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The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop

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Another charming and heart-warming visit to Whistle Stop, a chance to catch up with old friends and learn some previously unknown stories about them. Bit like going to a (happy) school reunion and catching up with everyone’s news. If you’ve read at least some of the previous books about Whistle Stop then this is a great read, but it’s not a good one to start with. You need a fair bit of background information first. But for those who love Fannie Flagg’s books, like me, then this one is another joy and a delight.
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It is so nice to be able to return to Whistle Stop in this sequel to Fannie Flagg’s Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. I adored that first book, and I found this one to be just as endearing. While the first book had more mystery and intrigue, this one is pure nostalgia and charm.

The best thing about this book is the characters. The return of favorites from the first book makes the book nostalgic, while the new characters add another layer of interest to the plot. I loved revisiting Idgie and Bud, but I also fell in love with Bud’s daughter Ruthie and her friend Evelyn. 

The plot is a nice mixture of stories from the past involving Idgie and Bud when he was a child and stories of the learnt time involving Ruthie. The narrative switches often from present to past, but I didn’t find it at all confusing. It keeps the plot interesting. There is also a pleasant mix of heartwarming storylines and humorous anecdotes. 

I would highly recommend this book to readers who enjoyed the first book as well as anyone who likes a nostalgic, light-hearted read. It really touched my heart and gave me positive vibes. Great sequel!
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If you haven't read Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, stop what you're doing and go get it. And read it. It won't take long. It sucks you in and you won't want to put it down. Now, pick this one up and find yourself back in Whistle Stop, back with the characters you loved, and you'll see what happened to them after Fried Green Tomatoes ended.

Buddy Threadgoode -- the boy missing an arm after a run in with a train -- grew up with his mother Ruth and his fun-loving Aunt Idgie, running the Whistle Stop Café, with its famous fried green tomatoes and a policy of feeding everyone, whether or not they could afford it. Buddy eventually grows up, gets married, and has his own daughter, Ruthie, who also grows up, gets married and has her own children. 

While this book says it's about Bud, the named wonder boy, I think that it's really about Ruthie, his daughter, and her own struggle to find herself and raise herself up... with the help of Evelyn Couch, of course. 

It's been years since I read the first book, and of course the movie is wonderful (with the screenplay written by the same author, so it tracks well,) so it was really nice getting to go back and revisit so many of the characters, while also meeting the ones who come after. I really liked how the author tied together the past and present -- we jump back and forth through the years in this book, where we are reminded about key things that happened in the original book, which then tied into the present time. I did find it a bit confusing sometimes, though, with the time jumps, but I did need a few of those reminders, so they were helpful. 

I also really liked how she tied in both Evelyn and Ninny Threadgoode's characters, since they were really so much of the first book. If you were cheering for Evelyn at the end of the first book, you'll definitely be on your feet by the end of this one with how far she's come. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. It has not influenced my opinion.
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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.
The review will be posted on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
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Bud decides to go back home to Whistle Stop one last time. He just wants to revisit old memories. However, it is not as easy as he thought. He meets some new people and has some new experiences which change his life for the better!

I have loved Fannie Flagg forever! But, this book is a little different. This does not feel like or read like a novel. It is a bunch of short stories about the people of Whistle Stop. There is really no plot. It just rambles in places.

The first part of the book jumps time a good bit. It can get confusing on who is who. But, it is still an ok read. It is heartwarming and full of cute characters and southern ways.

I received this copy from the publisher for a honest review.
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I read Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe earlier this year and LOVED it. Of course I’ve also seen the movie! ❤️ I was very excited to get an ARC of this follow up from Fannie Flagg! Thank you so much to Random House and #NetGalley ! 

The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop follows the story of Bud Threadgoode. He’s all grown up with a family of his own. The story is told from multiple view points, and from different periods in time, and revisits all the beloved characters from Fried Green Tomatoes.

It’s such a perfect book at curl up with for an afternoon. A quick read, short chapters, Dot Weems thrown in to make you laugh out loud...I loved it! But I love the South and small town USA. And how that always stays a part of you, and can shape your life. 

If you’ve read Fried Green Tomatoes, you will enjoy this one!! ❤️

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5
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I got an ARC of this book.

I have reviewed pretty much every book that Flagg has ever written. She was one of the authors I did an author study on when I was just starting this blog. I LOVE Flagg and what she writes. When The Whole Town’s Talking came out, it was said it would be her last book. I was sad, but I accepted that Flagg deserved to retire. So now I have to plan a trip to California to beat one of my favorite authors with a stick.

