Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe — Fanny Flagg

(pub. 2002)
A mix of the con­tem­po­rary inter­views, in the moment sto­ry telling, and lit­tle bits from news­pa­pers make an inter­est­ing way of telling a story.
Much of the sto­ry is nar­rat­ed by Ninny Threadgoode — a woman who mar­ried in the to the Threadgoode fam­i­ly. She’s not exact­ly an unre­li­able nar­ra­tor but she has her own per­spec­tive on things. Other parts of the book are told in the present tense as the action hap­pens over the course of the years. And there are reg­u­lar excerpts from the local news­pa­per con­tem­po­ra­ne­ous with the sto­ry line. Usually those kinds of thing annoy me because I have trou­ble keep­ing track of the time line bounc­ing around and who is doing what. I had only a lit­tle bit of trou­ble here because there are enough chil­dren grow­ing up in the time line that it’s not so hard to track what hap­pens when. (And Flagg is good about men­tion­ing the ages of the chil­dren as she goes along — or at least allur­ing to them.)
Much of the sto­ry cen­ters around the def­i­n­i­tions of fam­i­ly both the inher­it­ed and the built. The cen­ter of the sto­ry is the rela­tion­ship between Idge and Ruth. (Idge is short for Imogene.) And how they form a fam­i­ly with Ruth’s son, known after a trag­ic acci­dent ™, as Stumpy.

* in the end you do find out who mur­dered Ruth’s nasty ex-husband; it’s very satisfying *