I’ve been reading a lot of spooky novels to get me in the mood for Halloween (I’ll tell you all about it, of course, in due time.) Because I’ve been so deep in the dark and broody I decided to lighten things up a bit by picking up The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg. The last Fannie Flagg novel I read, I Still Dream About You (review) was kind of disappointing. It was fine, but it didn’t have enough of that “I’m happy to be alive” vibe that I’ve come to expect from her novels. I’m a glutton for the warm fuzzies. Suffice it to say that I was MORE than fulfilled by The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion.
Mrs. Sookie Poole has finally married off the last of her three daughters and is recovering from wedding overload. Just as she and her husband prepare for some R&R, Sookie’s world is rocked by a registered letter informing her that all is not as she expected it was in her family’s past. All her life, Sookie has been failing to live up to the impossible expectations of her formidable/eccentric/overbearing mother, Lenore Krackenberry. Lenore’s fixation on Southern gentility and the family silver perplex and exhaust Sookie, but she good-naturedly puts up with her mother’s airs. When Sookie receives her surprising package, Lenore’s behaviors confuse her more than ever. Determined to learn more about her family, Sookie embarks on an unexpected journey.
Sookie’s quest to uncover her family’s secrets leads her on a cross country trek and into a time and place she’d never imagined. Namely, a large Polish family in 1940s Wisconsin. Told half in present day Alabama and half in WWII era Wisconsin, this book was an absolute treat. I’m sure a large part of my affection for this book comes from the Midwestern setting and the Polish family. Technically I grew up in Illinois and technically I’m not Polish, BUT the Chicago area (where I grew up) has a ginormous Polish population. (Fun fact: I once asked a couple of the immigrant girls I went to high school with to teach me how to swear in Polish. They demurred and taught me the names of fruit instead, assuming that even if I tried to use them in a violent fashion at worst I’d sound like a crazed woman obsessed with produce. At least I wouldn’t offend anyone who spoke the language. Probably.) With a colorful cast of characters in each time and place, the Fannie Flagg I’ve come to love was represented fabulously. Historical fiction, contemporary fiction, warm fuzzies, and polka abound. If you need a pick-me-up, you need to pick up The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion.
Talk to me, Bookworms! Do any of y’all know how to polka? I don’t actually know how to, myself, but sometimes I do anyway. Evidence:
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