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Whistle Stop, AL #1

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

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Folksy and fresh, endearing and affecting, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is a now-classic novel about two women: Evelyn, who’s in the sad slump of middle age, and gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode, who’s telling her life story. Her tale includes two more women—the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth—who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, offering good coffee, southern barbecue, and all kinds of love and laughter—even an occasional murder. And as the past unfolds, the present will never be quite the same again.

Alternative covers for this ISBN can be found here and here

416 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 1987

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About the author

Fannie Flagg

53 books4,261 followers
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!, Standing in the Rainbow, and A Redbird Christmas.

Flagg’s film script for "Fried Green Tomatoes" was nominated for both the Academy Award and the Writers Guild of America Award and won the highly regarded Scripters Award. She lives in California and Alabama.

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5 stars
141,947 (47%)
4 stars
105,723 (35%)
3 stars
40,855 (13%)
2 stars
6,283 (2%)
1 star
2,002 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 9,049 reviews
May 18, 2022
This is a very good book. Solid hardback. I have about 80 copies in the bookshop. 12 of them are supporting the little fridge up to a reasonable height. Two of them are under the cash desk which otherwise would be a bit wobbly. Another 8 (in two's) are against the ends of the four shelves under the galavanise bit of roof where it leaks when it rains hard (not now, post Irma I need a new roof as I have two huge holes in it, so I moved the books) . Sometimes prior to the hurricanes, when it rained a bit everyday and they didn't dry out they got mouldy so I replaced them with some more. I've got lots to spare. I have to be honest though, I've never even sold a single copy.

You might wonder why I would buy 80 copies of a book that doesn't sell. I didn't. I acquired them through no fault of my own. What happened was the book was remaindered in huge quantities and I buy from this particular remainder house. Some while back I'd ordered about 8 boxes of books but 10 came. Two of them were full of Fried Green Tomatoes. I immediately got on to the company who said yes they knew of the situation and would refund my shipping costs and the debits on my account.

What had happened was that they let one of their members of staff go (customer service, she was a bit... prickly at best and teeth-achingly rude at other times). They didn't exactly fire her they just didn't renew her contract. So to get her revenge in the time left to her with the company she distributed this and other titles (all hardback) to international customers knowing she would have left before we got the books and the shit hit the fan.

Cost the company quite a lot of money, but really, you have to give the girl at least 3 stars for creativity.
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews155k followers
February 17, 2021
Galentine's Day is right around the corner...so why not curl up with a good book? Check out my latest BooktTube Video - all about five fabulous books on female friendship!

The Written Review

If you haven't read this yet - get it now.
It's funny, most people can be around someone and they gradually begin to love them and never know exactly when it happened; but Ruth knew the very second it happened to her.
It's a love story, a friendship story and so much more. There's survival against the odds, murder, and absolute hilarity. In short - really, truly awesome.
Remember if people talk behind your back, it only means you are two steps ahead
Mrs. Threadgoode is at the same nursing home as Evelyn's spiteful mother-in-law. During one such visit, Evelyn stops by Mrs. Threadgoode's room, and soon an everlasting friendship sparks.

Mrs. Threadgoode tells Evelyn stories from a not-so-distant past, when racism was rampart and certain home values were taken utterly seriously. She tells of larger-than-life Idgie, sweet and gentle Ruth, and of course a whole cast of truly unforgettable characters.
You never know what's in a person's heart until they're tested, do you?
Her stories give Evelyn a new outlook on life - suddenly, she's not the mousy, dissatisfied middle-aged wife - she's got spunk. She's got character. And she'd be damned if she let one more person walk all over her.
Face it girls. I'm older and I have more insurance.
Gah. It's one of those books that just sweeps you off your feet and holds a special place in your heart forever. It's fluffy, but the kind of fluff that has you squealing with happiness and chasing someone down to let them know how great this book is.

I buddy-read this one with my mother and we really, truly bonded over these words. We laughed and teared up at the same parts. This is one experience I will treasure.

This book belongs on every bookshelf

Audiobook Comments
Read by Lorna Raver - and she just brought this story alive. Truly a stunning listen. She had all the right tones and inflections in all the right places. It felt like I was right there in the story.

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for Brina.
904 reviews4 followers
April 30, 2020
Over the course of this year I have branched out in my reading choices. I have discovered multiple genres that I previously had not read, one of which being southern literature. It is in this regard that I found the writing of Fannie Flagg. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe invites the reader to small town Alabama. Through Flagg's southern charm you feel as though you are a part of the town and its cast of characters. In this light that I rate this gem of a book 4.5 stars.

Fried Green Tomatoes is a movie starring Jessica Tandy as Ninny Threadgoode and Kathy Bates as Evelyn Couch although I have never been privileged to view the film; thus, the book is new material for me. Evelyn Couch is a middle aged empty nester who accompanies her husband Ed to visit his mother at a nursing home. Evelyn having no patience for these visits instead strikes up a conversation with Mrs Threadgoode, which develops over the course of the book into an intimate friendship like that of a mother and daughter. I enjoy hearing older people reminisce about their lives so Mrs Threadgoode instantly became a charming character for me, and I, like Evelyn, was happy to enter into her world.

Whistle Stop, Alabama is an almost defunct small town on the outskirts of Birmingham. Mrs Threadgoode, inherently knowing that she is enjoying the twilight of her life, takes Evelyn back to depression era Whistle Stop. She regales Evelyn with tales of her family, the Threadgoodes, and their colored friends, the Peaveys. In a time where people were struggling to make ends meet, the citizens of Whistle Stop appeared to enjoy life to the fullest, with the cafe being the center of their world. Whites, blacks, and people of all walks of life lived in relative harmony, epitomized by Idgie Threadgoode and her Dill Pickle Club who went off on one daring adventure after another. In no case was there a mention of poverty, and Evelyn is charmed by Mrs Threadgoode's stories.

Meanwhile, in present day, Mrs Threadgoode urges Evelyn to live her life to the fullest. Just because she has entered middle age does not mean that her life is over. Written during the 1980s era of the working woman, Evelyn is coached on to get a new lease on life, a new career, and enjoy the second half of her time on this earth. In an interview following the novel, Fannie Flagg points out that she prefers older characters because they have many layers to their lives and much advice to offer to younger generations. It is in this mind set that she made Mrs Threadgoode the central point of her novel.

Flagg touched on non traditional families, the 1930s modern woman, racism and the lack thereof all in one town. Like Evelyn, I was drawn in by the characters and the town of Whistle Stop and finished the novel over the course of one day because I could not get enough of Mrs Threadgoode's stories. Whistle Stop is a small town whose people make up the fabric of this country, and the Threadgoodes and their descendants are cogs who embody southern life. I enjoyed my trip through Whistle Town and am looking forward to reading more of Fannie Flagg's southern novels.
Profile Image for Andy Marr.
Author 2 books716 followers
April 28, 2023
This one maked and breaked my heart a hundred times.

Possibly perfect.
Profile Image for Julie G .
884 reviews2,756 followers
May 6, 2020
Reading Road Trip 2020

Current location: Alabama

I feel like I'm living like a rat these days, with my own little rat's nest off to the side of my bed where I have stacks of books lined up for my reading road trip project and little post-it notes of feverishly scribbled messages, things I'm supposed to remember.

