June 11, 2011

SUMMER READ SATURDAY: June 11, 2011

Welcome to another installment of Summer Read Saturday, where we share a good summer beach read with other readers.  Please join in by commenting on this post or sharing your own Summer Read Saturday post by using the link below. Grab the button above or on the left sidebar to share.

Here is what I am sharing from my beach bag this week: 

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES AT THE WHISTLE STOP CAFE by Fannie Flagg

BOOK DESCRIPTION:  Folksy and fresh, endearing and affecting, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is the now-classic novel 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. And as the past unfolds, the present--for Evelyn and for us--will never be quite the same again. . . .


This one is a bit of an oldie but quite the goodie.  If you like Southern fiction and strong female friendships, Fannie Flagg is your lady. 

Ms. Flagg has the ability to not only weave wonderfully involving stories but to do so with bright, unforgettable characters.  Tomatoes reads like a soapy southern fiction, complete with illicit love, abusive relationships, deep friendships, murder and a resulting trial.  Are you intrigued?  You should be - - this book is as delicious as fried chicken, potato salad and pecan pie.

The book alternates between present day (circa 1987, the time the book was published) when Evelyn Couch listens to fascinating stories of the small town of Whistle Stop, Alabama from elderly Mrs. Threadgoode, and flashbacks to the times Mrs. Threadgoode reminisces about.  Normally when I read books that have present day versus flashbacks I have a preference to one time period or the other.  With Tomatoes, I loved both settings and characters so much I could never choose between the two. 

The book provides wonderful insight into not only small town Southern America but also the special dynamics in female friendships.  We see it with Idgie and Ruth in the flashback scenes but also see it very strongly with Mrs. Threadgoode and Evelyn, who develop an almost mother-daughter bond over their weekly visits.  There are a handful of male characters present, and vital, to the tale but they truly are secondary to the wonderful women in this story.

Tomatoes is a great beach read not just because of its Peyton Place meets small town Alabama nature but also because it will have you laughing out loud.  Pages of the book will tickle your funny bone as people and conversations jump off the page and come alive for you.  Certain characters are simply a hoot and surely while reading this book you will recognize someone you know, or at least a portion of them, in a certain character or characters. 

Tomatoes is a quick and breezy read, not taxing and perfect to whip out while you're getting comfortable on your towel or lawn chair.  This book was the first I read by Fannie Flagg and it led me to her others.  It will likely do the same for you.

As an added bonus, pair the book with the splendid 1991 film (shortened to Fried Green Tomatoes) and have a wonderful day or weekend with Fannie Flagg and her southern ladies.  As an aside, the film follows the book relatively closely but there are a few things the book offers the movie does not.

If you'd like to add Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe to your library, please shop at my Amazon store here

What is your summer read for this week? 

3 comments:

Sarah (The Brazen Bookworm) said...

Nice pick! I keep meaning to reread this one. Personally, I love Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man - it's one of my top reads for the beach or anywhere else! I just tried to listen to Fannie Flagg's latest (she reads it, so I was so excited), but I just couldn't get into it. Happy beach reading! :)

Michelle @ The True Book Addict said...

I agree that this would be a perfect Summer read. I have the book, but have not read it yet. I did love the movie.

I thought of one that I read years ago that would be a perfect summer read. It has English beaches in it and all. It's called The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher. I loved it when I read it. A very touching story.

peter said...

Nice pick! I keep meaning to reread this one. Personally, I love Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man - it's one of my top reads for the beach or anywhere else! I just tried to listen to Fannie Flagg's latest (she reads it, so I was so excited), but I just couldn't get into it
Happy beach reading! :)