Thursday, February 20, 2014

The All-girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg

Fannie Flagg is one of the best story tellers around.  In this book, she mixes in historical fiction by switching from past to present throughout the book as we learn about the little known piece of history in WWII, the Women Airforce Service Pilots.
Filled with southern charm and plenty of humor, this is a fast read.

Sookie Poole is more than ready for the empty-nest syndrome to set in now that she and husband Earle have married off their last daughter. Sookie's Alabama socialite mother, Lenore Simmons Krackenberry, lives right next door and Sookie does her best to look after the octogenarian Lenore but Lenore is a force to be reckoned with. Beautiful, opinionated and outspoken, Lenore has been the darling of Point Clear, Alabama, and Sookie has always felt like an ugly duckling living in her mother's shadow. One morning as Sookie opens Lenore's mail (one of Sookie's duties since Lenore can't be bothered with the mundane task) she finds a letter from the Health Department in Houston, Texas, and Sookie's life will never be the same.

In 1941 in Pulaski, Wisconsin, the Jurdabralinski family were owners of the local filling station where father and son proudly serviced the cars along the busy interstate. Now that America had entered the World War Wink Jurdabralinski heads off to war and the filling station becomes the full-time job of the 4 Jurdabralinski sisters, Fritzi, Sophie, Tula and Gertrude. The sisters capture the imagination and the admiration of male motorists and the filling-station becomes the busiest in the area. Fritzi, the eldest, wants more excitement in her life and joins the Billy Bevins daredevil flying circus where she performs death-defying stunts and becomes a skilled pilot herself. When the military forms the WASP group Fritzi signs up immediately and she is soon followed by sister Sophie. The two sisters ferry planes to US pilots throughout the war.

The two stories intertwine throughout the book making for an enjoyable read of both present day and WWII America. The characters are wonderful and there is a great deal of Flagg's trademark humor.

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