On one of these notes is written: “Nietzsche: A human being is a going-across.”
On another: “John Lennon: Whatever gets you thru the night.”

I wrote them both, while reading this book.

A human being is a going-across? What, like a bridge? Now that makes me scribble another note: “Richard Bach: The bridge across forever.”

I don't know if we are a bridge across forever. . . I'd like to think so, but the people of this story remind us. . . we are a going-across. . . whether we want to be or not, and we are not HERE forever, wherever we go, and we are certainly going to need more than a handful of ways to get us through the night, knowing all that.

So, what are the ways? What is it that gets us through the night? Through the bad marriage? Poor health? The death of a child? A pandemic?

Well, the characters of this book will tell you: praying, fucking, dancing, singing, drinking, eating, writing, killing, talking, cooking, walking, reading, gardening. . . and crying.

Sound about right?

Everything is here, y'all. Everything you ever knew and ever thought you wanted to know.

This stupid looking book, with its kitschy cover and its hokey title, just about knocked the wind out of me this week.

It's an examination of our evolution and our degradation, a glimpse of small town, Southern, American life. . . where every type of person, every type of relationship, every problem, is fairly represented.

And could happen anywhere.

Do not judge this book by its cover or location. It's a book about people getting through the night.

You'll never know how many times I've thought about you and wished I could speak to you. I felt so bad I didn't get to see you before you died. I just never dreamed in a million years that I would never see you again. I never did get a chance to thank you. If it hadn't been for you talking to me like you did. . . I don't know what I would have done.
Profile Image for Baba.
3,563 reviews862 followers
April 30, 2022
Empty nested, girth spreading, lonely and directionless middle-aged housewife Evelyn visits Ninny Threadgoode an elderly care home resident; Ninny shares stories of her life growing up in Whistle Stop, Alabama, stories centred around the hub of the very small community, The Whistle Stop Café, run by (although no one ever mentions it outright) lesbian couple - lifelong Tomboy Idgie and the beautiful in mind and body Ruth. A second narrator within the book is Weem's Weekly a weekly digest that is share in stand alone chapter throughout the book. Ninny's stories impact on Evelyn's life, and for us readers, give a vibrant and honest slice of life in Alabama across the early and middle Twentieth Century.

A book I recommend every reader comes into blind without foreknowledge, a book that looks at life in the South (a tad bit through rose tinted lenses), at family, at the Great Depression, at how race inequality impacts White people as well as Black people, about domestic abuse, about aging in women, and about small town communities. This was one of those books that I enjoyed whilst reading and half way through realised that I was reading something special. There's little chance of ever forgetting the Whistle Stop Café once you've visited it in print. Above everything else what this is, is a beautiful read. 8.5 out of 12.

2022 read
Profile Image for Swrp.
665 reviews
October 24, 2021
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe has been a nice and heartwarming read!

The story often kept reminding me of Forrest Gump...

[Forrest Gump Wall Art, allposters.com.]

This story is about Ninny Threadgoode and Evelyn Couch. In 1985, while visiting a relative at a nursing care home, Evelyn meets Ninny, who is currently a care home resident. Mrs Threadgoode tells Evelyn the story of her life during the Depression years in Whistle Stop of Alabama. Ninny recounts and takes Evelyn in her mind to those days when an always optimistic Ninny's sister-in-law Idgie and a nice friend of Idgie's, Ruth, started a café in Whistle Stop.

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is a nice book that, despite all the hardships and ups and downs that the characters go through, leaves the reader with a warm, sanguine and hopeful feeling. The story is presented in a different and interesting format, alternating between news bulletins, events during the Depression-era (Idgie's time) and the present time (of Ninny and Evelyn). This style of narration gives a real feel of the times in Whistle Stop and also establishes a good connection with the characters.

"That's right. And there's something else I want you always to remember. There are magnificent beings on this earth, son, that are walking around posing as humans. And I don't ever want you to forget that. You hear me?"

There are many lessons and positives in the story. When you do good and be nice to someone with the right intentions, the outcome, even though it may take time, will always be good.

We can spread love and kindness by sharing food.

^From the notes::

She said the vegetables are creamed corn, fried green tomatoes, fried okra, collard or turnip greens, black-eyed peas, candied yams, butter beans or lima beans. And pie for dessert.


"You never know what's in a person's heart until they're tested, do you?"


'You never know what kind of fish you've got till you pull it out of the water.'


where Idgie was waiting in the backyard, lying in the grass, listening to crickets, and wondering why she felt so drunk when she had not had a drop to drink.


“That’s what I’m living on now, honey, dreams, dreams of what I used to do.”


"If you cage a wild thing, you can be sure it will die, but if you let it run free, nine times out of ten it will run back home."



1 medium green tomato (per person), Salt, Pepper, White cornmeal, Slice tomatoes about 1/4 inch thick, season with salt and pepper and then coat both sides with cornmeal. In a large skillet, heat enough drippings to coat the bottom of the pan and fry tomatoes until lightly browned on both sides. You’ll think you died and gone to heaven!

Profile Image for Shovelmonkey1.
353 reviews875 followers
September 16, 2012
This book is fluffy.
How fluffy?

It is as fluffy as floating on cloud while lying on a mattress stuffed with kittens and simultaneously wearing a pink angora jumper and a candy floss hat.

This is the sort of book I enjoy when my brain decides to take a day off. But it is lovely and it is likely that even the most po-faced cynics (me) will be drawn into the warm doughy bosom of this story of love, friendship and adversity in 1930s Alabama. The history of Whistlestop, along with helpful recipe appendices allowing the transposition British readers from the grim north to the Deep South, is relayed to the beleaguered Evelyn by old Mrs Threadgoode.

Aside from the odd murder, Whistle Stop is populated by a kind of chocolate-box perfection. It's a modest but model community with great food, the kindness of neighbours, life-long friendships. A kind of Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn wholesomeness oozes from between each page. Living in Toxteth I find it hard to imagine this kind of idealised community of hot-buttered-biscuit loveliness but it was nice to at least try until the piercing wail of a police siren broke the illusion.

Profile Image for Magrat Ajostiernos.
569 reviews3,946 followers
July 2, 2022
Una historia de esas tiernas y encantadoras, llenas de humor pero también de momentos muy tristes. En mi cabeza este libro es una mezcla entre 'La sociedad literaria y el pastel de piel de patata de Guernsey' y 'El color púrpura'.
O algo así xD
Habla de racismo y misoginia, trata el contexto histórico del Sur de los Estados Unidos desde los años 30 con la gran depresión hasta los 80, y tiene a unas protagonistas inolvidables siendo una historia tan coral, de ese pueblecito, esa familia tan maravillosa.
Es de lectura rápida y fácil, ligero pero como decía al principio que tiene ese tono triste y nostálgico en algunas ocasiones.
Disfruté más del principio que del final, pero sea como sea me encantó.
Profile Image for Mark  Porton.
386 reviews327 followers
June 28, 2021
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg is a book I arrived at knowing little about, written by an author I know nothing about. So, it was a major surprise when I was blown out of the water by this experience.

The story involves a little railroad town in Alabama called Whistle Stop and centres around a Cafe of the same name operated by partners Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison. There’s a whole crew of characters we get to know, in fact, initially I found it difficult to keep track of who was who, but after a while I really got to know these people. They came alive for me, each one of them, the good, bad and the ugly.

