Written By: Fannie Flagg
Published By: Random House
Reviewed By: Melissa Minners
I’m a huge fan of Fannie Flagg’s writing thanks to the movie, Fried Green Tomatoes. When I discovered that this movie that I have watched hundreds of times was based on a novel, I bought said novel and have read it three times. I’ve also read some other books written by Fannie Flagg, but Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café and The Whole Town’s Talking are still my favorites. So, when I heard that she had written a sequel to Fried Green Tomatoes, I couldn’t wait to read it!
The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop tells the story of Bud Threadgoode. Bud was raised by his mother, Ruth Jamison, and his aunt Idgie Threadgoode, Ruth’s closest friend. Known by the nickname of Stump in his youth after losing his arm in a train accident, Bud was always taught that there was no adversity he couldn’t overcome. Thanks to his mother and his aunt, Bud Threadgoode went on to do many great things, but he would probably tell you that the best thing that he had done was get married to the love of his life, probably followed by the birth of his daughter.
This book follows not only Bud’s life after his mother’s death, but it also follows his daughter Ruthie who marries who college sweetheart, but loses herself somewhere along the way. After the death of her husband, Ruthie has trouble figuring out just who she is and what she wants to do with her life, much like her father after he loses Ruthie’s mother. It will take a surprise journey by Bud…an attempt to reach the now defunct and overgrown town of Whistle Stop and a chance encounter with one Evelyn Couch to bring Bud and Ruthie back on the right track again.
I love Fannie Flagg’s writing – the way she intersperses flashback chapters with the present. I also love the way she endears a character to the reader, making them want to know more about the individual and the place they came from. We love the stories of Whistle Stop and long to know what has happened to all of the folks that lived there long after the town faded away. Fannie definitely delivers, offering up tales of Dot and Ninny and Grady and more, even expanding our knowledge of Idgie and her brother Julian.
But there is a slight problem – anyone who has read Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café knows that Fannie Flagg already wrote Buddy Threadgoode’s storyline well into adulthood. After reading The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop, I thought that I might have remembered Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café wrong. After all, it had been a few years since I had read the book, so I pulled it off the shelf to take a look and I was right. Bud was called Stump long into adulthood and had a daughter named Norma in that book. This couldn’t exactly be a sequel to Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, could it?
I’d rather think of this as a re-imagined storyline…perhaps a sequel to the movie instead. Minus some slight changes, The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop would make a great sequel to the movie version than the novel it was based on. And in that case, I can definitely condone the sequel description.
The fact of the matter is, whether it is touted (wrongly) as a sequel to the book or a sequel to the film (more likely), The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop is a terrific read that will make you laugh, make you cry and thoroughly entertain you. Definitely another Fannie Flagg novel that is worth the read!