknown if movie or book
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

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
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0070212570, Paperback)

no description

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:44 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Elderly Mrs. Threadgoode relates the story of her life and of her best friend, Ruth, who ran the Whistle Stop Cafe in Alabama in the thirties.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

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