Fannie Flagg successfully brings together Southern humor and a World War II story of adventure and courage in her latest novel, The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion. I usually don't lead off the reviews with a personal comment, but, I loved this novel so much I'm going to recommend it for our suggested reading list for adults next summer.
Mrs. Sookie Poole of Point Clear, Alabama, just married off the last of her three daughters, and is planning to relax. She won't have to be mother-of-the-bride when her son marries, so her only worry is her eighty-eight-year-old mother, Lenore Simmons Krackenberg. Everyone in town knows Lenore, a loud, opinionated woman who runs every club, and has run her daughter's life for fifty-nine years. Just as Sookie decides her two biggest problems are her mother and the fight to keep the blue jays from eating all the bird seed, she's knocked for a loop by a registered letter. It's a letter that will change everything Sookie has thought about her life.
That letter takes Sookie back in time to World War II, and her research will send her from Pulaski, Wisconsin to Texas and on to California. As a young woman, Fritzi Jurdabralinski returned home to take over her family's gas station when the men all headed off to war. And, as rationing grew worse, she found a higher calling, another way to help the war effort. Fritzi's story captivates Sookie, and changes the way she views her own life. It's a story that will also captivate the reader.
Fannie Flagg finds a way to link a quiet Southern wife and mother with a flamboyant daughter of Polish immigrants. And, it's a way to link the present with an easily forgotten history. Anyone who appreciated the women of "A League of Their Own" should pick up The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion. All of Flagg's books have humorous touches, but they also are stories filled with strong women, and women who do not even recognize their own strength. If you like southern novels and World War II forgotten stories, try this book. And, then come back and tell me what you thought.
Fannie Flagg's website is www.fannieflaggbooks.com
The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg. Random House. 2013. ISBN 9781400065943 (hardcover), 368p.
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