FICTION

The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop

Random. Oct. 2020. 304p. ISBN 9780593133842. $28. F
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Fried Green Tomatoes author Flagg’s latest is a current “check in” and a retrospective look at the beloved little railroad town of Whistle Stop, AL, and its quirky occupants. Down the line of descendants, we follow the life of Bud Threadgoode’s daughter Ruthie (named for Bud’s mother), up to the present. The story also pops back in time, revisiting some highlights of life back in Whistle Stop and unearthing a few more secrets. Dot Weems, the town’s postmistress, keeps readers informed with her annual Christmas card updates. Ruthie, now an adult, settles her dad happily into a retirement home near Atlanta so she can visit often. When Bud escapes and takes a train to visit his beloved Whistle Stop one last time, he is devastated to see it abandoned and unrecognizable. An unexpected turn of events involving Bud losing his prosthetic arm connects Ruthie with an older Evelyn Couch, and the two become friends. When the new pals eventually hatch a plan to use Evelyn’s overflowing wealth (thanks to Ninny Threadgoode again!) to restore Whistle Stop, the fun really starts.
VERDICT Who can resist a visit to Whistle Stop and all her inhabitants, past and present? No one!

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