Friday Book Whimsy: The Whole Town’s Talking

Quite frankly, no one could have gotten away with this book except the author Fannie Flagg. For what other author would someone be patient enough to read a book in which most of the characters are dead and buried? Especially if it’s not a horror story?

As far as this reviewer is concerned, Fannie Flagg will never write a story as funny, poignant, and compelling as Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, but I’m glad she keeps trying. While I don’t absolutely LOVE every one of her books, I think it’s safe to say that they nearly all – or at least the ones I have read – make me smile.

That’s because the stories are all character-driven, and her characters are all lovable. Even if they’re dead.

The story begins many years ago with Lordor Nordstrom, an immigrant from Sweden homesteading in Missouri. The area in which he lives is made up entirely of Swedish immigrants. With Lordor taking the lead, the people eventually begin building the makings of a town, which they call Elmwood Springs, with Lordor serving as mayor. They build businesses, churches and even a cemetery.

The town becomes a bustling community with loving friends and neighbors, business owners, preachers, and all manner of people who make up a normal town. But things become interesting when people begin to die. Because lo, and behold, though they are buried in the cemetery, they are still able to talk and observe what’s going on in their little community.

And that’s about all that happens in the book. The story is told almost primarily through the voices of the dead. And it’s okay. Because they people of Elmwood Springs watch out for each other whether living or dead.

There are so many characters over so many years that it becomes confusing for the reader, or at least for this reader. Still, I enjoyed the book very much and it left me feeling good.

That’s about as good a compliment as I can give a novel.

Here is a link to the book.

Friday Book Whimsy: The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion

imgresFannie Flagg knows how to tell a great story. I have felt this way ever since I read Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, which will always be one of my favorite books.

Reading anything written by Flagg is like sitting in a comfortable chair next to a fireplace listening to your grandmother or a favorite aunt tell you a story. The characters may be too quirky to be believable. The plot may wobble in parts. But you can count on a good story.

Sookie Poole is entering a new phase of her life. Her last daughter has gotten married and Sookie is looking forward to spending more time with her husband enjoying their life together. That is, until one day she opens a certified letter addressed to her mother – an erratic social climber who lives in an assisted living community and for whom Sookie has power-of-attorney. What she finds in the letter completely changes what she knows about her past, present, and future.

Sookie begins a quest to learn more about her past, and Flagg’s story begins.

Meet Fritzi and her family who run a gas station in the 30s in the Midwest. When TB puts her father in the hospital and World War II requires her brother’s services, the three girls take over the filling station. They also find their own ways to contribute to the war effort.

The more Sookie learns, the more confidence she gains in her own abilities. Trust Flagg to make you laugh out loud at some of the adventures Sookie faces. She reminded me of a great deal of Evelyn Couch of Fried Green Tomatoes fame. Tewanda! (Only pertinent to anyone who has read Fried Green Tomatoes.)

The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion was so much fun to read that I was sad to put it down.

Here is a link to the book.