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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Patty Pick for 1/30/14 - "The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg

I loved all of the Fannie Flagg's books that I have read over the years. 
This book is really good. I loved the way the chapters jumped around between Sookie and Fritzi. What an interesting and surprising book! I had never heard of the WASP corp (Women Airforce Service Pilots) but this book opened my eyes. As usual, there is a lot packed into a Fannie Flagg book. I look forward to exploring that interesting part of history.
Sookie is a 60-year-old mother who just married off one of her four children
and is looking to find something to fill her time. She loves feeding her birds, planning her children's weddings and her wonderful husband, Earl. She doesn't like keeping her strong-willed mother, Lenore, out of trouble. This is getting harder and harder every year with Lenore's memory problems and age. Lenore has always told Sookie how to live her life but Sookie  is ready to figure out what she wants to do until a envelope arrives in the mail for her mother. When Sookie opens it up and finds out that she is adopted, she is floored and kind of has a mini meltdown. What happens next, is hilarious and touching at the same time. 
We are also following the life and family of Fritzi. As her family struggles to keep their "filling" station open during the World War II, we watch them grow up and marry. This Polish family is close and hardworking. They find a way to keep the station going and contribute to the war effort as much as possible. When the Army decides to start the WASP corp to train pilots and ferry aircraft around the country from factory to base, Fritzi is in. Eventually her other sisters join her and they become part of a storied history that was disbanded eventually by the Army. The sisters and their fellow female pilots were pushed back to their former lives with no benefits from the Army for their efforts, but Fritzi lands on her feet as usual.
As Sookie and Fritzi head toward a meeting, we learn about them and their families and we like them both. They are total opposites but have the same steel in their backbones. 
We are shown that bravery and love come in all shapes and sizes. One of my favorite quotes from the book comes close to the end. Sookie realized her worth. As she thought, "And no, she wasn't a leader in society, or a rich and famous ballerina, but her husband and her children loved her. And, really, what more could a person ask for?" Don't miss the chance to laugh at loud and cry from the poignant words that Fannie Flagg put into this book!