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The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion: A Novel

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion: A Novel.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Fannie Flagg(Author)

    Book details


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

The one and only Fannie Flagg, beloved author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven, and I Still Dream About You, is at her hilarious and superb best in this new comic mystery novel about two women who are forced to reimagine who they are.
 
Mrs. Sookie Poole of Point Clear, Alabama, has just married off the last of her daughters and is looking forward to relaxing and perhaps traveling with her husband, Earle. The only thing left to contend with is her mother, the formidable Lenore Simmons Krackenberry. Lenore may be a lot of fun for other people, but is, for the most part, an overbearing presence for her daughter. Then one day, quite by accident, Sookie discovers a secret about her mother’s past that knocks her for a loop and suddenly calls into question everything she ever thought she knew about herself, her family, and her future.
 
Sookie begins a search for answers that takes her to California, the Midwest, and back in time, to the 1940s, when an irrepressible woman named Fritzi takes on the job of running her family’s filling station. Soon truck drivers are changing their routes to fill up at the All-Girl Filling Station. Then, Fritzi sees an opportunity for an even more groundbreaking adventure. As Sookie learns about the adventures of the girls at the All-Girl Filling Station, she finds herself with new inspiration for her own life.
 
Fabulous, fun-filled, spanning decades and generations, and centered on a little-known aspect of America’s twentieth-century story, The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion is another irresistible novel by the remarkable Fannie Flagg.
 
Praise for The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion
 
“A beautifully told tale, world-class humor, and characters who live forever in a grateful reader’s world. Fannie Flagg keeps getting better and better. The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion proves it.”—Pat Conroy

“If all the self-help books that promote ways to ‘find yourself’ were stacked in an enormous pile . . . none would approach the sweet wisdom with which Flagg infuses The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion.”Richmond Times-Dispatch
 
“It’s Flagg’s pleasure to hit her characters with several happy endings, but the real happiness is that she’s given us another lovable—and quirky—novel.”—The Washington Post

“Flagg is at her South-skewering best. . . . A chuckle-while-reading book.”The Mobile Press-Register

“The kind of story that keeps readers turning pages in a fever . . . There are plot twists, adventure, heartbreak, and familial love in spades.”Publishers Weekly
 
“Fannie flies high, and her fans will enjoy the ride. . . . A charming story written with wit and empathy . . . just the right blend of history and fiction.”Kirkus Reviews

“Fannie Flagg is a fantastic storyteller. She surprises the reader in every chapter with unexpected twists and turns. The only problem I had with this fascinating story is that it ended too soon. I can’t wait for her next book.”—Carol Burnett
 
The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion is an absolute joy to read, full of Fannie Flagg's trademark humor, warmth, tenderness, and heart. If you’re looking for a novel to lift your spirits and make you smile, this is definitely the book for you.”—Kristin Hannah

Aging daughter of the South Sookie Simmons Poole has trudged along cheerfully through life under the shadow of her overbearing mother, Lenore. Faced with empty-nest syndrome, Sookie knows she won’t be too bored, since Lenore lives right next door and still has her mail delivered to Sookie’s house. When a mysterious letter arrives, Sookie questions everything she ever knew about her family, and her story soon dovetails with that of a proud Polish family from Wisconsin. The Jurdabralinskis’ gas station was nearly shuttered when all the area men joined up during WWII, but the family’s four girls bravely stepped up. Eldest daughter Fritzi was already a great mechanic, having been a professional stunt plane pilot in the 1930s. When Fritzi joins the WASPS, an elite but downplayed female branch of the U.S. Air Force, the story really comes to life. Flagg’s storytelling talent is on full display. Her trademark quirky characters are warm and realistic, and the narrative switches easily between the present and the past. HIGH DEMAND BACKSTORY: Flagg’s fans won’t be disappointed in this one, and there’s a lot to be said for giving tribute to the real-life WASPs (the official records of the force were classified and sealed for nearly 35 years). Great possibilities for nonfiction pairings abound for book clubs. --Rebecca Vnuk

2.2 (5286)
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Book details

  • PDF | 347 pages
  • Fannie Flagg(Author)
  • Random House; First Edition edition (November 5, 2013)
  • English
  • 2
  • Literature & Fiction

