Fried Green Tomatoes was one of my favorite movies growing up, although at this point, I probably haven’t seen it in 10 years. So I thought I would revisit the charming story in its original novel format, and it didn’t disappoint. The format was different than I expected, with chapters occurring during different time periods, whether in Depression era Whistle Stop, Alabama, or at a nursing home in Birmingham in 1986. Some chapters are simply gossip columns and others are from the perspective of various secondary characters. The book included more commentary on racial issues in the south than I expected, but it effectively portrayed the attitude of the time.
The heart of the story of course is Idgie and Ruth, their café and the community. Though there has been much commentary about Idgie and Ruth being lesbians, I never felt there was anything overtly gay about there relationship. There were no scenes with them making out or anything that specifically defined them as lovers. I absolutely loved the interactions between Evelyn Couch and Ninny Threadgood. Though the ending was dramatically different than the movie, it still worked. I recognized many lines from the movie that were taken verbatim from the book. Because I have such high esteem for a movie that helped define my youth, there were some aspects of the book that didn’t resonate with me. However, that also enabled me to mentally visualize so many of the scenes and the characters. Regardless, it was the friendships portrayed on these pages were so authentic and inspiring. Now I’m going to have to dust off the old VCR and see if my video copy still works!