The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion

The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion

4.6 142
by Fannie Flagg

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The one and only Fannie Flagg, beloved author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven, and I Still Dream About You, is at her hilarious and superb best in this new comic mystery novel about two women who are forced to reimagine who they are and what they are capable of.
Mrs. Sookie Poole of Point…  See more details below


The one and only Fannie Flagg, beloved author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven, and I Still Dream About You, is at her hilarious and superb best in this new comic mystery novel about two women who are forced to reimagine who they are and what they are capable of.
Mrs. Sookie Poole of Point Clear, Alabama, has just married off the last of her three daughters and is looking forward to relaxing and perhaps traveling with her husband, Earle. The only thing left to contend with now is her mother, the formidable and imposing Lenore Simmons Krackenberry—never an easy task. Lenore may be a lot of fun for other people, but is, for the most part, an overbearing presence for her daughter. Then one day, quite by accident, Sookie discovers a shocking secret about her mother’s past that knocks her for a loop and suddenly calls into question everything she ever thought she knew about herself, her family, and her future.
Feeling like a stranger in her own life, and fearful of confronting her mother with questions, Sookie begins a search for answers that takes her to California, the Midwest, and back in time, to the 1940s, when an irrepressible woman named Fritzi takes on the job of running her family’s filling station. With so many men off to war, it’s up to Fritzi and her enterprising younger sisters to keep it going. Soon truck drivers are changing their routes to fill up at the All-Girl Filling Station. But before long, Fritzi sees an opportunity for an even more groundbreaking adventure when she receives a life-changing invitation from the U.S. military to assist in the war effort. As Sookie learns more and more about Fritzi’s story, she finds herself with new answers to the questions she’s been asking her whole life.
The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion is a perfect combination of comedy, mystery, wisdom, and charm. Fabulous, fun-loving, spanning decades, generations, and centered on a little-known aspect of America’s twentieth-century story, The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion is Fannie Flagg, the bestselling “born storyteller” (The New York Times Book Review), at her irresistible best.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Alabama sweetheart Sookie Poole has been a loving wife, a caring mother, and, most important, a patient daughter. Her formidable yet ailing mother never seemed to approve of her as a child. Now approaching 60, Sookie receives some unexpected news about her past that has her questioning both her family history and her mother's constant cold shoulder. While searching for answers, Sookie uncovers Fritzi Jurdabralinski, the eldest of four Polish sisters who ran an all-girl gas station during the 1940s in Pulaski, WI. During World War II, Fritzi became a Fly Girl, transporting military aircraft as a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). After learning of Fritzi's adventures, Sookie is inspired to reexamine her own life. VERDICT Yet again, Flagg (I Still Dream About You) delivers a book full of heartwarming charm that is sure to provoke lighthearted laughter. A complex story told simply and honestly, this is an easy read and another treat for Flagg fans. [See Prepub Alert, 5/13/13.]—Shannon Marie Robinson, Denison Univ. Lib., Granville, OH
Publishers Weekly
Structured much like Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Flagg's latest novel alternates between the pedestrian life of Sookie Poole, a timid middle-aged southern woman and that of her brash, adventurous ancestry, a quartet of polish sisters who ran a filling station and flew planes during WWII. The cataclysmic event that unites these narratives is Sookie's discovery that she was adopted. Her journey into the history of her biological family is excruciatingly slow, but the history—particularly of the WASPs, a division of all-female pilots who flew support missions for the Air Force and were written promptly out of history after the war ended proves more entertaining and helps redeem the plot. The language is accessible and much of the backstory is delivered via letters, rendering the voices of the characters authentic, even if they are a bit stock—the archetypal aging southern lady heroine, for example, has a wacky new-age best friend, an overbearing mother, and a Yankee psychiatrist. Readers looking for nuance will not find it here, but there are plot twists, adventure, heartbreak, and familial love in spades, making this the kind of story that keeps readers turning pages in a fever. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
“A beautifully told tale, world-class humor, and characters who live forever in a grateful reader’s world. Fannie Flagg keeps getting better and better. The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion proves it.”—Pat Conroy

“Flagg spins another charming tale of the peaks and valleys of everyday life. . . . If all the self-help books that promote ways to ‘find yourself’ were stacked in an enormous pile . . . none would approach the sweet wisdom with which Flagg infuses The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion. And neither could they match the author’s essential kindness, nor her unwavering tenderness toward and belief in humanity, despite all its foibles and foolishness. She understands, but she does so with love.”Richmond Times-Dispatch

“It’s Flagg’s pleasure to hit her characters with several happy endings, but the real happiness is that she’s given us another lovable—and quirky—novel.”—The Washington Post

“Flagg is at her South-skewering best. . . . A chuckle-while-reading book.”The Mobile Press-Register

“The kind of story that keeps readers turning pages in a fever . . . There are plot twists, adventure, heartbreak, and familial love in spades.”Publishers Weekly

“Fannie flies high, and her fans will enjoy the ride. . . . A charming story written with wit and empathy . . . just the right blend of history and fiction.”Kirkus Reviews

“Flagg’s storytelling talent is on full display. Her trademark quirky characters are warm and realistic, and the narrative switches easily between the present and the past. Flagg’s fans won’t be disappointed in this one, and there’s a lot to be said for giving tribute to the real-life WASPs. . . . Great possibilities for nonfiction pairings abound for book clubs.”Booklist

