The problem most of the time is the book is better than the movie. In this case, I found the movie to be better than the book.
I think the fact that book jumped around a lot made it a bit hard to follow. And the ending was definitely bittersweet with so many characters who had lived with each other for decades who ended up moving on when their little town started to die. I guess this book made me a bit homesick and sad, since I see my hometown going the same way. It's slowly dying and eventually I think in a generation it will be almost a ghost town.
"Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe" begins with a woman named Evelyn who on a weekly basis just forced to visit her mother in law at the retirement home the older woman now lives. She ends up sitting next to an elderly woman named Ninny Threadgood who proceeds to tell her stories about her family and friends that lived in Whistle Stop, Alabama.
At first Evelyn feels annoyed this woman has latched onto her, but she soon starts to live for the weekly stories of Idgie, Buddy, Ruth, Stump, Big George, Sipsey, Dottie Weems, and others.
I think that Evelyn and even Ninny were developed a lot. Others in the story I wish we could follow up with more. We just got quick vignettes with them. For example, Big George's kids popped in and out of the story, I would even say so did Ruth and Idgie. I would honestly say the character after Evelyn and Ninny I felt was developed very well was Dottie Weems. We are only introduced to her by way of weekly bulletins about Whistle Stop, but her humor and love for the town was great.
I will say that the main reason why I just couldn't give this book higher than four stars was the fact that I thought that Flagg kind of took the easy way out not really describing the relationship between Idgie and Ruth. I'm assuming that they were both lesbians or at least that's how the book portrayed them. And that fact that everybody in the small town of Alabama in the 1930s was fine with Idgie and Ruth living together and Ruth's son Stump being called her son I thought was a bit of a reach. I can't see people being okay, but the fact that just called Idgie "wild" which I'm assuming was code for being gay was also weird to me. That's the only part of the book that felt kind of false to me. But then I also feel sad because I don't think the movie really showed her as being gay just as liking to wear men's clothes. So like I said I'm just kind of of two minds of how those two characters were shown. I just wish we had gotten more scenes between them.
Flagg does also touch upon the racism of the south in 1930s and the late 1980s. I did think she slowly shows that for some people even for some of the so called good characters they still had prejudices towards African Americans. For example, Evelyn realizing that she was just raised to be just scared of black men and when she finally went to the church and got to hang out with more African Americans felt at home I did not find uplifting, but sad. I do think the way that the book just portrayed African Americans in a couple of places did make me cringe.
The writing was really good. Flagg can tell a story. The flow got off in the middle. The book just jumps from subject to subject before finally hitting it's stride again.
Whistle Stop as I said above reminded me a lot of my hometown and a lot of dying towns in the US.
The ending as I said was bittersweet though I was a bit confused by it. We get to see what happened to one character and I'm surprised they were at another location far from Alabama.
Electronic pages 522
New balance: $163