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110 of 113 people found the following review helpful
Although I saw the movie based on this book several times, its only now 15 years after this book was published that I finally decided to read it. And now that I have gulped down the pages, I'm wondering what took me so long to envelop myself with this delightful book filld with Southern charm. And while it's also safe to say than many readers and viewers are now familiar with the stories about Idgie and Ruth and Ninny and Evelyn, rarely does a book today offer such wonderful and endearing characters and a plot which has you racing to the last page.
While describing a friendship between two women some 60 years before and a present day relationship between a nursing home resident and her loyal visitor, the reader is set off on a roller coaster ride of emotions. Dealing with subects as far reaching as women's liberation, homosexual relationships, rights of minority groups,integration and growing old, Fannie Flagg never fails to entice her readers and allow them to view a slice of American life now sadly gone.
It may have taken me all of this time to finally read a book by Fannie Flagg but if her any other titles are as good as this one, I surely will be in reader's heaven. I already have Welcome to the World, Baby Girl and am eagerly waiting to begin it. Maybe today's the day.
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59 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2004
Fannie Flagg's heartwarming stories never fail to entertain, and the characters in this one are some of the most endearing ones in all of Southern lit. The deceptively simple story is told in a witty and light-hearted manner, but delves into such emotionally-charged issues as lesbian relationships, the treatment of minorities, the problems of aging and more in an unforgettable narrative.

The story moves effortlessly between two time frames. The first story begins in the 1920's and centers on Idgie Threadgoode, a female Huck Finn, and her friend Ruth Jamison. Together, they own and operate the cafe which is the center of small-town life in Whistle Stop, Alabama.

The second story begins in 1985 when Evelyn Couch meets Ninny Threadgoode, the now-elderly sister-in-law of Idgie, at the Rose Terrace Nursing Home in Birmingham.

The two stories unfold in a light-hearted, folksy way that puts you into the lives of these poignant charaters and has you longing for the neighborly friendliness of a time long past. Evelyn is, in fact, so touched by Ninny's recollections that she is finally able to take control of her own life through the often hilarious and always inspiring life of Idgie.

