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The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion: A Novel Audible – Unabridged

4.5 out of 5 stars 3,775 customer reviews

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By D. Williams VINE VOICE on October 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This latest novel by Fannie Flagg has everything readers of Flagg's earlier works have come to expect. The plot line has several surprises, the style is distinctively Flagg, and the characters are richly created.

Readers see two main story threads. One is in near-present-day Point Clear, Alabama. Sookie Poole, wife of the local dentist and a definitive "Old South" lady, has an eccentric mother to try to keep under control, and a friend, Marvaleen, who is interested in New Age and yoga and encourages Sookie to do the same. Sookie loves to feed the wild birds, but one difficulty of her day is the fact that the larger birds shoo away the small ones.

The other story thread is set in Pulaski, Wisconsin, beginning in 1939 and carrying to the end of World War 2. It's the story of four sisters there who run a filling station on their own as war breaks out. One sister, Fritzi, is a real daredevil and has been a pilot and a wing walker. Another sister is very quiet and attends mass regularly.

These two plot threads are joined by a letter that comes for Sookie's mother, which Sookie opens and reads because she has power of attorney over her mother's affairs. Plenty of surprises abound, and something that you least expect happens.

If you want to try a sharp/funny book that is of the same caliber as Flagg's FRIED GREEN TOMATOES, try this book.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am going to give a bit of advice regarding this book:

1) If you have loved Fannie Flagg's other books or enjoy southern fiction, you won't go wrong with this one.

2) Many of the reviews posted give away most (if not all in some cases) of the plot's twists and turns. Spoilers abound with no warning. Be careful about reading them if you wish to be surprised.

Now that that is out of the way, I would like to share with you that Fannie Flagg knows how to tell a tale and do it well. Over the years, I have read just about everything she has written and she is a writer worth re-reading in my opinion. Some books have struck more of a chord than others, but all have been good. This novel is no exception. Flipping between the time periods of 2005 and World War II, there is a little bit of everything here and will appeal to a wide variety of readers. The unpublicized role of women in the war effort adds an historical fiction flare; the family secrets explored are worthy of some of the best women's fiction writers out there; and one of the over-the-top characters adds humor to what could have been a series heavy, emotional topics.

While Ms. Flagg keeps the reader entertained throughout all the pages, there is real meat to this story that can't be ignored. She manages to convey so much without the reader fully grasping at the time how much is there. Only upon further reflection do you realize how masterful she is.

I loved the book and will be recommending it to many friends with all varieties of reading tastes.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If possible I would give Fannie Flagg's new novel more than five stars!!! The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion: A Novel is an absolute delight to read...you can't put it down and you don't want it to end. Feeling as if you have had an afternoon with a true southerner who is a master story teller, you will be ready for her next book when you finish this one. The book is written with a dual story line...one in Alabama as a modern story and the other in Pulaski, Wisconsin in the forties.

Sookie Poole discovers a BIG secret one day just as her life was beginning to slow down after marring off her three daughters and leaving her with a empty nest; although her mother, the formidable Lenore Simmons Krackenberry, who likes to run the entire town lives within walking distance of her, she allows her daughter to take care of the bills, mail, etc. And now the secret is out!!

Meanwhile, in Pulaski many years earlier, there is a filling station run by a Polish family with four girls who help run the filling station when their brother goes to war and their father has been hospitalized with TB. What fun and independence the girls are allowed with this adventure. Fritzi is the one who keeps the business going and delegates the jobs...of course business is booming with the females until gasoline is rationed....the war could not have been won without the female aviators who fly coast to coast in assisting the U.S. government although they were very late in being recognized. All the Jurdabralinski girls flew...had fun..heartaches..dangers..one became pregnant without a husband...one died in flight..one came home to marry...one organized the last reunion.

You will find many surprises, delights, tenderness, hilarious tales and a wonderful book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is really two stories in one, and one of those far exceeds the other. The main plot follows a late-fiftyish woman named Sookie who faces a shocking revelation. The second tale is that of a woman named Fritzi, who lived in the WWII era. The problem with this book is that the secondary plotline was well worth reading, while the primary plot, surrounding Sookie, was far less compelling and bordered on ridiculousness.

Sookie is basically a caricature of a southern woman. She is rather silly and comes off as a bit of a dim bulb. I found it very difficult to root for her as she struggles with revelations that she believes will completely change who she is. On the other hand, Fritzi is the bomb. She is a funny, strong, and well-drawn character who makes you actually feel something. The backdrop of Fritzi's story may have contributed to this as well, as it's much more captivating than Sookie's bumbling around in her small town with its cast of not-really-eccentric characters.

I don't think I am spoiling this book by saying that adoption plays a role in it, but this theme hit another flat note. The terminology used is outdated and, dare I say, somewhat offensive. One example is repeated use of the term "real mother" to refer to a birth mother. This tantalizing opportunity to discuss what a "real mother" actually is was squandered on superficial concerns about family crests and sororities.

Altogether, the sub-par Sookie was balanced by the fabulous Fritzi, leading to an average three-star book.
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