on 15 June 2004
Well were does one begin in describing what has to be one of the best books written. I am a true believer in a book being entertaining and this book certainly delivers entertainment.It is a story set in the south of the Usa in the Twenties and thirties but narrated in the eighties. It tells of the love of true friendship between two girls Issy and Ruth .It explores their lives and shows us how they grow in confidence as their friendship develops. But this book also brings us to the eighties and shows us how a relationship based on love and understanding develops between the narrator and her new companoin. It is beautifully written and rich in description you will not want to put it down. It is well worth investing in.
on 8 November 2007
I saw the movie--twelve times--then decided that I had to read the book. Southern American literature and storytelling has always fascinated me, mainly because they're so good at it, and FRIED GREEN TOMATOES is possibly one of the best examples of this around. The story of friendship between two women (and don't think this is some A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS), the book deals with the trials and tribulations that they go through in Depression-era Alabama. Flagg writes from the heart and her portrait of not only the people, but the land and food, are smack on dead center. You can smell the coffee and bacon, taste the pies, and savor the intricate plot and fascinating outcome in this one-of-a-kind book. For those who like Southern American literature, this book is right up there with Toole's CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES and the great and gut-wrenching novel BARK OF THE DOGWOOD. If you like reading about the American South, FGT is the book to have in your collection.
on 6 September 2009
This is a great book - 5 out of 5 from me.
I thought that the plot was fantastic - full of extremely engaging story lines and loads of sub-plots but never so much going on that it became overwhelming. There was enough intrigue for it to be interesting (the murder, the relationship - were-they-weren't-they, Towanda etc) and lots of humour to make lighten the mood when the going got tough...and there were many moments of extreme empathy within the plot <sob> <sob> to touch your soul. Simple yet engrossing.
The characters were very well drawn, each entirely believable. I particularly loved Eva's character, Sipsey, Idgie & 'Railroad Bill' (...who isn't exactly a character but embodies an idea or a 'spirit' that is sadly a lot more rare than it should be).
The messages within this novel were put across simply but spanned a lot of areas - we have feminism, racism, homosexuality - basically human nature in all its forms. The message came across very strongly to me that we must all think of exactly how we treat each other and what we base our opinions on. A very gentle way to give some stark messages - using the clever juxtaposition of humour & empathy to make those messages stick was genius.
The writing was engaging - I loved the three main 'streams' of narrative (Weems Weekly, Evelyn & Ninny, & 'real-time as-it-happened') and how the author played with time and the order of events. We got to see some things in advance and had to wait for others - we also got a number of different points of view on the incidents portrayed. Flagg's techniques really helped with the pacing - which I thought was strongly linked to the 'railroad' theme - I definitely felt I was being rhythmically transported through the narrative as if on a train. Each strand of narrative felt like I was in a different carriage hearing a different point of view - very clever
...and I read it in only a few days, I love novels that allow me to do that. I think this is going onto my shelf with all of the other books that I read over and over again!
on 25 November 2006
I vaguely remember seeing the film of this book, many years ago, and thought I would give it a try. I generally prefer the books to the film and I was not disappointed! As the saying goes 'once I started reading I just couldn't put it down!' By the end I felt I really knew the characters. I'll be looking for more books from this author.
Synopsis: an old lady in an old people's home tells stories of her youth and the people she knew in Whistle Stop, Alabama, to a visitor. We learn about Evelyn, the visitor, trapped in a boring marriage and a body that doesn't please her; we also learn more and more about Whistle Stop and its people, not just throught the old lady's stories, but by snippets from the local paper and little cinematic shots of peoples' lives. The changes in a small town through the depression, through the Segregation, through the loss of industry - but all told through vivid tales about real peoples' lives.
Reading what I just wrote, I don't think I would want to read a book like that, particularly. But this great book is written with such warmth, the people are so real, the feeling of time fading away so strong... It is about life in a small town in the South, about old-fashioned people, about race, about getting old, about death - but most of all about life. Time and again I felt moved, humbled even. And I have never even been to Alabama! This is one big-hearted book, and I feel richer for having read it. Brilliant!
on 23 October 2008
Set in the American South, this heart-warming tale swings through history telling the story of Idgie and her family using first hand narrative, the Weems Weekly gossip-sheet and then the memories of Ninny, Idgie's now elderly sister.
Covering issues such as racial segregation, poverty, domestic violence and murder, Flagg's humourous style makes this an unforgettable book, which the whole group enjoyed.
It is true to say, however, that the lesbian relationship between Idgie and Ruth is never blatantly acknowledged - they could be nothing more than "just good friends".
There are also some recipes included at the end if you fancy cooking fried green tomatoes for yourself! A highly recommended read!
on 22 December 2001
really encapsulates the strong relationships that women are able to form with other women, regardless of their age. This book really moved me, and having already watched the film, the book filled in a few 'gaps' for me. teriffic.
on 29 May 2016
Two stories in one novel; first the lives and loves of a small community centred on one family in Whistle Stop, a one cafe town just outside Birmingham, Alabama during the depression and secondly the tale of a late middle aged woman struggling to come to terms with life in 1980s America. The stories intertwine seemlessley and are told with a combination of gentle humour and vivid description. The book covers some serious topics such as domestic abuse, murder and racism with a gentle but firm touch. It's an understated style of writing that binds you closer and closer to the story the further into the book you get.
on 29 May 2015
I am generally a bit wary of seeing the film and reading the book, frequently finding that whichever gets in first has a tendency to spoil the second. In this case I saw and thoroughly liked the film first, but I can happily report that the book was no disappointment, though I did experience the old problem of envisaging the film's cast rather than allowing the author's descriptions to govern my imagination.
The device of having various different narrators, plots lines, sub-plots and so forth can prove tricky (for me as a reader at least, sometimes for the author too) but I am glad to say this wasn't the case here. The depiction of a time and place quite alien to me was most effective, and even minor characters seemed well filled-out, I was left feeling that if some sort of time machine were to dump me in Whistlestop then in the brief spell before I melted it would all feel very familiar.
on 3 December 2015
I think I missed the film years ago and decided to read this when it was on offer and very glad I did. It's a very touching book, and deals with many issues, racism, sexuality etc, very sensitively and honestly (I think, although as I'm not really affected by the issues personally I can only imagine that). The characters are beautifully fleshed out throughout the story, and the backwards and forwards down the timeline only enhances the book for the reader. I love the car park scene (I think Kathy Bates played it in the film) - middle aged woman goes mad haha