Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

Book - 2002
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Random House, Inc.
1. This novel has a very complex structure alternating between the past and the present and the point of view of a whole host of different characters. Did this narrative format work for you? Were there particular narrators you found more compelling than others and why? 2.  Idgie and Ruth's friendship is truly a case of opposites attract. Why is the scene where Idgie reveals her bee charming skills to Ruth so pivotal to the story of their relationship and in understanding what drew them together despite their differences? 3. Jasper Peavey's grandson is embarrassed by his grandfather's behavior toward white people. Discuss generational conflict and how life changed or did not change across the generations in both the Peavey and Threadgoode families. 4. This novel has a great deal to say about race relations in the South. How did the black and white communities interact in this story both within and beyond the borders of Whistle Stop? Were Idgie and Ruth's egalitarian views on race typical? 5.  What is Artis Peavey's secret? Do you think the events he witnessed as a child had an impact upon his later life? How does race have an impact upon the lives of all the Peavey children--Jasper, Artis, Willie Boy, Naughty Bird? What options were available to them and what choices did they make and why? What do you think of the revenge that Artis takes on the man who murdered his brother? 6. Do you think the color of Jasper and Artis' skin--Jasper being very light-skinned and Artis being very dark-skinned--made a difference in their approach to life? What does the light-skinned Clarissa's encounter with her dark-skinned Uncle Artis say about life as a black Southerner? 7. How do you feel about a character like Grady Kilgore, Whistle Stop sheriff, member of the Ku Klux Klan, and friend to Idgie and Ruth at the same time? 8.  Eva Bates is a woman you might call sexually liberated before her time. What role does she play in Idgie's life? In Stump's? What are Ruth's feelings toward Eva? 9. We never learn where Ninny came from or how she came to be adopted by the Threadgoodes, only that they took her in and treated her like a member of the family. This is only one example in a novel full of non-traditional families. What are some other examples of familial bonds that do not look like a traditional nuclear family? How does this author challenge and expand our understanding of the meaning and structure of family? 10.  What drives Idgie to masquerade as Railroad Bill? What role did the economic devastation of the Great Depression play in the lives of Idgie, Ruth, Smokey, and everyone in Whistle Stop? 11.  Why did Ruth leave Idgie and marry Frank? What made her finally leave him? 12.  Did the identity of Frank Bennett's killer surprise you? What drove her to do what she did? Why was Idgie prepared to take the blame? 13. What do Dot Weems' weekly dispatches tell us about the nature of life in a small town? Were you sorry to see Whistle Stop fade away? Why has this been the fate of so many small towns in America? 14. How does Idgie help Stump overcome having lost his arm? 15.  How did Evelyn's relationship with Ninny Threadgoode change her life? What did she learn from Mrs. Threadgoode? And how did Evelyn help her friend? 16. What did Ninny Threadgoode's stories offer Evelyn? Why do you think Evelyn is so drawn to this woman and her stories? 17. Ninny tells Evelyn that her memories are all she has left. Discuss the importance of memory and storytelling in this novel. 18. Why and how was Evelyn able to finally overcome her revenge fantasies, send Towanda packing and make important changes in her life? What steps did she take that ensured these changes would be for good and not a temporary thing? 19. How does this story explore the process of aging? How do we die with dignity when all those we loved and who loved us are gone? How does Ninny manage? 20. Does the Whistle Stop Cafe sound like a restaurant you would like to frequent? 21. Is domestic violence viewed differently today than it was in Ruth's time? Do you see any changes in Ruth's character after she leaves her abusive marriage? 22. Which character would you be most interested in meeting and why? 23. For those of you who have seen the movie, how do the movie and the book compare? What is missing from the movie and why do you think this is so? Do you think the choices made in terms of how to streamline this complex novel for film were the best ones? 24. The importance of food in the fabric of everyday life is a central theme in this book. For example, Evelyn and Mrs. Threadgoode bond over the treats Evelyn brings. What does Evelyn's battle with her weight say about contemporary society and women's relationships with food and their weight? Are these struggles evident in the lives if Ninny, Idgie, or Ruth? 25. In the final chapter, we learn what has happened to Idgie. Why do you think she and Julian left Whistle Stop to take to the road? Why don't their friends or family appear to know where they are? Does this seem like an appropriate ending for Idgie? 26. ?Will anyone or has anyone tried any of Sipsey's recipes?
She’s one of America’s fairest and funniest ladies. Actress and screenwriter, director and comedienne, Fannie Flagg is also a most accomplished and high-spirited author. Said Kirkus of her first book, Coming Attractions : “It’s subtitled ‘A wonderful novel’ and that’s exactly what it is.” Here is her second. Get ready, because it’s going to make you laugh (a lot), cry (a little), and care (forever). What is it? It’s first the story of two women in the 1980s, of gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode telling her life story to Evelyn, who is in the sad slump of middle age. The tale she tells is also of two women—of the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth—who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, a Southern kind of Cafe Wobegon offering good barbecue and good coffee and all kinds of love and laughter, even an occasional murder. And as the past unfolds, the present—for Evelyn and for us—will never quite be the same. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is folksy and fresh, endearing and affecting, with humor and drama—and with an ending that would fill with smiling tears the Whistle Stop Lake...if they only had a lake....

