Yes, Lovers of Idgie and Ruth and Ninny Threadgoode, all who hail from the teeny tiny town of Whistle Stop, rejoice! They are back in Fannie Flagg’s followup novel, The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop.
I loved the original book, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, and its subsequent movie, cleverly called Fried Green Tomatoes, so much that I think of those characters often. So it was with great joy that I discovered that Fannie Flagg has given us an update on those beloved characters.
Ruth, of course, died in the first book. She left Idgie grieving enormously, kept grounded only by Ruth’s son Bud. In The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop, Bud has grown older and yearns to see Whistle Stop once more before he is too old to travel. Whistle Stop — like many towns who were left behind when interstate highways were built, or train stops were eliminated — has become nothing more than a ghost town. Wonder Boy tells us how Bud achieves his dream, and more.
The story is told almost like a series of vignettes, which threw me for a bit. It went back and forth in time, reintroducing some of the old characters and meeting brand new friends. Primary among the new friends is Bud’s daughter Ruthie. She has grown up hearing her dad talk about his wonderful childhood, and it has made her curious.
Idgie has grown older but has lost none of her pizazz. If anything, she has gotten feistier than ever. Through flashbacks and memories, we once again get to enjoy Ninny and hear her stories of Whistle Stop. We relive Christmas at the cafe. Even Evelyn — who is now a widow and enormously wealthy — plays a wonderful role in the story. I loved how the book ended.
Flagg’s writing makes the reader feel as though they are sitting next to the characters, drinking a Co-Cola and talking about the weather. It was such a wonderful story to read during a time when things aren’t always pleasant on the news.
I highly recommend this book, but you must read Fried Green Tomatoes first.