The author jumps from the 1920s to the 1980s and back again and everywhere in between, the chapters are usually named after places such as the The Rose Terrace Nursing Home or after local bulletins like The Weems Weekly (Whistle Stop Alabama’s Weekly Bulletin),. The reader is taken backwards and forwards, from character to character and drama to drama – and one experiences every bump, laugh and tear – it is GOLD!!

My favourite character was Evelyn, this forlorn woman really grew on me. She is connected to the story by visiting her Mother-in-Law at the Rose Terrace Nursing Home and there she meets one of the old Threadgoode ladies. A wonderful relationship develops – but for me, it’s Evelyn’s journey that sparked my interest. Her relationship with old Ninny Threadgoode quickly blossomed into a wonderful thing:

When she woke this morning, Evelyn realised that she was actually looking forward to going to the nursing home. Sitting there all these weeks listening to stories about the café and Whistle Stop had become more of a reality than her own life…..

Ninny could talk underwater with a mouth full of marbles, this – as we all know – can be a little wearing, but it seemed to me this is exactly what Evelyn needed. It was a joy to see their friendship grow. The last section of this book was one of the most moving things I have read in recent times. I read it slowly.

Crazy, wayward, boozy Idgie was another fascinating character – her love for Ruth was absolute. Her path was no easier than Evelyn’s. But she was equally lovable. I would have liked to have sat down and had a pint of best bitter with Idgie, it’d be a riot:

The Dill Pickle Club……was really just a bunch of Idgie’s ragtag friends that would get together. About all they did was drink whiskey and make up lies (we call it Bullshit in Australia). They’d look you right in the eye and tell you a lie when the truth would have served them better

But Idgie had a MASSIVE heart – always looking out for the downtrodden. So kind-hearted, but a handful to be sure.

You could say this is a character piece but it’s much more than that – it also catapults us right back to a time and place most of us have never experienced. We are taken from the time Whistle Top was a buzzing little railroad town in the ‘20s to the sad days, decades after the railroads closed and the Town turned into a shadow of its former self.

It was also fascinating to learn more about ‘the other’ Birmingham. Birmingham is my hometown in the UK, we are called “Brummies”. The US version call themselves “Birminghamians”!! You know our Brummie accent in the UK is often voted the UK’s worst accent. I wonder if the Birminghamian accent suffers the same sad fate?

I’ve come away from this book with lots of questions - such as “what is Birmingham and Alabama like?” or “What do Fried Green Tomatoes taste like?” (BTW at the back of the book there are recipes), a great book sparks your interest in things I reckon. I’ve also collected a wonderful bunch of characters I will remember for a long time. Evelyn and Idgie in particular.

One word of caution though, this story isn’t all ‘Beer and Skittles’, there are certainly elements of racism, violence and domestic violence that come through – making this story all the more realistic.

5 Fried Green Tomatoes for me, with a side of Fried Okra and Lima Beans!

5 Stars
Profile Image for Erica.
1,333 reviews436 followers
July 9, 2018
This story is racist as hell.
Just in case you were wondering.

I'd never been interested in this book or the movie. This wasn't at all my cup of tea when it came out; I was in the middle of my high school career and only reading classics or fantasy and some science fiction. Domestic fiction, especially Southern, was an anathema.

I'm not sure why I had this on my Overdrive wish list. Maybe it showed up on its own? Or maybe I've just expanded my reading interests (now I'll read anything that isn't full of romance because: GROSS!) far enough that this fell into my net at some point. Whatever the case, I finally listened to this book that was all the rage for years during my more youthful times.
And it's racist as hell.
So probably it should be one star, right?

But I can't honestly say I didn't enjoy large parts of this book.

Actually, this was a weird read, sort of two versions that happened simultaneously. Putting the story in the context of 1987, it was pretty open-minded and possibly even progressive, at least for white people, specifically middle-class white women. Any non-white American readers at the time would have seen just how shittily this story treats its black characters.
Still, it evokes that nostalgia for the years between World Wars, of gritty, bootstrap-pulling characters in a tiny town who get along just fine, where the sheriff is a member of the KKK but runs out another group of KKKers because the fine people of Whistlestop take care of their own, including their coloreds. Pie is served for a nickel, wife-abusers go missing and no one's interested in looking any deeper into their whereabouts, a band of hobos and prostitutes live down by a river (not in a van) but don't bother the townsfolk none. Kids die or lose body parts on the railroad tracks and it's sad but everyone comes out ok in the end because that's just how things were back then. There's a golden glow over the town and not just in Ninnie Threadgoode's rosy, sentimental memories.

30 years later, the racism is blatant and loud, covered with that "I'm not a racist" veneer that bigoted white people, specifically middle-class white women, love to use. There's lots of "I have black friends!"...(so I've been given license to say shit and believe shit I want to say and believe even though I know it's shit) going on. It's cringeworthy and it sucked. And it's sappy, overly nostalgic for something that has never actually existed.

But then there's this strong current of feminism running throughout the book. Not third wave feminism, but that coming-out-of-the-dark ages feminism that just seemed to have occurred naturally after the 60's, a sort of after-shock from the first wave. Also, there's a lesbian couple that isn't presented as "OMG, look how forward this book is by featuring a lesbian couple!" but, rather, is just another couple among many in the story. I think that, more than anything, shocked me because I don't remember 1987 being a terribly inclusive time for gay folk. Hell, contemporary media still can't treat a lesbian couple as just another couple.

I'm sure this book was hotly contested in churchy circles but Flagg introduced Ninnie Threadgoode, octogenarian and devout Christian who loves Oral Roberts but doesn't like Tammy Faye, as an even-minded (racist as hell) moderate conservative, white, former-housewife who is now in a nursing home. How was she received? I don't know because I didn't care about this book when it came out but I think if this were the big blockbuster novel of the summer now, there'd be plenty of bitching about its portrayal of moral decline on Facebook despite the Ninnie avatar.

Actually, Ninnie's stories of old Whistlestop reminded me so much of the stories in Big Fish, seemingly tall tales that have been gilded with the patina of remembered better times that were never actually any better at all. There was a strong sense of "Even though things were hard, people and life were more wholesome back then" throughout the story; sentimentality at its finest. But that sort of narrative is appealing on several levels; it's nice to think there was a better time, even if we know there really wasn't.

I did appreciate the still-relevant topics of aging and the fear of not being young anymore, of first friendships and first endings, of finding oneself, of dying towns and forgotten people. I was also amused that Sipsey's recipes are my family's recipes, I grew up with that cooking. Is it Southern or is that just how people across the nation cooked? I don't know, I just know that that's how I make chicken and dumplings, too.

All in all, this is a story well-told with strong characters and an interesting, meandering plot but it really is racist as hell.
Profile Image for Dem.
1,186 reviews1,098 followers
April 8, 2019
Reading this book was like waking up on a spring morning after a long dreary winter to the sound of the dawn chorus, after a reading slump of a few weeks I really was delighted when this novel came up as a book club read, having read it in 2010 and loved the book I knew enough time had lapsed for me to forget the details of the story but not the wonderful characters.

