Fannie Flagg has done it again. She has written another book that tells a lot about life. Her story of The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion is realistic fiction that brings attention to the WASPs from World War II, and the women involved. It also tells the story of Sookie, a woman from Alabama. Sookie is the wife of a dentist, mother of four grown children, and responsible for her overbearing, narcissistic mother, Lenore, who lives two doors down.
The story bounces back and forth between the present and the past, along with between Alabama and Wisconsin; not the easiest to follow at first. But, once a little further into the book, it all begins to make sense. Sookie is hit with a situation that causes her to not know who she is, which is the reason for the back and forth story lines. It all comes together in some interesting ways.
According to D. L. Russell (2009), "Realistic fiction is quite simply a story that attempts to describe the world as we know it or as it once was, depicting human beings and their joys, sorrows, successes, and failures," (p. 235, Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.) This story tells about the Polish people in Pulaski, Wisconsin, their culture, and heritage. The history of the WASP program of World War II is detailed, providing historical information in tribute to the women who flew airplanes during the war. The story also shows how Sookie deals with life, while helping to understand the dysfunction and confusion that she faces. Religion is brought up, in a minor way, but plays a part in the story. Mostly, the idea of understanding people and their quirky ways is what the story is all about. People take various ways to handle certain situations. What works for one person may not work for another. Dysfunctional families cause issues for those involved. Frustration is common. Fannie Flagg describes all of this in a realistic way. Flagg's characters are easy to relate to, and they help make the story that much more interesting.
The story also tells about how to seek one's own identity and the meaning of home and family. This also takes on a multitude of methods to accomplish. Identity can be problematic, at best. Sookie deals with this, as she is identified by her husband in one way, by her children in another, and by her mother as someone completely different. This leaves Sookie feeling terribly confused. Home and family may not mean the same thing from one person to the next. Random-House describes the book in this link: http://www.randomhouse.com/book/50188/the-all-girl-filling-stations-last-reunion-by-fannie-flagg
Something that Sookie learned is this: "She realized that thanks to Dr. Shapiro, she had learned that being a successful person is not necessarily defined by what you have achieved, but by what you have overcome," (Flagg, F., 2014, The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion, p. 332, New York, NY: Random House).
A Bible verse that works well with the story line is Romans 8: 28, "We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose," (Bible Verses for Busy Women: A guide for moments of stress, joy, and contemplation, 2002. Des Moines, IA: Special Interest Publications).
Life is what we make it. We can live life frustrated, upset, and angry; or, we can try to make sense of it and come to terms with what has been handed to us. Fannie Flagg provides a good way to look at life, along with some humor along the way. Her book contains 347 pages, each filled with good reading.