The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop

by Fannie Flagg

When I told my mother that there was a follow-up to Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop, she could not believe it. After all, we first traveled to Whistle Stop, Alabama, more than thirty years ago, and we have traveled back so many times that we still quote our favorite lines quite often and in any given situation. However, after reading The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop, I had great difficulty putting my thoughts to paper. I expressed this to my mother and told her how the book felt to me. She told me to write exactly that.  So here it is…

The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop is like going home, catching up with old friends, and making some new ones along the way. The story centers around Bud Threadgoode, aka Buddy Threadgoode, Jr. He is grown with a grown child of his own now, but his story takes us back to the beginning. It in no way is a repeat of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café. It is some background information we did not have when we first traveled to Whistle Stop and fell in love with the people there. We discover so much more about Idgie, Ruth, Buddy, Jr., and all our friends, including Sheriff Grady, while they all lived in Whistle Stop.

With The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop, we find out what happened after the café closed and the town died. What really grabbed me about Bud Threadgoode, is that deep down he is still the little boy from Whistle Stop. He is still humble although he has seen so much and accomplished so much more than he ever imagined. He remembers all the lessons his mom and Aunt Idgie taught him, especially after Ruth died. Aunt Idgie was strong for him and taught him to be strong and always care for others, never feeling sorry for himself.

When Bud sneaks away from his retirement home in Atlanta to visit Whistle Stop one last time, things do not work out as he planned. Instead of being back before anyone noticed he was gone, a search over two states begins. That is how we find out what happened to Evelyn after Ninny died. As fans will recall, Ninny moved in with Evelyn and Ed at the end of Fried Green Tomatoes. When Evelyn sees Silver Alert for Bud Threadgoode, a chain of events follows that changes not only their lives but also the lives and entire town of Whistle Stop.

The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop is a wonderful follow-up novel that truly feels like going home and catching up with old friends. The bonus is that we get to make some new ones. What I saw at the end of the book is that there is still so much more to be told of the lives of the residents of Whistle Stop, Alabama. I truly hope this will not be the last trip Fannie Flagg takes to Whistle Stop.