Charming, witty thought proving and endering are all words that come to mind on finishing this novel. A lovely page turner to loose yourself in and characters that will stay with you long after you finish the novel

The day Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison opened the Whistle Stop Cafe, the town took a turn for the better. It was the Depression and that cafe was a home from home for many of us. You could get eggs, grits, bacon, ham, coffee and a smile for 25 cents. Ruth was just the sweetest girl you ever met. And Idgie? She was a character, all right. You never saw anyone so headstrong. But how anybody could have thought she murdered that man is beyond me. loved this book, had seen the film years ago and did not really think much of it, but the book really blew me away, for me it was the witt and the rich characters, Such an easy read full of tall tales and fun and yet sad in many parts. I really enjoyed this novel.

I loved the southern charm in this novel that weaves together the past and present through the friendship between Evelyn Crouch a middle aged housewife and Ninny Threadgoode and eatery woman who lives in a nursing home. I loved the references to food and receipes in the novel and came away really wanting to try some of them. Terrific character development makes this one a memorable read and I am so glad this is the book that gave me the five star read I was craving.

If you haven't read this one, purchase a copy and give yourself a treat.
Profile Image for Katie.
174 reviews107 followers
November 15, 2007
I really love this movie, but as usual, the book is much better and vastly different. In 1985, two women, Ninny and Evelyn, meet and develop a strong friendship. They share treats and conversation while Ninny spins the story of Whistle Stop and its inhabitants, weaving relationships through generations in an enchanting tale of the Old South. The journey is equally important for both women, allowing Ninny to remember and embrace her past while helping Evelyn to accept her past and look forward to her future. Two significant differences exist between the book and the movie; Idgie and Ruth's relationship is blatently lesbian (in the movie they were just close friends), and the racial atmosphere of Alabama was a much more pronounced theme. Flagg's storytelling is bittersweet with many touching moments, and the cast of characters is wonderful. This is a heartwarming look at life, death, love, and friendship, and a great example of Southern Literature.
Profile Image for Joe Valdez.
485 reviews812 followers
February 9, 2021
The Year of Women--in which I'm devoting 2021 to reading female authors only--continues with Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. Published in 1987, this was a substitution for the cozy mystery I had scheduled and it ended up featuring a bucolic setting, eccentric characters, delicious food and a murder trial. To an extent, there's even a dead body, but what impacted me about this novel where a cozy might not is Flagg's bittersweet chronicle of a town's passing, choked by the highway, stabbed in the heart when its remarkable residents pass on. As a lover of old things, Southern folklore and pathos, I loved this.

The story begins at the Rose Terrace Nursing Home in Birmingham in December 1985. Evelyn Couch has accompanied her husband to visit her mother-in-law, a recent and very unpleasant arrival at the facility. Evelyn escapes to the visitor's lounge, hoping to sneak a few of the candy bars she's grown to depend on. Out of nowhere, an eighty-six year old resident named Virginia Threadgoode begins telling Evelyn about the people or places of her past, the railroad town of Whistle Stop. During her weekly visits, Evelyn goes from humoring "Ninny's" stories to looking forward to them to not being able to live without them.

Most of Ninny's stories revolve around her sister-in-law Idgie Threadgoode, who like a wild animal, won't let people close, vanishing into the woods when life gets too much, or as an adult, down to the River Club and Fishing Camp to drink everyone under a table. Idgie is a teenager when she falls in love with a graduate of the Baptist Seminary named Ruth Jamison who comes to live with the Threadgoodes while supervising the BYO activities of the church for the summer. Sweet to the bone and beautiful, boys suddenly start attending Sunday service. Idgie drags Ruth out of bed one morning to share her secret ability to safely procure a jar of honey from a tree swarming with bees.

It's funny, most people can be around someone and then gradually begin to love them and never know exactly when it happened; but Ruth knew the very second it happened to her. When Idgie had grinned at her and tried to hand her that jar of honey, all these feelings that she had been trying to hold back came flooding through her, and it was at that second in time that she knew she loved Idgie with her heart. That's why she had been crying, that day. She had never felt that way before and she knew she probably would never feel that way again.

And now, a month later, it was because she loved her so much that she had to leave. Idgie was a sixteen-year-old kid with a crush and couldn't possibly understand what she was saying. She had no idea when she was begging Ruth to stay and live with them what she was asking; but Ruth realized, and she realized she had to get away.

She had no idea why she wanted to be with Idgie more than anybody else on this earth, but she did. She had prayed about it, she had cried about it; but there was no answer except to go back home and marry Frank Bennett, the young man she was engaged to marry, and to try to be a good wife and mother. Ruth was sure that no matter what Idgie said, she would get over her crush and get on with her life. Ruth was doing the only thing she could do.

Idgie spends the next three years checking in on Ruth in Georgia, getting sick drunk outside the church on Ruth's wedding day or watching her come and go from Sunday service. She even keeps a watch on Ruth's husband, dropping in every once in a while on a Wednesday when he visits the barbershop. One day, the woman who runs the drugstore lets it slip that Frank Bennett beats his wife. Idige storms into the barbershop and threatens to cut Frank's heart out if he hits Ruth again. Witnesses wonder what this boy had against Frank Bennett. Years later, after Frank Bennett disappears, they will recount the day in court.

With Idgie's help, Ruth escapes her marriage and returns to Whistle Stop. Idgie's father explains that she's responsible for Ruth and the baby she's carrying and gives her five hundred dollars to start a business. In 1929, the Whistle Stop Cafe opens. Idgie and Ruth run the place and live in a back room. They entrust the cooking to Sipsey Peavey, the colored woman who raised the Threadgoode children and is the best cook in the state. The man Sipsey adopted from the day he was abandoned on a train platform as a baby and named George Pullman Peavey butchers and barbecues the meat. Big George's wife Onzell helps in the kitchen as well.

Custom of the day prohibits Idgie from serving Black railroad workers or patrons from anywhere but the back of the cafe, but she never turns away a hungry soul. Word spreads on boxcars nationwide. The many acts of kindness Idgie shows over the course of her life are paid back when she goes on trial for the murder of Frank Bennett, who disappeared after following his wife to Whistle Stop. In 1986, Evelyn hangs onto every word, having grown closer to Ninny than anyone else in her life. Perhaps somewhere in the old woman's stories, she can locate where things started going wrong for her.

Things had changed so fast. While she had been raising the required two children--"a boy for him and a girl for me"--the world had become a different place, a place she didn't know at all.

She didn't get the jokes anymore. They all seemed so mean, and she was still shocked at the language. Here she was, at her age, and she'd never said the
f word. So she mostly watched old movies and reruns of The Lucy Show. When the Vietnam War was going on, she'd believed what Ed had told her, that it was a good and necessary war, and that anyone against it was a communist. But then, much later, when she finally decided that it may not have been such a good war, Jane Fonda had already moved on to her exercise class and nobody cared what Evelyn thought, anyway. She still held a grudge against Jane Fonda and wished she'd get off TV and stop slinging her skinny legs around all the time.

Not that Evelyn hadn't tried along the way. She had tried to raise her son to be sensitive, but Ed had scared her so bad, telling her that he would turn out to be a queer, she had backed off and lost contact with him. Even now her son seemed like a stranger to her.

Both her children had passed her by. Her daughter, Janice, had known more about sex at fifteen than Evelyn did at this very minute. Something had gone wrong.