This book means a lot to me. The first in the series was one of the first queer books I ever read and the movie was one of the first queer movies I ever saw. I have seen the movie enough times that I could probably recite every line word for word. I still shout “Towanda” when I am being ridiculous. The characters are characters I love so deeply that no others will ever compare. So seeing them all again had me tearing up reading a book that did have some sad moments, but was generally a happy book. Flagg has shown a pattern that in her last book in a series there will be multiple deaths, mostly from old age or age related illnesses. I didn’t expect to be hit so hard by them, despite knowing they were coming. So if you are as emotionally invested as I am, maybe read this one when you aren’t at work so your new coworkers don’t panic.

The entire book read as an epilogue to the first book (and movie). There was a similar format to the writing even. The issue is, I don’t think this book could stand alone in any capacity. It is so tied up in the plots of the first book and movie that nothing will make sense and it wouldn’t have any emotional punch. You do need to have read the first book AND watched the movie. Evelyn Couch is introduced as a character in this book and she is not the same woman the movie had, because she had grown. She is older and much richer. Her weight is mentioned repeatedly which really wasn’t something I expected from Flagg. This book more gives closure to people who fell in love with the book and/or movie. It didn’t really have a big plot or anything that made it special on its own. There was a plot, but it was still wrapped up in the first book. It was the idea of family and coming home, which are big Flagg plots but she normally has something else going on too.

Ruth and Idgie, my first queer couple. They women who made me feel seen and loved when I was just coming out as a lesbian (this was before I knew being trans was really a thing, so I thought lesbian was my only option). In this book, their relationship was both denied and affirmed. So often they were called friends and Idgie was Aunt Idgie, but then there was talk of Ruth being more than a best friend and that Idgie really was a parent to Buddy. I was annoyed at how often the relationship was denied or hidden, just because who could really deny it was happening? Did no one else see that flour fight? I can understand it, but doesn’t mean I have to like it. This was one of my two big disappointments. The other being how little Idgie was in the book. She appeared here or there, but her antics were either in the past or toned down to grandma level antics. I missed Idgie proper.

All my favorites came back. Sipsey, Big George, Dot Weems (who couldn’t love Dot Weems), and even Ruth and Idgie. I really liked this book, but it is not the first book by any means. I am both so happy and a little let down. I finally got closure to the weird plot hole the movie had (one of the very last lines implied that Ninny was really Idgie, but this clarified that Ninny just knew that Idgie was really wild and would just do what she wanted to do so could appear whenever she wanted). So if you are a fan of the first book and the movie, this may be the book for you. If you weren’t a huge fan, you might want to skip this one and try a different Flagg book.
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"The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop" by Fannie Flagg, Random House, 304 pages, Oct. 27, 2020.

This is a sequel to the book "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe," written in 1987. The movie was released in 1991.

Bud Threadgoode grew up in the little railroad town of Whistle Stop, Alabama. Bud is the son of Ruth Jamison. He was later adopted by Idgie Threadgoode and her family. Together the women ran the Whistle Stop Cafe. Bud was 6 when he lost his arm in a train crossing accident.

The short chapters alternate between 1930s and 1990s, after the railroad yards shut down. In the 1990s, nothing is left of the town but boarded-up buildings. 

One day, Bud decides to take one last trip to see where Whistle Stop used to be. He takes his daughter, Ruthie, with him.

For the first third of the novel, the story goes from different times in history and the points of view of various people. The whole book is light on plot and relies a lot on coincidence. It is a feel-good story, but there is little to entice new readers. If you haven't read "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe," I recommend that instead.

In accordance with FTC guidelines, the advance reader's edition of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a review.
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When you need to escape the everyday and step into a magical happy place, Fannie Flagg delivers. Every time I read one of her books, I feel like I've been invited into the home of a southern neighbor who cooks for me and tells me stories. This book fills you in on the characters of Fried Green Tomatoes, where they've gone, and what shall become of the beloved Whistle Stop now that the town is dilapidated and everyone's moved away. A joyful treat!
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I received an ARC from Random House Publishing through NetGalley for an honest review. Every book I have read by Fannie Flagg is like coming home and picking up where we left off with old friends.  It was also like stepping back in time where there were lots going on but and you get a feel of what life was like back then.  
People who didn't read other books that Fannie Flagg has written, but I highly recommend them all, will still understand and I believe fall in love with the town, the times, and all the people who are there.  I wasn't born in the 1930s but the spirit of what life was like back then, has been passed down through the generations so that I do have a sense of the community spirit that Fannie captures and writes about and it takes a lot of people to raise a child.
Bud Threadgoode grew up in the bustling little railroad town of Whistle Stop with his mother, Ruth, and his Aunt Idgie, When the railroad shut down, it became a ghost town.  When Bud grew up. he decides to go back and see what had become of Whistle Stop.  Fannie brings us along on his journey and we meet some old friends and new friends, and the spirit the community has.
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Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House for gifting me an ARC of Fannie Flagg's wonderful new book, The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop - 5 stars for a heartwarming book with wonderful characters!

