The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop

Fannie Flagg's enduring Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café was published in 1987 (and made into a movie in 1992). The heartwarming novel explored the friendship between a disillusioned, middle-aged housewife and Ninny Threadgoode, an elderly woman living out her days in a nursing home. Ninny had astonishing tales to tell about a bustling railroad cafe in a small Alabama town east of Birmingham in the 1930s.

Flagg's long-awaited sequel focuses on Buddy Threadgoode, Jr., son of the late Ruth Jamison, who once ran the Whistle Stop Cafe with Imogene "Idgie" Threadgoode, an adventurous, rebellious tomboy. Through a patchwork quilt of scenes, Bud's history unfolds from the 1930s: how he managed life with a missing arm, an injury incurred in a train accident when he was six years old, and became a veterinarian; how Aunt Idgie became Bud's best friend and cheerleader, even after she sold the café and moved to Florida; how Bud fell in love with and married his childhood sweetheart, and they raised a daughter, Ruthie, a woman with her own story to tell.

As in Fried Green Tomatoes, Flagg infuses short chapter vignettes with cozy snippets of gossip about Whistle Stop townsfolk--memorable characters from the first book--who left town and set down roots elsewhere. Bud--now in his 80s, retired and widowed--looks back lovingly and longingly at his Whistle Stop days. The story blossoms in vintage Flagg style--folksy and feel-good. An abundance of Southern charm will delight both readers eager to journey back to beloved Whistle Stop and also those wanting to visit for the very first time. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

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