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Review Text

  • By Alan Dorfman on November 7, 2013

    Imagine reaching the age of 59 and finding out that everything you know about yourself is not true, not even your age. In Fannie Flagg's new novel "The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion" that is exactly what happens to Mrs. Earl Beale Jr. otherwise known as Sookie. [*****S P O I L E R A L E R T*****] Through an act of hospital bureaucracy Sookie receives her actual birth certificate - discovering that she was adopted as an infant. Instead of a high class southern belle she discovers that she is the offspring of a Polish woman from Pulaski, Wisconsin. You can imagine the dislocation in Sookie's life and she tries to adapt to her change of history (without letting her adoptive mother know that she knows that she is not a Simmons but a Jurdabalinski) and tracks down the family from which she was originally brought into the world.Ms. Flagg uses this premise to introduce us to the story of the sadly forgotten Women's Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs) during World War II, inasmuch as several of Sookie's female relatives served as WASPs in that conflict - their story being spun simultaneously as Sookie's search for her roots. I salute Ms. Flagg for bringing this overlooked episode in American pre-feminist history.As always with Ms. Flagg's fiction there are eccentrics and other Southern archetypes drawn with such love of place that the lampooning is genuinely funny without being mean-spirited. There are also women who find their own empowerment and the strength to deal with what life hands them, for example the Jurdabalinski sisters coming together to become the proprietors of the All-Girl Filling Station, the family gas station, when their brother goes off to war and the father's health prevents him from running his business. In doing so the sisters prove they can operate a filling station as well as any man could but also brought things to the table that a man couldn't, becoming regional celebrities in the process.An enjoyable and informative read, my sole complaint with "The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion" (which is a great title if not exactly accurate) is using an epistolary format to move along the story and tie together the characters and the history but having the letters between sisters, brothers and lovers sound more like exposition or government war propaganda than real correspondence.Fannie Flagg has proven she is one of the best writers of Southern fiction of the last several decades and does nothing to harm that reputation here. I enjoyed it and think you will as well.

  • By EJ on November 9, 2013

    This book is really two stories in one, and one of those far exceeds the other. The main plot follows a late-fiftyish woman named Sookie who faces a shocking revelation. The second tale is that of a woman named Fritzi, who lived in the WWII era. The problem with this book is that the secondary plotline was well worth reading, while the primary plot, surrounding Sookie, was far less compelling and bordered on ridiculousness.Sookie is basically a caricature of a southern woman. She is rather silly and comes off as a bit of a dim bulb. I found it very difficult to root for her as she struggles with revelations that she believes will completely change who she is. On the other hand, Fritzi is the bomb. She is a funny, strong, and well-drawn character who makes you actually feel something. The backdrop of Fritzi's story may have contributed to this as well, as it's much more captivating than Sookie's bumbling around in her small town with its cast of not-really-eccentric characters.I don't think I am spoiling this book by saying that adoption plays a role in it, but this theme hit another flat note. The terminology used is outdated and, dare I say, somewhat offensive. One example is repeated use of the term "real mother" to refer to a birth mother. This tantalizing opportunity to discuss what a "real mother" actually is was squandered on superficial concerns about family crests and sororities.Altogether, the sub-par Sookie was balanced by the fabulous Fritzi, leading to an average three-star book.

  • By Isabelle Jolly on October 30, 2013

    I'd give this book 6 stars, if I could!It's really two stories about two families who merge! Sookie Poole's mother, Lenore, is senile, but refuses to go to an assisted living complex. She still wants to run the family and make sure that everyone knows how important they are. Sookie gets her mother's mail, bills, etc. Much to her shock, she gets a registered letter from the daughter of Lenore's deceased caretaker which includes a birth certificate, Sookie was adopted! She's completely upset and feels she is not real. Her real mother was a Polish Catholic! Sookie is American and Methodist!Her real mother was one of five children of an immigrant who came to America in 1909. He married a Polish girl who lived in Pulaski, Wisconsin, settled there, studied and became a citizen. His was the filling station and his son and the 4 daughters first played there and then started working as they became old enough. Fritzi, the oldest sister,(Sookie's mother according to the birth certificate), learned to fly and became a wing walker. She took off with the pilot, Billy Bevins, on barnstorming tours. They became lovers.The Jurdabralinski daughters all became WASPs during the war. Fritzi first, then the others, although Fritzi told them it was horrible, as very few of the men thought women should be flying! (If you're too young to have lived through WW2, this is a fine introduction to the WASPs. (I wanted to join, but I didn't fly, and I was only 16!) They were not treated well after they were no longer needed to ferry planes from factories to bases - not even given fare home, no medical care for those injured, nothing about those killed!)Sookie finds that both her husband and son knew she was adopted, which delivered another shock. Her husband had been told by her father not to worry about her health as she aged. She finally determined that she would try to track down her real mother. She did find her, and called, not knowing how she'd be accepted. Fritzi was delighted. Sookie went to visit her in Solvang, CA, where she and Billy had settled after the war. Fritzi said she looked just like she expected. Then she told her that she'd told her younger sister to put Fritzi's name on the birth certificate, as her parents wouldn't be surprised about Fritzi having a baby, but would be terribly upset that Sophie had. She'd always been shy.Sookie and the sisters meet and they are so excited that she looks like Sophie and welcome her. Sookie is happy to realize that she's accepted just as she is, and looks at old photos and sees that her children look like these people.This story had a lot of humor, a lot of sadness, a lot of history, and a lot of introspection about living your life.I recommend it very highly. The book I read was trade paperback size with 349 pages.


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