Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

By Fannie Flagg,

Book cover of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

Book description

Folksy and fresh, endearing and affecting, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is a now-classic novel about two women: Evelyn, who’s in the sad slump of middle age, and gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode, who’s telling her life story. Her tale includes two more women—the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and…

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Why read it?

9 authors picked Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Through a series of tall tales told by an impish old lady to a lost, lonely woman visiting a nursing home, Fannie Flagg whisks the reader back to the deep south circa 1929 to an off-beat love story between two women who run a cozy café, and a rich mystery that gives the lost woman the courage to make heroic changes in her life.

This delectable book was a huge inspiration for me when writing my debut novel. I love how the wisdom-filled folk-tale-like chapters are quilted together to tell a larger story. And, like my own book, it contains…

From David's list on quirky wisdom filled love stories.

I fell absolutely in love with the world Fannie Flagg creates in this book and with her fascinating way of weaving together a complex, compelling, heartwarming story about family and small-town life.

I really admire all the women in this novel–Idgie and Ruth from the past storyline and Evelyn and Ninny from the “present-day” storyline. I also love the mysteries and secrets at the novel’s heart and the way I was kept guessing all the way to the end.

This book made me both laugh and cry, and it has been on my short list of the novels I love…

I AM Idgy Threadgoode. A woman full of piss and vinegar who refuses to let social convention tell her how she can and cannot live.

Idgy loved Ruth. She loves the folks in her town, and when Idgy sets out to protect all of them, calamity abounds. I love this book and have read it twice and used it to teach about great character development in my creative writing class. The story is funny, intense, romantic, and I just could not put it down.

There’s so much to love in this story about female friendship. 

Romance, murder, small towns, racism, ageism, and bar-b-que. I flew through the pages wanting more and more of the story, while also feeling my heart break at the journey these women experience. Flagg is masterful at tackling serious topics with addictive storytelling.

From Audrey's list on strong Southern women.

This is classic Southern Fiction, loaded with razor-sharp humor and Flagg’s trademark lyrical prose.

You’ll never forget the characters and there’s a stunning revelation that is guaranteed to unhinge the jaw of the most jaded reader. Fried Green Tomatoes stands the test of time; I loved it and it definitely inspired and informed my writing.

This is a journey to my home state of Alabama you’re sure to enjoy!

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, set in the early 1990s, is about the changing culture in the rural south. It is also about the friendship of two women, Idgie and Ninny Threadgood, who, in other situations, might not have had the opportunity to know each other so well. They are thrown together and are fighting for survival. The narrator of the book is the nephew of one of the women, Idgie, who has multiple, and sometimes dodgy, adventures that he, Bud, gets to participate in. A good read that became a hit movie.

This was the first book I recall reading where it had past and present chapters, and something I didn’t know I needed in my life until I read the novel. I don’t feel that story would’ve been as powerful told any other way. The characters are as rich as the town and I felt an equal connection to the landscape as I did Idgie and Evelyn. Most importantly, the story sheds a multitude of light on the process of a woman aging which is both beautiful and sobering.

From Savannah's list on forgotten coming of age.

“Charming” is the word that comes to mind when describing the humor in this 1987 novel. Yet, the message about how women struggled pre-women's liberation movement, is clearly present and still resonates today.  The story is told by the weaving together of past and present when an elderly woman recalls the great love of her life, who just happens to be a woman named Ruth.  

Set in the deep south in Alabama, where gay was an unspoken word (correction: it was spoken, but it meant: happy) the love story has layers where female empowerment is contrasted between the two women…

Another small town Southern tale of “the love which dare not speak its name,” this time between Idgie and Ruth, one a carefree tomboy type and the other a genteel Southern lady, that spans decades. You’ve probably seen the movie, but I recommend the book because it will transport you the way it did me to the kudzu-choked wilds of rural Northern Alabama (I was actually born not far from where the book is set) in the early to mid-twentieth century. 

From Zev's list on books to come out to...at any age.

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