The cards were stacked against me liking this book. Under normal circumstances, I probably wouldn't have touched this one, but a friend of mine threw the book at me and told me to read it so she had someone she could seriously discuss it with.
I'm always wary about reading books set in the South - I always seem to stumble across the terrible representations, and things just get painful, especially if the author has never lived in the South, and is writing based on what they *think* Southern culture is like. My point being, unless the book is written by someone who's lived in the South, and can be vouched for by someone I trust, I won't touch it.
But, Fried Green Tomatoes met both of those criteria.
Then, there's the fact that it's a heavily character-driven story. There is no real plot, to speak of - the characters are the plot. The entire book is a tapestry woven of memories.
...and that doesn't always work. Books that rely that much on characters usually end up either having so many characters the reader gets bogged down trying to keep everyone straight, or there will be some characters who get more time and attention than others.
So I went into the book not expecting to like it very much.
I'm pleased to say that Fried Green Tomatoes rose above my pessimistic expectations.
The characters were all developed well enough that it didn't get annoying when the narrative would jump from one character in one time period to another character in a different year, or week. That's because, like I said, the story focused less on a plot, and more on the various stories of the people in Whistle Stop, with everything being tied together by the narrative that Mrs. Threadgood is sharing with Evelyn. So the random time jumps didn't really matter.
The plot (or what there was of one) contains two women in love, amazing barbeque, and a murder mystery. All of which may or may not be tied in to each other.
There is also a great deal of time devoted to balls - both metaphorical and literal.
That entire section made me giggle, while also bringing up very valid points regarding the no-win balancing act women have to keep up between submission and dominance. It was beautiful. And I do believe that's the first time I've ever used "beautiful" to describe any sort of balls.
I suppose I need to go watch the movie now...my husband spoiled the ending of the movie for me, because he forgot that it wasn't the same ending as the book, and, "It's just one of those movies you assume everyone has seen."
It didn't stop me from glaring at him for a good three minutes.