Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop

The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop by Fannie Flagg
10/27/20; 304 pages
Penguin Random House

The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop by Fannie Flagg is a very highly recommended retrospective visit with some of the characters from Whistle Stop, Alabama, made famous in the beloved Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (1987). The novel reminisces about the characters in the 1930s and follows the life of Bud Threadgoode and his daughter Ruthie up to the present. This delightful novel is like going home and visiting your extended family; it's a comfortable visit where we freely talk about the past and hear updates on what happened since.

The novel follows Bud Threadgoode, Penny, and their daughter Ruthie from the past, in the 1930s, up to the present. We get to read Dot Weems annual Christmas letter full of updates about former residents of Whistle Stop. We get stories from the past about Bud's mother, Ruth, and Idgie. We hear stories about Ninny Threadegoode again and Evelyn Couch meets Ruthie and Bud. There are stories about Opal, Sipsey, and Big George. The novel jumps around on the timeline between past and present, just as stories jump back and forth in time at any family reunion. Those who are fans are going to rejoice in this return to the citizens from Whistle Stop.

There is a plot, but it's found in the gentle storytelling following a life, past and present, leading up to the present day. This is a sweet visit to a group of cherished characters. The tone is accepting, positive, encouraging, and affirmative. Even during hard times and struggles, the positive is always there, something that is sorely missing right now. There is something so good-hearted and kind about this novel. In some ways it's presents a nice blueprint for people to follow during hard times. A positive attitude goes a long way during difficult times. These people with ties to Whistle Stop are good folks.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House.

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