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Teresa Weaver of Atlanta Magazine caught up with bestselling authors Fannie Flagg and Pat Conroy to talk about their newest novels.
Teresa Weaver: These two books are very different in so many ways, but at the heart of both, it really is all about family. Fannie, you managed to tell the whole history of the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs) through one extraordinary family. What kind of research did you do for this book?
Fannie Flagg: I read almost every book that was written about them and talked to a lot of them.
TW: What drew you to this subject?
FF: There's a restaurant in Birmingham called the Whistle Stop Café, the café that I wrote Fried Green Tomatoes about. I happened to call the café one day, because I'm friends with the owner, and she said, “Oh! We’ve got a group of gals here having lunch that used to fly military planes. They were WASPs.” I said, “That’s fabulous. Let me buy them lunch.” They started writing me letters and sending me books about them. I always wanted to write about them, but I couldn't figure out how. I had to create another story going on — one, a southern family, which of course I always write about, and one, the story of the WASPs.
TW: Pat, after all the autobiographical breadcrumbs that you dropped in your fiction over the years, now you finally tell the full, unvarnished story of your family. How difficult was that?
Pat Conroy: With my book, I'm dealing with my father, the most Yankeefied man that ever lived, and my mother, the most falsely classical southerner. Everything about my mother that she said was from the old South, the aristocratic South, was completely and utterly false, as I found out when I wrote this book.
But these two people got married in World War II and that's how lives get changed. The pilot from Chicago met the beauty on Peachtree Road and they got married and produced one of the most horrible families that ever lived in America.
FF: Every time I finish one of Pat's books, I want to take all of my books, burn them, change my name and move to another country. He stuns me with his clarity, his honesty about writing about what is so close to him. I was so close to a bad childhood that I blotted it out.
But Pat is absolutely brilliant. I don't know how he does it, remembering details like scenes in a movie. And this new book, I just sobbed. It was stunning.
TW: It's difficult to read at some points because it is so honest and so hard to imagine living through.
PC: Dad drank and then he beat you and he beat mom and he beat everybody else. What dad was good at was making all of us alcoholics later. The memory of that was seared in my memory, and I could not get rid of it.
Now, to answer Fannie, when I read her books, I think, why wasn't I a woman born in Alabama? Hilarious stories happened to me, but my stories don't seem hilarious to me; they seem simply out of King Lear. I just read Fannie's book and I'm roaring laughing. Then she always hits me with a part that breaks my heart.
TW: Fannie, there's such a sweet natured appeal to the characters in your novels. Have you written many really mean or despicable characters?
FF: Oh, yes. In Fried Green Tomatoes there was Frank Bennett. In this one, too, there's a bad guy. But usually I don't. I don't know why.
But I want to talk about these dysfunctional childhoods. I think people are always asking why southern writers do this so well. I'm working on a theory. I think the thing that injures people the most is humiliation. Most people don't know, or choose not to remember, that the south was the only part of the United States that was ever defeated in war. And so we were humiliated. That is a wound that doesn't heal. All the Southerners had was their so-called family name. That's all they had left. Being humiliated injures people, and it makes you want to explain yourself and keep saying but, but, but, but, but.
TW: What do you think of that, Pat?
PC: I agree. There's something about the storytelling mystique that comes out of the South. My mother and grandmother raised me to hate William Tecumseh Sherman. I didn't even know who he was. But he burned Atlanta. I read about Sherman while I was at [the Citadel] and I thought, good soldier. I told my mother this and she said she would never speak to me again if I ever mentioned a word.
Fannie can write that bad South. This gal Lenore in her new book, you know, southern womanhood has rarely been so roasted or put over the grill so well. That woman drove me nuts.
TW: I think we've all known a Lenore. Fannie, do any people from your real life ever make their way into your novels?
FF: Yes. Lenore, the southern matriarch, was based very closely on my grandmother and my mother's relationship. Sookie is a combination of gals I went to school with. I think I write about the South because the characters down there are so bigger than life, that it's easy for me. People go “Oh, there can't be people like that.” But Pat and I know there really are.
TW: Fannie, you divide your time between California and Alabama, but do you still think of yourself as a southern writer?
FF: Yes, I do. Even when I am writing about another area, I am still writing with a southern point of view. I always write about southerners. I think it's like being in a different country.
TW: Pat, you talk in your book about how you wanted this to be a kind of summing up of all the family drama. Do you feel better now that you've written this book?
PC: No. I thought I would, and I thought I would make my family feel better. But I'm racing now from relatives, my southern branch who come from Piedmont, Alabama. I'm worried about the cousinry coming at me. The Irish Catholics, dad's family in Chicago: I sort of don't know how they're going to take it. If the past is any prologue, they will take it badly, and they will hate me for the rest of their lives, and no one will be named Patrick in the next hundred years in my family.
