A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Friday, January 18, 2019

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg- Feature and Review


It's first the story of two women in the 1980s, of gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode telling her life story to Evelyn, who is in the sad slump of middle age. The tale she tells is also of two women—of the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth, who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, a Southern kind of Cafe Wobegon offering good barbecue and good coffee and all kinds of love and laughter, even an occasional murder.



Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop CafeFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop CafĂ© by Fannie Flagg is a 2002 Random House publication – (originally published in 1987)

Many people have seen the movie version of this book. But,as is often the case, the book is a bit different from the movie version. While I enjoyed the movie, and thought it had an excellent cast, I have to say, the book is still better.

Evelyn is stuck in a rut, neglected by her husband, going through menopause, taking comfort in food. But, a chance meeting with Mrs. Threadgoode, at the nursing home, deepens into a close friendship that gives Evelyn the courage to break out of her shell and take charge of her life.

Mrs. Threadgoode’s story is a mesmerizing tale of two women who forge a special bond while living through tragedies, hardships, and triumphs. Idgie and Ruth are friends, but maybe a little more than friends, who build a life together, enjoying a few hair -raising dilemmas and living through some wild adventures.

I remember Fannie Flagg during my childhood when she was a regular on some game show my mother used to watch. She was one of my favorites on the show, but had no idea, back then, what her claim to fame was.

Years later, when the movie version of this book was released, I was surprised to learn that Fannie Flagg wrote the book the movie was based on. I hadn’t thought of Fannie in years, by that time, so my curiosity of piqued. I bought the book soon after seeing the movie.

I was struck by how detailed the story was, how some things were glossed over in the movie version, and how others were curiously more pronounced in the book than on the movie screen, while at other times, I thought the movie version might have brought the scene to life a little better.

I hadn’t thought of this book, or the movie,in a very long time. But the other day, while searching for an audio book at the library, I discovered this story was available in audiobook format, and not only that, it was narrated by Fannie Flagg. I couldn’t resist! I also realized that I had apparently read this book pre-Goodreads, and so I thought I’d write out a review after listening to the audio version, while it was still fresh in my memory.

While Evelyn’s persona is maybe a little dated now, in my opinion, other subject matter addressed in the story is well ahead of its time. The ending here is much more poignant and still gave me a little chill. Hollywood made some crucial changes in that area, which was nice, too, but didn’t pack the same punch.

If you’ve seen the movie version, I hope someday you will give the book a try, and if you can add audio, that would enhance your experience even more.



FANNIE FLAGG began writing and producing television specials at age nineteen and went on to distinguish herself as an actress and writer in television, films, and the theater. She is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (which was produced by Universal Pictures as Fried Green Tomatoes), Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!, and Standing in the Rainbow. Flagg's script for Fried Green Tomatoes was nominated for both the Academy and Writers Guild of America Awards and won the highly regarded Scripters Award. Flagg lives in California and in Alabama.

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