There were so many degrees available to Fannie Flagg to bake Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and she gets the temperature just right. It's neither a tragedy of race relations or two women raising a child in the Jim Crow South, nor a fantasy that ignores how oppressed people were. Like John Steinbeck, Flagg fills her stories with human beings who lust, drink, sneak out of windows, steal cars, tell lies, fight, kill, fall down, get up again and repeat until they shuffle off the earth. In that, I recognized life as I know it as opposed to something contrived. Chapters are short. Stories are in palatable servings, often from Whistle Stop's resident chronicler, Dot Weems at the post office.

Due to the encouragement of the Alabama Extension Service, a local pig club has been formed. Anyone wanting information is to call Mrs. Bertha Vick at home. Bertha said that a Miss Zula Hight of Kitrel, North Carolina, earned a pure-bred Registered China Pig in just seven days, and Bertha said you could do the same thing if you just put your mind to it. She said to own a pure-bred pig is a mark of distinction for you and your community and will start you on the road to prosperity. It will mean the laying of a foundation for a comfortable income for you all of your life, and when old age overtakes you.

Idgie just got her brand-new Philco radio at the cafe, and says anybody wanting to hear "Amos 'n' Andy," or any other program, is welcome to come in and need not order anything to eat. She says the sound is good at night especially.

By the way, does anybody know how to get rid of dog tracks in cement? If so, call me up or come by the post office and tell me.

The novel provided the source material for a feature film released as Fried Green Tomatoes in 1991. Adapted by Fannie Flagg and Carol Sobieski and directed by Jon Avnet, I recall that the film downplayed the romance between Idgie and Ruth but was entertaining and had some outstanding performances in it: Mary Stuart Masterson as Idgie, Mary-Louise Parker as Ruth, Jessica Tandy as Ninny and Kathy Bates as Evelyn. Bates is a standout. No two characters she played in the 1990s were alike. I had forgotten she was Molly Brown in Titanic and Adam Sandler's mom in The Waterboy too. I mean, Kathy Bates could do anything.

Fannie Flagg was born Patricia Neal in Birmingham, Alabama in 1944 and grew up in the nearby railroad town of Irondale. She changed her name to Frances Carlton Flagg at age 17 when she applied for the Actor's Equity (there was already a Patricia Neal doing well in theater and film). She currently resides in Montecito, California

In the event you missed them: Previous reviews in the Year of Women:

Come Closer, Sara Gran
Veronica, Mary Gaitskill
Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys, Viv Albertine
Pizza Girl, Jean Kyoung Frazier
My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Ottessa Moshfegh
Profile Image for Laysee.
501 reviews233 followers
November 29, 2022
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café is an engaging story about life in the US deep South. Set in Alabama, it described the relationship between the white and colored folks from the 1920s to the 1960s. Although segregation was the way of life in those days, what stood out was the solidarity between the white Threadgoode family who owned the Whistle Stop Café by the railroad yard and the black Peavey family members who did the cooking and cleaning.

The novel began with Ninny Threadgoode, an 87-year-old resident in a nursing home, fondly recalling her youthful days at the Whistle Stop Café that served the signature fried green tomatoes. Ninny found a willing listener in Mrs Evelyn Couch, an unhappy housewife who accompanied her husband to visit her mother-in-law once a week at Rose Terrace. Feeling unattractive, ineffectual, and depressed, Evelyn escaped the drudgery of her weekly visits by binging on candy in a quiet corner of the nursing home. She met Ninny who regaled her with stories of her youth spent at Whistle Stop with members of the Treadgoode family.

Chief among them were Idgie Treadgoode, the spunky tomboy of the family who set up the café with Ruth Jamison, the love of her life; Sipsey Peavey, a colored woman; her adopted son, Big George; daughter-in-law, Onzell; and her grand-children, Artis and Jasper. Idgie was a larger-than-life character who treated the blacks like family members and provided free food to the hobos.

The Whistle Stop Café offered good coffee and southern barbecue. The café was the nerve center of this small town where the delectable fare made glad every heart. Evelyn soon fell in love with members of the Whistle Stop Café who became her role models of generosity, loyalty, resilience, and courage.

The present day (1986) stories Ninny shared with Evelyn alternated with past (1929-1969) news reports from Weems Weekly (a Whistle Stop gossip column) and various other news bulletins from other parts of Alabama and cities where Whistle Stop residents made news. Dot Weems who wrote the Weems Weekly had a wonderful sense of humor. I looked forward to reading updates on ordinary life in Whistle Stop such as the opening of a new hair salon, a new Pig Club, an organ recital, wedding announcements, reminders from a neighbor not to feed her overweight cat, and funny anecdotes about Dot’s husband, Wilbur. Like Evelyn, I could not wait for Ninny to continue telling her story about Ruth’s marriage to Frank Bennett, Idgie’s heartbreak, Frank’s disappearance, and the court case in which Idgie and Big George were charged with murder.

Evelyn brought treats to share with Ninny who looked forward to her visits. Over time, a deep friendship developed. With Ninny’s encouragement, Evelyn began to grow in confidence and self-acceptance, and was able to re-invent her own life. Friendship is a key theme exemplified not just in the special bond between Evelyn and Ninny but also between the Threadgoode and Peavey family members.

I felt a pang of loss when the café closed in 1956 with the closing of the railroad yard. Weems Weekly posted their last issue when Dot and Wilbur moved to South Alabama in 1969. I can always tell a good book when I start missing the characters even before the final page is turned. This is one such book. One day I hope I get to sample a platter of fried green tomatoes and a southern barbecue.
Profile Image for Carlo Mascellani.
Author 17 books259 followers
November 22, 2021
Bello, bello, bello. Un vero gioiellino della letteratura. E non lasciatevi incantare falla prosa spensierata: in questo romanzo si ride, ma si piange anche, si coglie tutta l'amarezza dell'esclusione, si assapora la vita nella gioia come nel dolore. Da leggere assolutamente.
Profile Image for Rodrigo.
1,058 reviews411 followers
October 11, 2021
Me ha encantado, me lo he pasdo genial con las vivencias, aventuras y desventuras de la famila y en concreto de las dueñas de la cafeteria Ruth e Idgie.
La novela inspira, como bien dice la sinopsis, optimismo, arrancandote unas carcajadas tras otras con las ocurrencias, trastadas y demás lios que les pasan a dichas protagonistas y sus conocidos.
Trata temas como son: la discriminación de la mujer, el racismo, el lesbianismo, la miseria o el alcoholismo, pero de una manera coloquial y optimista.
No sé que me ha dado muy buen rollo leerlo.
Pasa a ser uno de mis favoritos.
# 14. Un libro ambientado en un restaurante. Reto popsugar 2021

Profile Image for Danika at The Lesbrary.
522 reviews1,286 followers
April 11, 2022
Initial thoughts:

I am still processing this one. Overall, I really liked it, especially the Ruth/Idgie part (which is blatantly romantic--it's stated that they are in love with each other, and that Idgie, at least, sleeps with women).