Back in Whistle Stop, Alabama, the setting in Flagg's Fried Green Tomatoes story, Bud Threadgoode grew up with his mom, Ruth, and Aunt Idgie, who ran the cafe.  But time marched on and the railroad industry decline left Whistle Stop mostly a ghost town except in Bud's memory.  

This book is told from many different viewpoints and times in the past while it fleshes out the story of Bud's family.  This is small town America at its best where people are committed to help each other.  It's the story of how one small act of kindness or interest has a ripple effect through generations.  It's also a good reminder to not put things off because time waits for no one.

I happily curled up with this book and these characters and felt at home and comforted.  Another great read by Fannie Flagg!
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My total delight in this book means that I’m not exactly sure how to write this review, but I’ll try. Let’s put it this way. It was like… catching up with old friends, like when I finally went to one of my High School reunions, and could have talked with these people for weeks without stopping. In this novel, Flagg not only brings us up to date with all the characters from the first novel, she also gives us a few more stories about them from the timeline of the previous book. I have my suspicion that these were bits and pieces that she left out of the first one, except for a few that helped bring the more contemporary action better into view. One of the ways we get both bits from the past and current updates is through Dot Weems’ yearly newsletters. Flagg has her keeping up with everyone who lived in Whistle Stop, first by sending them in the post, and later by sending them by email! These were so fun and touching to read, like finding an old stash of letters from a close friend.

Of course, the titular person in this book is Buddy Threadgoode, and yes, a very good deal of this novel focuses on him. We find out what happened to him as he grew up, married his childhood sweetheart, and had a daughter of his own – whom he named Ruth, after his own mother. But Flagg doesn’t stop there, and she includes Ruth’s life as well, with all its ups and downs. Furthermore, those who remember the previous book, will recall Evelyn Couch, the woman who gets to know Bud’s aunt Ninny Threadgoode when she finds herself with no one to talk to at her mother-in-law’s old age home where Ninny was also living. In this book, Evelyn becomes an equally important character, which is truly a pleasure. (Those who only saw the film will remember Evelyn and the scene in the parking lot when a woman steals the parking space she was waiting for, telling Evelyn that she’s younger and faster! The best line of that movie is Evelyn’s saying “I’m older and have more insurance!” as she crashes into the younger woman’s car!)

Look, I could go on and on about how adorably Flagg draws these familiar characters, while adding a few more new characters, both likeable and not. I could add how much I like that Flagg does what she can to give the good characters a happy ending, while gently sticking it to those who aren’t very pleasant. I could describe how all the back and forth in time isn’t at all confusing, and they all fit together so lovingly like a familiar puzzle. I could also say that I had a smile on my face the whole time reading this novel, even when I broke down in tears. I could also allude to how the twist that Flagg adds near the end of this story is just perfection. But why bother? This book was totally charming, witty, and poignant, from start to finish. If you’ve read Fried Green Tomatoes, this should be required reading. If not, I don’t think you’ll be missing too much by starting out with this book and going back to the first one. In short, I strongly recommend this novel, and can give it no less than a full five out of five stars.

As an aside, I read and reviewed Fannie Flagg’s 1987 break-out novel, “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café” back in 2009. This was one of those books that I read after seeing the film, and it got a full 5/5 stars from me (and is one of the few books-to-movie adaptations that works really well). I’m sure that the love and adoration for that book has garnered Flagg many requests for a sequel, and here it finally is after “only” 33 years! And what a sequel it is. (After noting that her novel, “The Whole Town’s Talking” was a retrospective of her Elmwood Springs books, and now this novel being a type of closure for Whistle Stop, I’m starting to worry if Flagg isn’t thinking of retiring. I certainly hope not, but it did cross my mind. Please don’t leave us, Fannie!)
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You can always count on heartwarming down home country storytelling from Fannie Flagg. In this return visit to the town of Whistle Stop, you meet the descendants of the old time residents and travel back in time to the old railroad town and memories of the people who called it home. Told in dual timelines, the stories of the past intertwine with the present in a lovely story about love, family and resilience.
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NetGalley ARC
The Wonder Boy in the title refers to Buddy "Stump" Threadgood, Ruth and Idgie's son from Fried Green Tomatoes.  Like the original novel, this book travels through time in the form of Dot Weems's newsletters (later Christmas emails) as well as the current affairs of Buddy and his family.  We catch up with many of the characters from Fried Green Tomatoes and discover that Whistle Stop has been abandoned and fallen into disrepair.  Can the town be saved?  