Publisher: New York : Random House, [2002]
Edition: Random House, Inc., 2002 ed
ISBN: 9780375508417
Branch Call Number: F FLA
Characteristics: 403 p. ; 25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jun 05, 2018

Being a southern girl, it reminded me of home (Texas). I would listen to my grandmother tell her stories about her youthful days, neighbors & family. I remember a picture she showed me where the "cousin" had a long neck; therefore, she was called "giraffe". I would eat those recipes found in the back of the book. I definitely recommend the BACON fat to fry in...sooo good. Watching the movie next.

I have so much love for this book, be it the tall tales, barbecue, or the proud and powerful women who got things done. There are difficult turns in this story too, since it never shies away from the language and racial violence of the times, but somehow Fannie Flagg keeps it from being overly heavy as she highlights the complicated relationships that were no doubt present during the Depression. I really enjoyed Fannie Flagg's storytelling!

SaraLovesBooks Jan 23, 2017

I really love this book. The story is told in a non-traditional way, with one story in a linear style, and the other one going back and forth through time, as storytellers are wont to do. It is an incredibly touching story that shows the multitude of relationships between women and family. The book is touching, humorous, and irreverent within the backdrop of dark realities such as the KKK and racism in the south.

Nov 17, 2016

A wonderful read that takes us back to the South in the positive ways of hospitality and negative ways of Klan visits.

LPL_ShirleyB Feb 19, 2016

Fannie Flagg has written many wonderful and funny books, but this one is her most loved! The characters connect with powerful bonds of love and friendship, confronting challenges like ageism, racism, poverty and low self-esteem. The story moves quickly and shifts perspectives back and forth from contemporary time to the Depression era. The most loveable heroine is a tomboy in the 1930s, but if she were here now she would be a proud lesbian. Also check out the excellent dramatic & funny movie version!

robhoma Aug 23, 2014

Read the book. Watch the movie. Both are great but different in their own ways. Both stories stand true to the theme of the novel in honoring nontraditional Southern families before television had homogenized society.

Jul 27, 2014

Another Bravo for Fannie Flagg. Two women meet in a nursing home. One is visiting. One is a resident. Evelyn befriends Mrs. Threadgood, together they review their lives. Mrs. Threadgood finds her way home, and Evelyn finds her way forward using lessons learned from Mrs. Threadgood. The people in both their lives are well drawn and can teach us many life lessons about kindness to ourselves and others.

lbarkema Jun 19, 2014

Even though I had watched the movie before, I still really enjoyed this novel. It was sweet, quirky, funny and just a good dose of southern comfort. My only (minor) beef I had was the switching around and sequence of narratives-but it strangely didn't deter too much. I really want to try some of the recipes for southern cooking!

Aug 07, 2013

Fannie Flagg is definitely a storyteller. In the style of Garrison Keilor and other "old-time" storytellers, she weaves a story about a town, and the people within it, with graceless ease. Each character has a distinctive voice, and the book is filled with well-blended humor and poignancy. It captures an era (ok, several eras), and is compelling in the diversity of personalities (that somehow stay contemporary in design). I really enjoyed this (much better than the movie!), and I recommend it for anyone looking for a touching and mostly-cheerful light read.

Feb 05, 2010

I realyy enjoy fannie flaggs books. I can just picture her sitting there and telling the story.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

May 30, 2008

Ringwood thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at DPL

To Top