The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop by Fannie Flagg

A delightful return to Whistle Stop, Alabama and all the surviving denizens you loved before, and a new adventure to liven things up.
The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop by Fannie Flagg
Random House
Hardcover | $28.00

This is a feelgood book. It made me feel great. Using the wonderful cast of characters from Fried Green Tomatoes, this is a look at what happened to all those folks afterwards. Those of us who loved that book know that Ruth, of course, passed away. But what about Idgie, Buddy, Sipsie, Big George and all the rest? Well, here’s where they went and what happened to them.


Using Christmas letters, weekly local newspaper columns and plain narrative, the author takes us through the decades in installments to follow the lives of this community. It is charming and entertaining and fills in blanks left unfilled but which needed to be. The character of each person is respected faithfully, so no worries that disappointment lurks anywhere.


Tragedy has not entirely disappeared from their lives, however, but as always, life goes on and sometimes even gets better in spite of heartbreak. New adventures emerge to challenge and reward the people of Whistle Stop, Alabama. The town has virtually disappeared into the landscape due to desertion and neglect. Since the railroad’s business declined to nearly nothing the population has slowly fled the town; the café and beauty shop closed, the junk cars and abandoned appliances have come to dominate the space. But an opportunity arises to resurrect what was once a bustling and happy place. Ruth’s granddaughter and Evelyn (she of the Towanda cry) launch a project to revive the old place, much to everyone’s delight.


It’s always worrying to return to a literary landscape wondering if you’ll be disappointed. Don’t worry about that. It ain’t gonna happen here. Just sit back and enjoy a return to a beloved place and people.