41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
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.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
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!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
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.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
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!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
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!
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 20 July 2008
This is one of the very few books that left me with a warm fuzzy feeling at its end. I, like most people saw (and loved) the film version first, but i really regret having seen the film first, as the book is quite spectacular in comparison. The book totally immerses you in the wonderful town of whistle-stop, and you find yourself feeling for the protagonist Evelyn Crouch who is such a likable, relatable (is that a word?) character.
BY THE WAY......
i found this quite humourous, but if you watch the film first, when you read the book you can't help but imagining Jessica Tandy (particularly her voice) as old Miss Ninny threadgoode
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 February 2012
I first came across Fried Green Tomatoes when I saw the film years ago, which I suspect is the case for many people. I loved the feel-good film and, when I found out much later that it was based on a book, I made a point of seeking it out. The book is written in an unusual style, including Ninny's and Evelyn's accounts, as seen in the film, but also including contemporary 'newsletters' written in Whistle Stop's heyday.
As is often the case, the great thing about the book is that the story is so much more involved than the film. The characters are expanded on, with their own sub-plots giving us a greater insight into them, and the goings-on in Whistle Stop and its environs.
Be prepared for a significantly different ending and have the tissues handy. This is a well crafted celebration of life's changes, of diversity and difference, but most of all, it's about accepting and loving others as they are and without judging. It never fails to have me blubbing at some point.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Like many, I've seen the film. Many times. Know the lines, the scenes, how it plays out. Finally decided to read the source novel as I've never read any Fannie Flagg before.
I wasn't sorry I did. As we all discover, changes are made between book and film adaptation. I can see why they were made but some changes were a surprise.
The plot remains focused on female relationships. In the 'present' (i.e. 1986), overweight and hormonal Evelyn Couch meets independent and sparky 86-year-old Ninny Threadgoode while visiting a care home. She finds herself listening to, and gradually becoming more involved in Ninny's stories of her backwater town of Whistle Stop and its residents.
In the past (1920s onwards) we see Whistle Stop and Ninny's relations and neighbours. We get regular newsletter chapters written by a resident, see the Threadgoode clan, mostly maverick Idgie and her love for Ruth (definitely less platonic and accepted as being such than in the film), but also the family's black employees and their families in the highly segregated town.
There are more characters than in the film. Some have clearly been amalgamated for brevity for the film, but it's both confusing with so many characters and also expanding to see more of the town as part of the story.
It's not just a sweet wistful saga. There's a murder trial, more than one killing, train accidents, prostitiutes (no sexual content though) and racial incidents. It feels humid. You want to try Big George's barbecue. Well, mostly.
The story flits back and forth within the past and then back to Evelyn. Which I personally don't have a problem with but I know some prefer something more straightforward. I did lose track of a few unfamiliar names and who was who.
I was glad that the famous scenes were all still intact and key incidents unchanged. Evelyn's transformation after meeting Ninny is realistically gradual and Idgie's story happily fleshed out from the film's.
Only took two days to read, very breezy and easy to fly through. Will appeal more to a female market. Funnier than you might be expecting, moving and well worth reading if you're a fan of the film. Adds a lot to it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 30 April 2007
This book has everything. Many people feel a little bombarded by the number of names and characters thrown at them in the early pages, coupled with the flipping backwards and forwards in time, but it does just click all of a sudden; so persevere because, if you don't, you will be depriving yourself of one of the most magical books ever!