I wasn't born when Fried Green Tomatoes was first published, but I feel like it would have been fairly transgressive for the late 70’s.  While it goes unspoken, Ruth and Idgie are clearly aren't just best friends raising a child together.  While race relations are somewhat whitewashed, the horrifying racism of the time is at least acknowledged.  Wonder Boy is a sweet, easy read, but it lacks the bite of its predecessor.  Idgie and Ruth's love is confirmed.  Race is absolutely ignored in this book.  Aside from a few cameos from past characters, there are few POC included in this book. I reread Fried Green Tomatoes in preparation for this book, and a few random details had changed.  Nothing important, but the lack of continuity bothered me none the less.  I don't think a reread is necessary to enjoy this book.  Maybe just watch the movie.

While I enjoyed reading this book, I found it quite toothless and one dimensional.
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As someone who didn't read the book, but watch the movie "Fried Green Tomatoes", I was excited to see a new book was in the works that showed what Buddy has been up to since the end of the first title. After reading this, I now know I must go back and read the original!! This book felt like home. Fannie Flagg hasn't missed a beat, the flow of the storyline, to the complexities of both new and old characters makes it feel like the book was released right alongside the original, and not decades later. This book is a must read for those that want to see their old friends and meet new ones as well.
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This was a delightful read!  Ms. Flagg is a wonderful storyteller with a down home feel.  Equal parts humor and nostalgia.  The Wonder Boy takes you back to a simpler time that makes you yearn for small towns and old friends.  Loved it!
I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher and voluntarily chose to review it.
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I really enjoyed this return to the setting and characters from Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. This book is written in quintessential Fannie Flagg style, and while it might send some reader's heads spinning with the jumping back and forth in time and between the characters' POVs, I loved it.
I love how she gives the reader a look at a particular situation from various angles: through time, through other eyes, so that you get a complete picture of how things play out. I just loved getting to see how Buddy's life turned out and to get caught up with the other characters from the first book.
I think that you need to have read (or re-read) Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe fairly recently, or at least watch (or re-watch) the movie in order to refresh yourself on the characters and what happened in that story. It makes this book so much more meaningful and poignant. I suppose it can be read as a standalone, but you miss so much of the charm knowing the full back story.
I love Fannie Flagg's writing and will continue to read her novels as long as she continues to write them!
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Thanks to NetGalley & Random House for the e-book preread of "The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop". The book moves back & forth across the years, with Dot's Christmas letter being the center each year. A sweet story of what happened to the town & it's inhabitants over the years. The ending is perfectly "hallmark". Definitely a delight!
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As much as I enjoyed the book and movie of Fried Green Tomatoes 30 years ago, this sequel is unfortunately not a must-read. Wonder Boy returns us to the characters of Whistle Stop, Alabama, but skips around in time from the 1930s to the present day. It rushes us through the events of Buddy Jr.'s life in becoming a veterinarian, marrying Peggy, having a daughter named Ruthie, then Ruthie's children grow up and Buddy is in the nursing home, all in a few pages.

We also reconnect with Evelyn Couch, who befriended Ninny Threadgoode in the original story. Evelyn, along with pretty much everyone else in this book, has had tons of success in her life and is all too happy to help out the Threadgoodes. With a few funny stories and little of the dark humor, this insubstantial volume just seems like outtakes from the first book. 

It was not a bad way to pass a few hours, but if someone has never read the original, this won't make a whole lot of sense. Go back and read the original, or some of Fannie Flagg's other novels.
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BRAVO!! Fannie Flagg, another winner is about to launch!

I have been a fan of  Fannie since  when I first read Fried Green Tomatoes, and had to see the movie, and own the cookbook.  (which I still have)

Fannie can touch your heart when you try to go back to your childhood, which I often see mine in my minds eye.

Whistle Stop reminds me of relatives long gone, but the memories still ache in your heart.

I loved this story so much, with its tenderness and wisdom, I think I will be reading this book twice.

Keep up the good work Fannie, and thank you for letting me visit Whistle Stop again.

Order you copy today, and one for someone you love.

You will not be disappointed!

Will also post on Goodreads.
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