Friday, July 10, 2020

Book Review - The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop by Fannie Flagg

My Review
The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop is a sequel to Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.  The Wonder Boy is Bud (Buddy) Threadgoode. He is the son of Ruth Jamison, and is later adopted by Idgie Threadgoode and her family. After losing his arm in an accident as a young boy, he grew up in Whistle Stop, Alabama with Ruth, Idgie, and their extended family and friends. The novel goes back and forth in time, and much of the plot centers on Bud's daughter, Ruthie, a widow who is living in Atlanta and looking for her next chapter in life.  Bud impulsively travels to Whistle Stop, an abandoned town at this point, and that trip leads Ruthie to join him in Alabama, where they meet and befriend Evelyn Couch.

I wanted to read The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop because I love Fannie Flagg's books! She is one of my favorite authors and I absolutely love Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.  

This is the most delightful book.  It moves back and forth in time, like memory, from the 1930's to the 1960's, the 1980's, and into the present day.  The chapters are short, punctuated with humor, occasional poignancy, and Dot Weems' little newsletter about the town of Whistle Stop.

It felt like visiting with old friends again seeing what happened next to the characters I loved in Fried Green Tomatoes.  I really enjoyed the continuation of Ruth and Idgie's story in the lives of  Bud and Ruthie.

The storytelling is fun and lively, with passages like this (about Bud):

"One afternoon, when Ninny was over at the cafe visiting with Ruth, she said, 'That boy of yours is a real wonder boy.' 

Ruth smiled. 'Why do you say that?' 

Ninny laughed . “Because he’s always a wonderin’ about somethin’ or another. Why do kittens purr, or why do rabbits have long ears? This morning, when he was over at my house, he says to me, “Aunt Ninny, I wonder why chickens have feathers and wings , but they don’t fly off anywhere?” So I said, “That’s a good question, honey. If I was a chicken and I saw Sipsey headed toward me with her five-pound skillet, I’d sure fly away if I could.” (Kindle location 235).

I enjoyed getting to know Bud and Ruthie in this book. Bud is an especially likable character, with his lifelong love of animals (he is a retired veterinarian in present day) and his abiding love for all things Whistle Stop. Ruthie is also an interesting character, with many parallels to Evelyn's storyline from Fried Green Tomatoes.  The scenes with Ruthie and Evelyn together are pure gold.

I cannot recommend The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop highly enough for anyone who enjoys historical fiction, southern fiction, and especially the novels of Fannie Flagg.  Settle in with a glass of iced tea and a long afternoon of good reading.  You will not be disappointed!

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