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 *