For a feel-good read where the inherent goodness of people causes them to carry on through good times and bad, I highly recommend this one.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2001
This was an excellent read! In 1985 two women meet and develop a frienship. Through this friendship, Ninny Threadgood takes Evelyn Couch on a journey of past times. Ninny, a woman in her eighties, and Evelyn, a middleaged woman, meet often in a nursing home to share treats and conversation. Ninny spins the tale of her home town and it's inhabitants. She tells stories of love and hurt, happiness and hardships. Evelyn who feels lost and uncertain embraces Ninny and the Whistle Stop adventures. The journey is equally important to both women. It allows Ninny to remember and embrace the past and aids Evelyn in creating her future.
The tale is of an old railway town and it's cast of characters. The reader will be swept away into the lives of those that live in Whistle Stop and surrounding area's. This a very funny and touching novel. We witness and experience many hilarious antics and corageous acts of love. Flagg does an excellent job at creating realistic characters with much depth and dimension.
I am so glad that I discovered Fannie Flagg! I highly recommend this book!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2000
Although I saw the movie based on this book several times, its only now 15 years after the book was published that I finally decided to read it. And now that I have gulped down the pages, I'm wondering what took me so long to read this book and envelop myself with this delightful book filled wth Southern charm. And while its also safe to say that many readers and movie viewers are now familair with the storis about Idgie, Ruth, Ninnny and Evelyn, rarely does a book today offer such wonderful and endearing characters as does this book. Add to that a plot which has you racing to the last page and sighing when you close the book.
While describing a friendship between two women some 60 years before and a present day relationship between a nursing home resident and her loyal visitor, the reader is set off on a roller coaster ride of emotions. Dealing with subjects as far reaching as women's liberation, homosexual relationships, rights of minority groups and growing old, Fannie Flagg never fails to enitce her readers and allow then to view a slice of American life now sadly gone.
It may have taken me all of this time to finally read a book by Fannie Flagg, but if her other titles are nearly as good as this one, I surely will be in reader's heaven. I recently purchased Welcome to the World, Baby Girl which I'm saving for the proverbial rainy day. I have a feeling it may be coming soon.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 1999
The movie was great, but it just didn't do the book justice. It didn't touch on the well written characters as much as the book did, and left some out all together. This is an amazing book, I must have read my soda stained copy ten times so far, and I never grow tired of it. Ninny and Idgie never fail to cheer me up when I'm blue. I think this is a great book for young women to read, despite what certain closed minded people may believe about Idgie and Ruth's lifestyle. When people focus on the fact that they are lesbians, they fail to recognize the point of the book- friendship, love and respect. I would think most people would be more outraged at wife- beating Frank Bennet than at the love between Idgie and Ruth. By the way, I live near Montecito, and I hope to run into Ms. Flagg one of these days- but I'm not holding my breath!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2001
Review
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe not only captures the heart of readers, it captures their minds. The book is a wonderful perspective on twentieth century life in the south. It not only shows the life of one small family and one small town, but it shows how inspiring people's stories can be to one another.
This winding tale of small town Whistle Stop, in Alabama, combines wit, charm and suspense in the story of dozens of characters and their intertwining lives. The book is told in many different view points that show the reader the lives of three women: Idgie and Ruth, who own the cafe and began their lives together in the late 1920's, and Evelyn Couch, the mid-life crisis woman who is listening to their story from an old friend, Ninny Threadgoode. Evelyn listens intently to the struggles of Idgie and Ruth and from them learns to take control of her own life again.
Ruth and Idgie obviously struggle to raise Ruth's baby boy after she leaves her abusive home in Valdosta, Georgia. Ruth and Idgie have completely compatible personalities, and together open up the heart of the town (the cafe) to support themselves and their new found family. Evelyn Couch, on the other hand, is trying to decipher what her life is about as she struggles with obesity and self-security. By visiting Ninny Threadgoode once a week she learns about an eventful and secretive past that sends a remarkable and persuasive message. Fried Green Tomatoes is full of suspense and drama and is captures hidden many parts of southern history that unfolds with every page.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2000
Fried Green Tomatoes is one of my favorite books because the book seems to touch the human soul so well. I smiled over Dot Weem's newspaper columns. I laughed about Idgie's childhood. I scoffed at Frank Bennet's murder. And I felt sorrow at the deep racism in the 1920's.
The book takes turns being mostly narrated by four women's lives: Ninny Threadgoode: the old and cheery woman who gives strength to Evelyn and tells the story about two women, Evelyn: the failed housewife and a victim of sexism who, in her midlife crisis, turns into the revengeful "Towanda", Ruth Jamison: the gentle wife of an abusive husband, finding santuary in her friends'love for her, and Idgie Threadgoode, strong and wild, the co-owner of The Whistle Stop Cafe, and the "love" of Ruth's life. Together, they weave a bittersweet story about love, friendship, and sorrow that life brings to everyone.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2001
(394 pages)- Book Description: Evelyn Couch visits the Rose Terrace Nursing Home to hear tales from and 86 year old woman, Virginia "Ninny" Threadgoode. Mrs. Threadgoode grew up in Whistle Stop, a small, railroad town. The story of Idgie Threadgoode's life is told from Ninny's stories, Dot Weem's newspapers, and first hand accounts told from the time they happened. Idgie, a tom boy, grew up as the pet of her oldest brother Buddy Threadgoode, the town's sweetheart. After Buddy's untimely death, no one could console the torn up little Idgie. Only Big George, son of the Threadgoode's maid, could come near her. That was until Idgie fell in love with Ruth Jamison, a Reverend's daughter from Valdosta, Georgia. The story unfolds as Ruth and Idgie grow together and open a cafe in their town. Conflicts arise throughout the novel, including when a man formally Ruth's husband, Frank Bennett, comes up missing.
Review: Fried Green Tomatoes at theWhistle Stop Cafe is a beautiful depiction of the South from the 1930s to present and has an interesting, thought-provoking story. The short chapters make this book very easy to read and quick to understand. Chronological order was apparently thrown out when Flagg began. Concentration and memory prove important as the book jumps from year to year and from place to place. The story line and characters provoke the reader to be enthralled and amused. The time jumps keep one wondering and guessing as the book goes on. This novel deals with death, racism, the importance of every human life, and the kindness in many people's souls. Flagg did a wonderful job of playing out these character's lives.
-Kailyn Derck
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2004
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe has been a favorite movie for many years. Earlier this year I finally got around to read the book as well, and was not disappointed at all. The story is similar, of course, to the movie, but the book gives lots of moving, touching and funny details which are lost in the movie.

Evelyn is a sad middleaged woman, who feels her life is empty and dull, and she is not impressed at first when she meets the old Ninny in a nursing home. Ninny starts telling Evelyn about her life in a small rural Southern town, and while Evelyn does not care at first, she soon becomes interested in all the people Ninny tells her about.

The story goes back and forth in time, from the early 1930'es to our day. We hear about the friendship between two very strong women, Idgie and Ruth, and all the people they know in the little town Whistlestop. Idgie and Ruth owns the town cafe, and more than once it is subtly hinted that they have a [...] relationship. A detail, by the way, left out of the movie.

The story also touches and deals with other subjects like slavery, racism, poverty but also love, faith, friendship.

It is a wonderful history that will make you both laugh and cry, and I cannot recommend it enough.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2003
This book is about so many things: the meaning of a family unit, breaking tradition, homosexuality, racism, domestic abuse, overcoming adversity... But it is mainly about goodness. Good people, good times, and good humor. And there are not a lot of books like this. It is a feel good book, without ever being sappy or predictable. I fell in love with the characters, especially the relationship between Ruth and Idgie. And the fact that it spans so many years, moving so seamlesssly throughout their lives, made it extra delicious for the adult mind. There is always magic when you have an older wiser woman looking back on the years, as in the case of this story.
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