The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg, author of Fried Green Tomatoes, tells the story of Sookie, a woman who discovers a long-hidden family secret in her 60s. The tale takes the reader from Alabama to the Midwest to California, traveling between the 1940s and the present day, and spotlights a little-known aspect of American World War II history.
The purpose of our Book Club Guides is to recommend books for your book club and provide guidance for discussion. This book guide focuses on Flagg’s 2014 novel The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion.
Book Review: Plot, Pros and Cons
When the novel begins, Sookie has found herself an empty nester. Her youngest child is married, so she’s ready to relax and enjoy some time to herself at home in Point Clear, Alabama.
Alas, relaxation is not what’s in store for Sookie. She soon receives papers meant for her domineering mother, Lenore, which reveal a decades-old family secret. Shocked and confused, Sookie begins digging into the past and unearths a rich family history. She learns of the adventures of the Jurdabralinski family of Pulaski, Wisconsin, complete with an all-girl filling station and Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs).
Throughout the book Sookie travels the country and explores family histories. She grapples with her family relationships and identity throughout the story, and discovers her own individuality and strength in the process.
Not much more can really be said here without giving too much of the plot away. Just know that it’s truly a worthwhile read. (And for fans of Southern breakfast foods, it even includes many trips to Waffle House.)
There are many things that keep the reader invested in this book. For instance, you can’t help but love Sookie. You just want to join her at the Waffle House for a cup of coffee. She’s warm and inviting and you’re cheering for her the whole way.
Additionally, the book brings attention to a somehow lesser-known part of American WWII history (at least for the younger generation) that deserves far more discussion: Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs). The stories of these women will amaze you.
Finally, the story keeps you on your toes by changing its time and structure. Some of the book takes place in the present day, while some is told in the ’40s; certain chapters are told in prose, while others are told through letters. Between its characters, plot, and structure, there’s so much to enjoy about this book.
Here we have some questions and topics for discussion for your book club meeting.
- Sookie uncovers a family secret that sends her on quite a journey. How do you think you would react in her situation?
- Do you think Sookie did the right thing by not telling her mother right away when she found out about the family secret? Why or why not?
- There are so many colorful characters in this book. With whom did you identify the most? Who was your favorite?
- Had you heard of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) prior to reading this book? Did you learn anything new about them?
- Did this book teach you anything else about life in World War II-era America?
So, should your book club read this book? In short, yes. In fact, everybody should read this book. One friend and fellow book club member described it as being wrapped in a blanket every time you pick it up, which is the perfect way to put it.
Fannie Flagg’s writing draws you in immediately and creates a compelling, heart-warming and informative tale. Its strong focus on female relationships and women’s history makes it particularly interesting as well.
So, if you’re looking for a wonderful sisterhood read, no matter the circumstances, look no further than Fannie Flagg’s The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion.
Have you read The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!
Happy reading! Cheers!
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