It isn't necessarily one I would recommend lightly, though, mostly for the depiction of black people. It may be realistic to have characters who grew up in the 20s talk about stereotypes of "colored people," but that doesn't mean I want to read so much of it, especially paired with the phonetically spelled accents of most of the black characters. The sympathetic characters challenge this racism to some degree, but Idgie is still friends with a KKK member. I don't really know why, for instance, there's a character who is "so black his gums are blue," and that kid grows up to stab his brother.

There are so many characters and time periods here, all jumbled up and interspersed with small-town newspaper articles. Evelyn is going through menopause and just realizing that despite doing everything she was supposed to do to be a "good girl," life hasn't turned out the way she wanted it. She's just found her anger, and now she wants to burn the world down. Ninny is in a care home and is regaling Evelyn with those stories of the Whistle-Stop Cafe. Evelyn finds comfort in her company.

I think I'll have to process my thoughts in a big review, because I can't figure out how to reconcile all of the different things happening here. I enjoyed the experience of reading it, but I'm not sure how to factor in how race is depicted here (by a white author). I'll have to read some other reviews and think about it.

Full review at the Lesbrary.
Profile Image for Lynne King.
490 reviews657 followers
February 12, 2013
I saw that a friend was reading this book, loved the cover and blurb and immediately ordered it for my Kindle. When I first started reading it, I thought that it was “insane” but I soon realised what a gem of a book I’d discovered. This has to be the best book I’ve read for a long time and I have no doubt that I’ll continue to look at it many times in the future.

Now where to start with this multi-faceted book? I’ve read quite a few excellent reviews on it and mine may be nothing in comparison but I’ll try and see if I can get my own viewpoint across. It will be very difficult as there’s just so much that one can explore in this book.

What are its qualities? First of all, this is a very important social document of life in the south of the United States (Alabama), in the twentieth century. It is also inspirational, poignant, touching, funny, and has black humour: a body is in a coffin at Whistle Stop awaiting removal to another train. Two kids with a camera get involved here and there’s also a broken nose. On another occasion, there's a meal with unknown ingredients in it, and the sauce especially is thoroughly enjoyed by all. All I can say is that it would have been evidence. There’s even a gruesome murder thrown in with unexpected consequences.

In addition, there’s the excellent creative structure of the book. I find it quite remarkable how the author handled the time periods between the two main starting dates: the first commencing in 1929, during the Depression, in Whistle Stop, and the second in 1985 from a nursing home in Birmingham. The clever way in which the layers of all the emotions are broken down just never ceased to surprise me throughout.

The book concerns four women: Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison in the earlier period, and Evelyn Couch and Ninnie Threadgoode (the sister-in-law of Idgie) in the later period. It slowly unfurls in 1929 with the simple opening, “The Whistle Stop Cafe opened up last week, right next to me at the post office, and owners Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison said business has been good ever since.” This statement was made by Dot Weems from the post office in “The Weems Weekly, which is Whistle Stop’s weekly bulletin. She gives regular local news throughout most of the book via this bulletin.

My favourite character was Idgie (christened Imogen but this was changed by her much loved brother Buddy). One reviewer refers to her as Huck Finn and I agree with that. She is sparkling, feisty, gives wise advice, prefers to dress as a man; in fact decided at the age of eleven that she would never wear a dress again, much to the horror of her siblings. Her tall stories are incredible (a remarkable one about a pond that miraculously disappears), her remarkable loyalty to those she loves, such as her family, Ruth, employees, friends, regardless of whether they are black or white. She was criticized for feeding the “blacks” of the area in the cafe. Her self-effacing manner when she tries to explain to one of them that she would love to feed them in the cafe but there were people in Whistle Stop who would soon put her out of busines. Nevertheless, they could come to the back door.

Ruth was brilliantly portrayed and she gets married to Frank Bennett. I just cannot put any spoilers in here. There are two magical parts with the "bee charmer" and the ripped out section from the Book of Ruth (which is mailed) “…whither thou goest, I will go….”

Evelyn Couch feels her life is worthless but thanks to eighty-six year old Ninnie Threadgoode, who is living in a nursing home, she rediscovers herself in middle age, loses weight and in addition makes an important discovery through arriving at the wrong church, on a lot of misconceptions she had of the people living in Alabama.

When Evelyn goes to a cemetery to look at the Threadgoode family plot, she passes on to another grave and finds an envelope next to the jar of flowers, and inside was an Easter card which stated:

"For a special person as nice as you,
Who's kind and considerate in all you do,
The fairest, the squarest,
Most loving and true,
That all adds up to
Wonderful you"

and it was signed by the Bee Charmer.

I could go on and on. The book is brilliant and it even brought tears to my eyes (very unusual for me) on several occasions. I highly recommend this to everyone.

Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews35 followers
September 7, 2013
My Goodreads friend just read this book...

I'm having memories of it ---AND the wonderful movie!
Profile Image for Lori  Keeton.
478 reviews108 followers
March 10, 2023
My only memories of this story come from watching the movie in the early 90’s starring Jessica Tandy, Kathy Bates and Cecily Tyson. It was a heartwarming movie with a little southern flair and charm. So when I decided to pick up the book and relive the lives of these characters, I knew that I was in for a treat.

Fannie Flagg has written a southern classic novel full of friendship, love, laughs and good southern food - barbecue, lemon icebox pie, fried chicken, red-eye gravy, black-eyed peas, grits, lima beans and of course fried green tomatoes. There is a warm feeling you get when you walk into the Rose Terrace Nursing Home with Evelyn Couch, a middle-aged housewife, who meets 86 year old Mrs. Ninny Threadgoode. These ladies become fast friends as Mrs. Threadgoode talks and talks and talks her way through her past (starting way back in the late 1920’s) when she lived at Whistle Stop, Alabama.

“I may be sitting here at the Rose Terrace Nursing Home, but in my mind I’m over at the Whistle Stop Café having a plate of fried green tomatoes.”

The town was a thriving stop for the train from north to south. Mrs. Threadgoode tells all the juicy stories about the residents of the town, revealing some small town secrets along the way. Evelyn is consumed by the tales of the towns people feeling as though she knows each one personally. She is dealing with her own demons which are so relatable it’s scary. What woman doesn’t ever get the feeling that she’s not up to par? The day Evelyn walked into that nursing home, she didn’t realize she was going to be getting the kind of therapy you can’t buy anywhere!

This story will get at your heartstrings but at the same time it will raise your eyebrows because of the issues happening in the south. The racial prejudice’s are not sugar coated here as well as some domestic violence. This story will drop you into a time and a place that most likely is unfamiliar but it will show you how one once thriving town through the decades becomes a shell and a remnant of the past glory days. The Whistle Stop Cafe is no longer there and the memories of Idgie and Ruth who ran the cafe and Big George and Sipsey, the negroes who cooked the fabulous food are only alive in the stories that are told.

I loved the way this book was set up with it’s Weem’s Weekly newspaper clippings that gave us a look at small town southern life written by a woman who “reported” on the local folks. You also get Mrs. Threadgoode’s account as well as first hand accounts of all the stories. It jumps around in time and place and you get to meet such a rich and colorful mix of southern people. If anything, pick this up for the humor and the fun but expect some heart-break along the way and a few life lessons that will probably make you smile!
Profile Image for Nandakishore Mridula.
1,243 reviews2,257 followers
April 11, 2018
Apparently, this is the tale of an old woman reminiscing to a younger one about her life in a small town in Alabama, and the changes which take place as the American South moves from its racist past to the more inclusive present. It can be read like that, and enjoyed for its simplicity, its easy pace, and engaging characters. But perceptive readers who go beyond the facade will unearth a rich treasure of allegory and metaphor: because in this novel, as with any good work of literature, the real story is on the unwritten pages.


