I love Fannie Flagg's books and have been a fan since I read Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe long ago. I love that Flagg's newest book brings some of those characters back to life for readers. It also makes me want to dig out my copy of FGT and re-read it myself.
Flagg's novel moves back and forth in time as we look at the life of Buddy Threadgoode who grew up in Whistle Stop, Alabama, when it was a bustling and busy place. His mother, Ruth, and aunt Idgie ran the Whistle Stop Cafe which was known for its fried green tomatoes.
We see Buddy as a young boy and then at various stages throughout his life, always thankful for the blessings he's been given. He's had some hardships: the loss of his arm as a young boy and the death of his mother when he was still a teenager, but he's also had a successful career as a veterinarian and a beautiful family.
Part of this novel focuses on his daughter Ruth (named for the grandmother she never had the chance to meet) and we see her life story as well.
All the while, there's a longing for Whistle Stop, a town that no longer even exists. Bud has tried to visit it, but there are just a few old abandoned buildings, and the residents are all long gone.
I love Flagg's sense of humor and the heartwarming feeling of her stories. In a world full of negative news stories and plenty to be anxious about, this book is a perfect way to spend a quiet afternoon.
And although The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop works as a stand-alone novel, I hope its publication will ignite a whole new generation of people to pick up Fried Green Tomatoes and hear the story of Ruth and Idgie.