I do not think that there can ever be enough books about anything and I say that knowing that some of them are going to be about Pilates.The more knowledge the better seems like a solid rule of thumb, even though I have watched enough science fiction films to accept that humanity’s unchecked pursuit of learning will end with robots taking over the world.-Sarah Vowell

Friday, June 3, 2016

The All Girls Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg

This wonderful novel, by the author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, is about a 59 year old Alabama woman who suddenly finds out that she is adopted and that her birth mother is named Fritzi Jurdabralinski and her father is unknown.  She has grown up under the rule of a tyrant of a mother named Lenore, who heavily values the Simmons name and the heritage that goes with it.  She forced her daughter Sookie Poole to do all sorts of things her entire life that she was never good at.  The only time she stood up to her mother was when she married her husband, who is a dentist, that her mother didn't approve of.  Suddenly Sookie goes from being a English Southern Methodist to being a Polish Catholic who is a year older than she thinks she is. 

She avoids her mother for a while, but when she finally sees her mother and wants to kill her she decides to get help and calls the local psychiatrist.  But she can't have her mother or anyone know because they'll tell her and then she'll have to explain why she's seeing a psychiatrist, so she meets him at a Waffle House, where no one knows her mother. 

This novel goes back and forth between Sookie and the life of her mother and her three sisters, who with their brother help run the family owned gas station in Wisconsin in the 1930s.  Fritzi meets Billy Bevins, a barnstormer, who teaches her to fly and wingwalk.  Soon, she is staring across the country in a flying show and making lots of money.  When her father becomes sick with TB and has to go to a sanitarium to get well and her brother goes into the military along with the other men working there, the girls get together and decide to run the station themselves, with fabulous success.  Unfortunately gas rationing causes the station to close.  So, Fritzi joins the newly formed WASPS, a group of women who are hoping to become part of the military.  They fly planes from plants to wherever they need to go.  Fritzi, a better pilot than most men, is soon joined by her sister Gertrude and Sophie. 

This great book details the exciting life of Fritzi and Sookie, who considers her life to be boring and useless and a waste in comparison.  Sookie must also learn how to deal with her adopted mother, Lenore and come to terms with her childhood and who she really is.  This book is a fabulous journey of two women who live different, but important lives of their own.

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/All-Girl-Filling-Stations-Last-Reunion/dp/0812977173/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1464977270&sr=1-1&keywords=the+all+girls+filling+stations+last+reunion+by+fannie+flagg

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