But it's funny about a bad childhood, you can mess around with it, throw it up in the air. It's got an amazing second life that is always springing to life inside you. I don't think you can ever escape it. It's always going to be there in some way, shape or form. I can write a thousand books and it's still going to be the thing that fashioned me more than anything else.
Right now I am sitting at 58% of 2016's purchases being read but I want to be up closer to the top end of the goal by the end of the year. As for going back to June 2015, the story is a little bleaker at this point dropping my score to 40%. (I kinda went nuts with some really good sale books at my library and on bookoutlet last year apparently. ) This count includes the couple of books I didn't finish. I'm just at a point in reading where if I'm not into it by a certain point I'm moving on. . Back at the beginning of January I decided this year I wanted to really read through the piles of books that I already own. In perusing different challenges on pinterest I finally decided on the Read the Books You Buy Challenge. Perfect because it was to set a percentage goal on not only actually reading the books you purchase in 2016 but it allowed you to go back to June 2015. . I decided I would just post a little update each month or so adding any new books I buy and... I'm trying hard not to drop by the adult section of the library too often as that always tends to throw out the window all my good intentions of trying to make the piles of books in my closet a little smaller. I cannot resist bringing home more from the library and then my books take a back seat as there is a deadline on the library books. Books purchased June 2015 - December 2015. I think it was you who got me started on Charles Martin (listening to Water From My Heart now). I realize I haven't bought any books in years. My aunt used to funnel them to me (she has great library sales in her town) and I'd borrow ebooks from the library. Plus, with my commute, I've a pile of audiobooks to listen to (library and Audible). Source: Living to Tell the Story
The locally renowned restaurant started to achieve wider fame in 1987 with the publication of the novel, "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café," by Birmingham-born writer Fannie Flagg. The novel was made into the popular movie "Fried Green
In addition to the giveaways, there will be an onsite bookstore and a full day of programming with numerous bestselling authors, including Trevor Noah, George Saunders, Alice Hoffman, John Meecham, Fannie Flagg, Allison Pataki, Laura McHugh, Sana
The next book discussion will be on December 7th at 12:30. Our next book is A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg. https://t.co/MoU0Pk1J4M 11/03/16, @CarnegiePublic
I wonder how many people don't get the one they want, but end up with the one they're supposed to be with. Fannie Flagg #quote 11/03/16, @Kaitlyngirl1963
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bread crumbs, butter, cheddar cheese, cream, flour, black pepper, elbow macaroni, milk, salt
milk, oats, sugar, salt, water, flour, flour
The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion: A Novel by Fannie Flagg | Conversation Starters A Brief Look Inside: As she approaches her 60th birthday, Sookie seems to have this life thing figured out. She is married with four grown children, and her biggest concern is trying to get her overbearing mother to move into a nursing home. Then one day, Sookie learns a family secret that causes her to rethink her entire existence. Readers go on a journey across the country and back in time with Sookie in her quest to find her true identity. Fannie Flagg manages to mix fiction and history in this soul-searching, heartwarming, and funny New York Times bestseller... Create Hours of Conversation To: • Foster a deeper understanding of the book • Promote an atmosphere of discussion for groups • Assist in the study of the book, either individually or corporately • Explore unseen realms of the book as never seen before Disclaimer: This book you are about to enjoy is an independent resource to supplement the original book, enhancing your experience of The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion. If you have not yet purchased a copy of the original book, please do before purchasing this unofficial Conversation Starters.
"The Whole Town is Talking" by Fannie Flagg is a fun-loving, moving novel about what it means to be truly alive. With her wild imagination, great storytelling, and deep understanding of folly and the human heart, the beloved Fannie Flagg tells an ...
Museum volunteers Gail Jones and Virdie Golliher put the exhibit together — titled “A Salute to What Women Bring to the Fight” — after reading “The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion” by Fannie Flagg for their book club. “On Veterans ...
Everyone’s depression is different, so everyone’s treatment needs to be different as well. Find what works for you. As Fannie Flagg urged us all, “Don’t give up before the miracle happens”.
Fannie Flagg (born Patricia Neal; September 21, 1944) is an American actress, comedian and author. She is best known as a semi-regular panelist on the 1973–82 ...
Fannie Flagg is the New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man; Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe; Welcome to the World...
Fannie Flagg; Fannie Flagg en 1972: Información personal; Nombre de nacimiento: Patricia Neal : Nacimiento: 21 de septiembre de 1944 Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
Fannie Flagg, Self: Match Game 73. Fannie Flagg was born on September 21, 1944 in Birmingham, Alabama, USA as Patricia Neal. She is an actress and writer, known for ...