Evelyn Couch, a middle-aged, disillusioned woman on the edge of menopause, meets Virginia ("Ninny") Threadgoode at the Rose Terrace Nursing Home while on a visit to her mother-in-law who is lodged there - and her life changes forever. For the eighty-six-year-old Ninny is everything she is not. Even though alone in the world, the old woman revels in life, even with the realisation that it may be snatched away at any moment: while Evelyn broods upon a largely uneventful life, Ninny delights in wandering over the colourful landscape of her memory. And as she starts sharing the stories from her childhood and youth, the younger woman gets drawn into the world of the small town of Whistle Stop in Alabama, dominated by the cafe described in the title - and its co-owner, the indomitable Idgie Threadgoode.

Ninny, orphaned from childhood, had stayed with the Threadgoodes ever since she was a child - a big, benevolent southern family comprising Poppa, Momma, the steady Cleo, flashy Buddy, feminine Leona, artistic Essie Rue and the incomparable Idgie. Later on, she married Cleo and became part of the family. Now all of them are gone, leaving Ninny alone with her memories, which she shares in typical scatterbrained fashion, and a picture of southern life slowly emerges.

Idgie is the centre of the narrative. She has opened the cafe with her friend Ruth Jamison who, we later come to know, is separated from her husband. The food is cooked by Sipsey and Onzell, two "coloured" women, and Big George, Onzell's husband. And around this cafe revolves the life of the small town, as it grows, reaches maturity, and slowly fades away into oblivion. Life with all its attendant tragedy, comedy and farce (with even a murder mystery!) flourishes in Whistle Stop.

We have Ruth's son, Buddy "Stump" Threadgoode, missing an arm but still the heartthrob of the town. We have Jim Smokey Philips, committed to a life on the road when he is not putting in time as a helper at the cafe. We have Artis, Big George's son, the playboy of Slagtown. We have Albert, Ninny's mentally challenged son. We have Sipsey, whose thirst to be a mother is satisfied when she adopts Big George, an abandoned child... the list can go on and on. But they are all the supporting cast. The only one that really matters is Idgie.

Idgie, the compulsive liar. Idgie, the hot-headed feminist. Idgie, whose tough-as-nails exterior hides a heart of gold...

...And as she gets more and more involved in this tale of a bygone era, Idgie inspires Evelyn to find her inner superwoman.


What impressed me most about the novel is its structure. The tale is told in snippets, as the narrative jumps across time and space. Several chapters are narrated by Ninny, while others are extracts from various periodicals (the main one being "The Weems Weekly" of Whistle Stop edited by Dot Weems) and some others, straightforward third person narrative but with focus on different characters. It is really like listening to the reminiscences of an old woman who is pretty far gone in years, but whose mind is still remarkably sharp except for the chronology of events.

At the heart of the novel is the relationship between Idgie and Ruth: while it is no doubt lesbian, there is nary a mention of sex. Ruth's doomed marriage to Frank Bennet and the tragedy within that marriage is foreshadowed early - but the author drags on the suspense till the very end about what actually happened to Frank Bennet. Through these flawed characters and their tortured relationships, the changing face of America across half a century is brilliantly portrayed.

A lovely read.
Profile Image for Diane Barnes.
1,258 reviews451 followers
March 6, 2023
This is a truly southern book, aside from the idioms and the food and the setting, aside from the friendships and family and small community goings-on. Why? Because there is robbery and murder and lies and secrecy and cover ups, all for a good cause. The Railroad Robber throws food from passing trains so poor people can eat during the Depression, but never gets caught. Frank Bennett is murdered because, you know, some people just need killin'. Everyone (mostly) lies to keep others from punishment, the ones who don't never knew the truth anyway. Secrets abound, and in the end, only the reader knows exactly what happened.

I loved the disjointed way this was written, passing back and forth between time periods, first person accounts, newspaper snippets and straight narration. I loved the innocence of people trying to make it in life, and helping others do the same. I loved the pure fun of the telling. It's impossible not to have fun reading this one, impossible not to cheer at a lot of decisions and happenings, and impossible not to be glad you read it.

Now to find the movie and do it all over again.
Profile Image for Sara Cantador.
Author 2 books4,268 followers
July 1, 2020

No puedes hacerte una idea del golpe que representó para todos. Pero a quien más le afectó fue a Idgie. (...)
Pero nunca lloró. Estaba demasiado afectada para llorar... Aunque se te parta, el corazón sigue latiendo.

(Esta historia hace pupa en cualquier formato <3)

Hace muchos años descubrí la película de Tomates verdes fritos por casualidad. Si no recuerdo mal, mis tíos estuvieron haciendo una colección de películas clásicas, y de vez en cuando me dejaban algunas para ver (me estoy remontando a los 2000, os podéis imaginar jaja). Entre ellas estaba esta película, y supe, desde la primera vez que la vi, que estaría siempre entre mis favoritas.
No obstante, no supe del libro hasta más adelante, y esta edición en concreto la conseguí en una librería de segunda mano en Madrid. Creo que el libro está descatalogado en español, pero si encontráis el modo de haceros con una copia, os lo recomiendo infinito.
La historia está dividida en dos líneas temporales. Por un lado, los sucesos en los años 80, en los que Evelyn, una mujer de unos cuarenta y tantos, con todas las crisis existenciales encima que os podáis imaginar, conoce a Ninny Threadgodge. Ninny es una adorable abuela que parece coger cariño a Evelyn, y decide contarle cómo era su vida en el pequeño pueblo de Whistle Stop. La segunda línea temporal, ubicada entre los años 20 y los años 60 aproximadamente, describe la vida de la familia Threadgodge y los habitantes del mencionado pueblo, con Ruth e Idgie como protagonistas.
Si hay que ponerle una pega a este libro es precisamente por las líneas temporales y las voces narrativas, ya que los sucesos del pasado se relatan con diferentes personas, perspectivas y recursos literarios. Predomina el narrador en tercera persona, pero también recurre al estilo epistolar, por ejemplo. Y digo que esto es negativo porque es cierto que crea cierta confusión al comienzo, pero enseguida el lector puede sumergirse en los acontecimientos, las historias y cada una de las líneas sin problemas. Es más, creo que le da un toque bastante original también.
En cuanto a la historia, es evidente que la película cambia varios detalles del libro, aunque mantiene la esencia y los argumentos principales. Sin embargo, en la novela me ha gustado encontrarme con más detalles de la relación de Idgie y Ruth, que, aunque se entiende en la película, queda mucho más clara y explicada en el libro. Además de varias escenas que son exclusivas de la novela.
Es un libro para mí muy especial. Sus personajes me parecen todos entrañables a su manera, y creo que dan un mensaje muy positivo de comunidad. Se trata el racismo del país (especialmente en los estados del sur, donde estaría ubicado el Whistle Stop) y de cómo algunos hacen lo que pueden por ayudar (como Ruth e Idgie), creando un espacio seguro para prácticamente cualquier persona, independientemente de su condición. Se dan muchos más detalles y matices de cada uno de los personajes, de sus vivencias, con un toque optimista y transmitiendo el sentimiento generalizado de que todo puede ir a mejor. Me ha encantado en general redescubrir la historia que me conozco de memoria, desde la perspectiva de un libro tan bonito y lleno de detalles.
Tomates verdes fritos es una historia sobre la juventud, el paso del tiempo y la nostalgia de tiempos pasados que, sin ser necesariamente mejores, se recuerdan con dulzura y cariño. El final es agridulce, y para variar, lloré como una tonta. Y tan feliz. Porque ése es el principal sentimiento que me provoca cada nueva visita al Whistle Stope Café: aunque ya sepa qué menú voy a encontrar, sé que vuelvo a ser bienvenida.
Profile Image for Lilli.
125 reviews32 followers
March 27, 2022
Nowhere south of the Mason-Dixon line served up better barbeque and even better love and laughter than The Whistle Stop Cafe in Whistle Stop, Alabama did in the early 20th century, and no one loves reminiscing on those good ol' days more than elderly Ninny Threadgoode. Ninny is enjoying a brief stay at the Rose Terrace Nursing Home, accompanying an old friend during her transition into assisted living. There she meets 48-year-old housewife Evelyn Couch, who, with her husband, visits her mother-in-law there each Sunday. Evelyn feels she has reached a dead end in her life and is full of sadness and rage at how things have turned out for her in her monotonous existence as a chubby housewife with no ambitions. Ninny and Evelyn begin an unexpected friendship, and through Ninny's stories of her life in Whistle Stop, Evelyn finds the courage and inspiration she needs to take hold of her life and shape it into a happier one.

