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Thankful Thursday XXXVII – Fannie Flagg & The Storytellers

This Thankful Thursday I’m thankful for storytellers. No, not the used car dealers who assure you that 2003 Mustang was only driven to church on Sunday by a little old lady, but the great ones who write the books and movies we love. Shakespeare was a story-teller. So too Dickens, and Steinbeck and Twain. Even Stephen King. And Fannie Flagg. She came to mind because I just finished reading a book by her, so I’ll rather combine two blogs here and review it.

One of the out of left-field hit movies from the ’90s was Fried Green Tomatoes, a sort of ode to both the Deep South and feminism, starring Mary Stuart Masterson and Mary Louise Parker. The story revolved around the close friendship of two young women, Idgie and Ruth during the Depression-era South, as told by an elderly relative of Idgie’s decades later. It’s an unusual sort of dramedy, mixing well elements of both humor, sometimes quite dark (ie – the disappearance of Ruth’s violent, abusive husband, which shall we say led to a “tasty” subplot) and tear-jerking drama. Most of it centred around a little diner, the Whistle Stop Cafe, run by the two friends.

Anyway, undoubedly some have wondered what ever happened to those characters; when the film ended, Idgie was still alive and looking after Ruth’s young boy, Buddy Jr., and Evelyn, the middle-aged lady hearing the stories from old Ninny was on her way to a whole career and life makeover. Well, it turns out we now know, thanks to the story’s creator, Fannie Flagg. Last year she published a sequel, The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop. It’s a good, quick read that brings us up to date on all the main characters, through a similar series of present-day events and flashbacks.

We find that Evelyn parlayed her Mary Kay sales into a major business career and she’s now a mover and shaker in Birmingham, but a bored one. She once again connects with the family of Idgie and Ruth. While the original mainly centred on those two, this one is seen largely through the scope of Buddy Jr., who’d become a successful veterinarian but is now retired and lonely back in Georgia, and his daughter, Ruthie. Together they become a new sort of family and embark on a “if you build it they will come” sort of project to bring the past into the future.

The chapters are short and fast-paced and the story interesting. Like the first one, it highlights feminism and individuality while throwing some shade on class elitism and other less lovable traits of “Dixie.” With her blend of unusual but likable characters and championing of community and small town life, Flagg is something of a Garrison Keillor of the South…a title people like Evelyn and Ruthie would take as an honor. They might not be Tolstoy or Rushdie, but they know how to tell a story that touches us and characters who stay with us.

7 Replies to “Thankful Thursday XXXVII – Fannie Flagg & The Storytellers”

  1. I haven’t read the book but a then ex-girlfriend called me up and said…Max YOU are going to a movie now. I was broke and she said I’ll pay your way if you just watch this movie. That is what she took me to. I have to admit…it’s a GREAT movie. I wouldn’t mind reading the book either. I’ve watched it since around 2 times more and I could easily watch it agian.

    I remember Fannie Flag most from Match Game 7X

    Dave I lost the link again to this site…so I looked through my emails and sure enough I had asked you before.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. it was a good movie- I didn’t expect to like it (I think I first saw it when I wanted something I figured my Mom would like during a visit years ago). I vaguely remember Match Game, but didn’t know she was on it … her name is pretty famous though.
      the link I think is : The really weird thing is that there doesn’t seem to be an http in front of it, which is not really ideal for finding it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Browsers should automattically put that or https://…but I finally found it in one of our emails.
        I wasn’t expecting to like it either…but I had to admit to her I did…that brought us together again for a month or so lol. I told Jennifer last night I wanted to see it again.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think I will too, I have the DVD here but haven’t seen it for several years. The sequel would make a good movie too, though perhaps a bit complex because through flashbacks it has scenes through about six decades.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. yep, the book is the one I reviewed, hope they put out a movie version too. Didn’t know about the TV show though, that’s news. I like Reba M (her own sitcom was a bit predictable and corny but it did have a few funny bits and episodes) so it could be quite good.

        Liked by 1 person

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