Title: Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café
Author: Fannie Flagg
Genre: Literary fiction
Date Read: 13/07/2014 – 25/07/2014
This is one of my boyfriend’s favourite books, and he’s been on at me for ages to read it, despite the fact that I’m really more of a genre fiction fan and literary fiction really isn’t my thing… well, having said that, on the rare occasion I do read this type of thing, I usually end up enjoying it, but it takes me a while to get into it and I probably won’t start it unless I have a reason (such as a pushy boyfriend). He had throughout various conversations mentioned snippets of the novel though and it sounded entertaining, so when we finally got all his books out of storage, I decided to give it a go (I say that. I wasn’t given any choice.)
Fried Green Tomatoes tells two stories: the first, of a small town called Whistle Stop, in Alabama, through two World Wars and the Depression in between, and the other of Evelyn Couch, an unhappy, middle-aged woman living in the 1980s, whose life begins to turn around when she befriends an elderly lady living in the same nursing home as her mother-in-law.
Particularly when I was first starting the book, my main problem was that not a lot was really happening. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some great characters, but I need a plot to follow as well. Whistle Stop has many endearing characters, but the plot basically served to show off different aspects of this small town, rather than a traditional A to B to C story. The major players, though, such as Idgie Threadgoode, do end up drawing you in the more you read, and Evelyn’s journey to self-acceptance was definitely a highlight of the book.
There were moments when I thought certain plots weren’t going to be resolved, but everything does come together in the end and the reader gets to hear the resolutions of stories even if Evelyn doesn’t. As all the ends were tied up, I found myself actually getting rather teary, which I think is more to do with the quality of the writing than with my actual investment in the story, but the fact that it did evoke that reaction in me is why I bumped it up to four stars; it had really only been giving me a three-star vibe up until then.
Like I said, this isn’t the type of thing I would normally read, but I can see why it has become a classic amongst those who do enjoy this type of writing.