03 March 2009

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (Fannie Flagg)

I was mildly concerned after reading Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. I remembered my father saying (often) that this was his favourite film and I assumed this was the book said film was modelled on. It turns out his favourite film is Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and thus my mind is set at rest.

Actually, this could be cause for concern regardless.

Trying to pinpoint my exact problem with this book took me awhile and then I realised what it was: IT'S NOT VERY GOOD.

My expectations were raised with the endorsement from Harper freaking Lee on the front cover; I was anticipating more than a mildly trashy sob-fest set in the Deep South. However, the novel delivered no more than this, although I suppose the inclusion of the recipe for fried green tomatoes is a small consolation.

The novel is narrated by Mrs Cleo Threadgoode, who now resides in a nursing home in Alabama. The year is 1985 and she has met a younger woman at the home who evades her own mother-in-law in favour of visiting with Mrs Threadgoode. Evelyn is depressed, overweight and timid; feeling as though she has nothing to live for she chocolates her way through life. However, Mrs Threadgoode's retelling of her times at the Whistle Stop Cafe in the 20s and 30s invigorate Evelyn and force her to embrace her life once again.

And... that was basically it. Good storytelling, I'll admit, but none of the insights or sharp prose which turn a storyteller into an author. However, I'll admit to being slightly swept away with the tales of love, murder and friendship at Whistle Stop regardless of the sub par writing; and I DID make fried green tomatoes.

For future reference, they are disgusting.

Rating: 6/10.
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