Book Review: The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion

All Girls Filling Station

I have a rule of thumb about reading strategies.

If a book makes me laugh out loud thrice in the first ten pages, I read it. And that’s how I came to read one of Fannie Flagg‘s with the rather unusual title: “The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion

It’s a story founded on an intriguing premise:

What if, late in life, you suddenly discover that you’re not who you thought you were all these years?

The existential angst of a woman who discovers- only as she approaches age sixty – that she was actually adopted as a baby sets the stage for a lively story that flits back and forth between the early 20th century and today – sharing tidbits of the childhood and youth of a frisky lady named Fritzi and her family, slowly linking the amusing, lively anecdotes back to our protagonist… who agonizingly comes to terms with the truth of her ancestry.

That alone would make it an intriguing enough read.

But the narrative style is also refreshingly unique, and the author’s tone humorous and light-hearted enough to keep the story moving along nicely, peppered with frequent ‘laugh out loud’ moments and ‘oh my god’ awakenings.

And the transitions are really smooth, almost seamless… so you’ll find yourself being whisked effortlessly back and forth between the past and the present. Surprisingly, this experience is pleasant, even fun.

You’ll meet and understand Sookie, the hysterical heroine of the story.

Lenore, her drama-queen mom. (“But that was Lenore: the bride at every wedding, the corpse at every funeral.”)

Earle, her patient and loyal husband.

Their three daughters and son.

And about Fritzi’s parents, her escapades in the air as a stunt flyer, and later in the army as a WASP.

Gradually, layer by layer, you’ll discover a little more about each character as the tale patiently unfolds. Midway through the book, I was more than a little in love with Fritzi Jurdabralinski… and you’ll be, too.

There are some dramatic twists along the way, ending in a nice, heartwarming resolution that leaves you with a satisfying glow of a book well written, a tale well told. Fannie Flagg’s “The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion” is well worth reading – and reading again!

All Girls Filling Station

Some Favorite Excerpts

“Now and then, she had a few little aches and pains, but as Earle had said to her that morning, “Honey, the good news about hitting seventy is at least you know you didn’t die young.

– – –

“When you live long enough to see your children begin to look at you with different eyes, and you can look at them not as your children, but as people, it’s worth getting older with all the creaks and wrinkles”

– – –

“It just boggles my mind thinking about all the what-ifs, wondering why things turned out how they did and if it was supposed to be that way or is your life just an accident.”

 

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