Monday, November 4, 2013

#BookReview: The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg

It's a wonder Sookie Poole hasn't had a nervous breakdown.  With an overbearing mother like Lenore and planning four weddings for her children, consecutively, Sookie is just plum wore out.  She's finally looking forward to spending some time with her husband Earl on a second honeymoon.  Then an envelope is sent to her, changing everything.

Sookie has always felt like an underachiever.  As the daughter of Lenore, the president of every organization she belongs to, and creator of any organization she thinks there should be but isn't, Sookie is used to taking orders from her mother.  Even at the age of 59, with four adult children of her own, Sookie lives in fear of her mother's disapproval.  And while others in small town Point Clear, Alabama are amused by the 88 year old's antics, such as writing scathing letters to the editor of the local paper, Sookie is the person that has to clean up all of Lenore's messes.

The day she discovers that Lenore is not who she has pretended to be all these years, Sookie realizes that neither is she.  As she sets off on a journey to learn who she is, Fannie Flagg introduces us to a new set of characters, the Jurdabralinskis of Pulaski, Wisconsin, and this is why I love her.

The story of the Jurdabralinski women is like a mash up of A League of Their Own and Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe. The women in those stories are smart and daring and fearless and they're doing things that women of their time typically don't do.  Led by their oldest sister, Fritzi, the Jurdabralinskis step in and take over the family gas station when their father contracts TB and their brother enlists during World War II.  But even before that, Fritzi gets her pilot's license and, eventually, her sisters do the same. Without giving too much away, the sisters play active roles in the war.

I loved reading about Fritzi and her crew and it was great to watch Sookie gain confidence in herself as she became familiar with their story.  Every book I've read by Fannie Flagg feels like a conversation you might have with a friend while sitting on the porch.  With her over the top, small town characters, you'll always find her books comfortable and inspiring.  The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion is certainly no exception.

Published: November 2013
Disclaimer: Copy of book received from publisher, opinions are my own.

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