Through chatty and companionable Ninny's observations and recollections of life in a rural Alabama railway stop, we are introduced to a colorful cast of characters. We meet the whole of the Threadgoode family, who Ninny grew up with and eventually married into. No one in this family shines brighter than youngest child Idgie Threadgoode, a rapscallion of a tomboy who can't say no to a good day of hunting, fishing, drinking, and slipping quiet acts of kindness all about town. The Threadgoode family boasts a reputation of being extremely generous and kindly, always taking in all sorts of stray children and creating a happy home for both Black folks and white alike. One of these stray children, beautiful and sweet-as-pie Ruth Jameson, captures the heart of nearly everyone who meets her—and especially young Idgie. The two go on to start a café with help from the family and their Black employees Sipsey, George Pullman Peavey, and his wife Onzell. This story follows a large ensemble cast and their escapades throughout the years, flipping back and forth between the past Ninny is remembering and the present in which she is sharing her memories with Evelyn, and does so with boundless amounts of heart.

I just fell head over heels for this book! It reads like a big heaping plate of Southern comfort food. I looked forward to listening to the charming narration by Lorna Raver at every turn in my day. She really brought this book to life for me! I haven't seen this movie before but it is well-loved by many of the women in my life and I just can't wait after reading the book.

While dated in the year 2022, this book was remarkable given the time! I loved the portrayal of Idgie and Ruth's relationship and the acceptance with no questioning by the people of Whistle Stop. This small town has one another's backs. I was absolutely cackling when Evelyn destroyed the car of those two snotty girls in the grocery store parking lot. You say Wakanda forever? I say Towanda forever.

While I do wish there was less focus on Evelyn's relationship with weight, it was the '80s, and there was nothing more worth obsessing over in that time. Evelyn is a quintessential example of the type of middle class American housewife that Betty Friedan captures in The Feminine Mystique—bored, frustrated, and above all, held back by her own intrinsic beliefs about the world’s expectations of her and her role within it. I did still really appreciate her reclaiming of her life; it may not seem like much now, but at this time, she had to do a lot of work to undo the anti-feminist thinking and lifestyle that was ingrained in her and many like her at the time. Her friendship with Ninny was precious and changed her life in so many heartwarming ways. I also thought the handling of race in this story, especially given the setting, was lovely. The Black characters didn't just serve to be stereotypes. They were just as integrated and important to the narrative as any of the white characters, and luckily, just as loved. They capture the hearts of their audience, but that doesn’t mean the racism around them was dismissed by this author. She did a good job of addressing the experience of these characters realistically, including the prejudices they faced and those consequences. It also made me appreciate characters like Idgie and Ruth that much more. Nothing better than Railroad Bill—if you know, you know.

These vivid characters and this Southern fried setting will stick with me for a really long time. This was a wonderful, very comforting book. I can't recommend it enough!
Profile Image for Lisa Carlsson.
108 reviews6 followers
December 12, 2008
I feel bad saying it, but I think this is a case where I liked the movie better than I liked the book! The movie had its heartbreaking moments, but one was still left with quite a bit of humor and a general feeling of the significance of living life to the fullest. The book featured many more characters (and tragedies!) than the movie chose to portray, and the sadness of some of the stories dragged down the more humorous parts of the book. I guess I had expected the movie when I opened the pages... and that is always a dangerous thing! ;-)
Profile Image for Brian.
689 reviews332 followers
February 5, 2016
This is a delightful novel, peopled with characters that leap off the page and stick with you after you have closed the cover of the book. I actually miss some of the characters from "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe", and that has only happened to me a few times in my reading life.
I am not going to get into the rehash that many of these reviews seem to focus on about this novel not being like the movie. For the record, I love the film, but it is a different creature than the novel, and yes, the novel is the superior work. Fannie Flagg also wrote the screenplay for the film, and she chose to make a different story for that medium, and that is fine. But don't read the novel expecting it to be the film, it isn't.
"Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe" is really about the people and less about the plot, and I like this approach to the text very much. It is told as a series of vignettes that come in non linear order. The jumping around is purposeful, as it mimics how memory comes to us, and how we remember and reflect on our past and those that peopled it. These memory flashbacks are interspersed with the linear story of Evelyn Couch and her friendship with a retirement home bound women named Ninny. Flagg has captured small town southern living in the early and mid twentieth century wonderfully, and Whistle Stop is filled with very interesting characters. Too many for me to write about here. Some are good, and some bad, and Flagg refrains from judging any of them. She just presents them as they are, in their own elements, and lets the reader do the rest. To her immense credit, they are very real people. As three dimensional as they come.
There are times when I felt the text was a little hokey in that it is not a constantly well written book. However, those flaws are few and far between. To compensate there are many moments where Ms. Flagg's prose is wonderful in its colloquial simplicity, and raw human power.
I will return to Whistle Stop again. No higher praise for a novel. If you have never been, you should drop in for a visit.
Profile Image for David Putnam.
Author 16 books1,519 followers
March 24, 2019
I Read this book long ago and really enjoyed it. Fannie Flag used to be a member of Asilomar Writers. I too have been a member of Asilomar Writers for the last twenty-five years. Before I joined Fannie Flag read Fried Green Tomatoes in this same group. She dedicated the book to Jerry Hannah the organizer and leader (and my writing mentor). I would not be a published author today without Jerry Hannah's wonderful guidance.
This is a great book I recommend it.
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,138 followers
April 2, 2015
An endearing and heartfelt story that just makes you want to take a trip and visit the Whistle Stop Cafe. The movie has always been a favorite of mine, and now the book is too! Just loved it!
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