“Yet again, Flagg delivers a book full of heartwarming charm that is sure to provoke lighthearted laughter. A complex story told simply and honestly . . . another treat for Flagg fans.”Library Journal

“Fannie Flagg is a fantastic storyteller. She surprises the reader in every chapter with unexpected twists and turns. The only problem I had with this fascinating story is that it ended too soon. I can’t wait for her next book.”—Carol Burnett
The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion is an absolute joy to read, full of Fannie Flagg's trademark humor, warmth, tenderness, and heart. If you’re looking for a novel to lift your spirits and make you smile, this is definitely the book for you.”—Kristin Hannah
“An engaging, heartfelt story where family secrets unfurl and the past reshapes the present in surprising ways. Fannie Flagg has crafted a love letter to the courageous women who accomplished the extraordinary on the homefront during World War II.”—Beth Hoffman
“Sly and funny, and a delight from beginning to end. Reading Fannie Flagg is like sitting on the porch and listening to a master storyteller, until night falls and the tale is finally told, then not wanting to move a muscle because the story is still resonating in the quiet around you.”—Sarah Addison Allen
The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion has all of the ingredients we hope to find in a Fannie Flagg novel. With its unforgettable characters, wildly hilarious scenes, and deeply touching moments, this novel is loaded with delights.”—Edward Kelsey Moore

“There is no novelist better at exploring the sunny side of the American soul than Fannie Flagg. Her books cast a marvelous spell—one minute I’m laughing, the next minute a lump in my throat, and then a sad smile with a rush of deep feeling. The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion is charming, funny, and deeply satisfying.”—Mark Childress, author of Crazy in Alabama and Georgia Bottom

Kirkus Reviews
Flagg highlights a little-known group in U.S. history and generations of families in an appealing story about two women who gather their courage, spread their wings and learn, each in her own way, to fly (I Still Dream About You, 2010, etc.). After marrying off all three of her daughters (one of them twice to the same man), Sookie Poole is looking forward to kicking back and spending time with her husband and her beloved birds. She's worked hard throughout life to be a good mother to her four children and a perfect daughter to her octogenarian mother. Lenore Simmons Krackenberry's a legend in Point Clear, Ala., and has always been narcissistic, active in all the "right" organizations, and extremely demanding. She's also become increasingly bonkers, a disorder that seems to run in the Simmons family. Throughout much of her life, Sookie's never felt as if she's measured up to Lenore's exacting standards, and she's terrified she, too, might lose her marbles. Then, Sookie receives an envelope filled with old documents that turn her world and her beliefs about herself and her family topsy-turvy. Her emotional quest for answers leads Sookie down a winding yet humorous path, as she meets with a young psychiatrist at the local Waffle House and tracks down descendants of a Polish immigrant who opened a Phillips 66 filling station in Pulaski, Wis., in 1928. What she discovers about the remarkable Jurdabralinski siblings inspires her: Fritzi, the eldest daughter, developed a unique idea to keep her father's business operating during difficult times, but her true passion involved loftier goals. During World War II, she used her exceptional skills to serve her country in an elite program, and two of her sisters followed suit. Finding inspiration in their professional and personal sacrifices, Sookie discovers her own courage to make certain decisions about her life and to accept and take pride in the person she is. This is a charming story written with wit and empathy. The author forms a comfortable bond with readers and offers just the right blend of history and fiction. Flagg flies high, and her fans will enjoy the ride.

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Random House Publishing Group
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The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion 4.6 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 142 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read all of Ms. Flagg's books and this is the very best!!! As usual such wonder characters, just the right touch of humor and part of our history that is way over due for recognition. Thank you for such a wonderful read!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very clever and funny novel!!!! Highly recommended. Loved the characters and plot, but really really loved the history of the WASPS during World War II. Another great novel set during World War II is "The Partisan" by William Jarvis. This book is based on facts and has great male and female characters. Both books deserve A+++++
reeter More than 1 year ago
As usual, loved it. Ms. Flagg is a master painter, you can just see it in your mind.
Ilovemister More than 1 year ago
Loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once again, a very entertaining book, but not one of Fannie Flagg's best. The development of the characters was weak. I did like the way she incorporated history with the book, but it was not very convincing. I wish I could have liked this book more, since I have read all her other works.
BookLoverDK More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book; however, I was a little disappointed that the main part of the story was about a modern-day character. I wanted to read more about the All-Girl Filling Station in the 40s. Fannie Flagg is an entertaining writer, though, so if you are in the mood for an interesting book about life for women, particularly women pilots leading up to and during the 2nd World War, you will enjoy this book.
Delphimo More than 1 year ago
I truly love Flagg's down home humor, but this novel lacked the zany atmosphere. The story centers on Sookie or Sarah Jane, who just learns that she was adopted and is really 60 instead of 59. The story line has merits, but the action deviates too much from the theme. Sookie undergoes many adventures in her path of coming to terms with the adoption. Sookie's four grown children have the silliest names, especially the 3 girls. Lenore, Sookie's adoptive mother, is the stereotypical Southern mother with her determination and controlling. So many of the characters seem to parallel the characters of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café. Idgie and Fritzti seem to be the same character, and both possess that mothering instinct to aid Ruth and Sookie in growing. The language seems less Southern in this novel, as the setting could be anywhere.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hope they make amovie out of this book! It is every bit as wonderful as all of her other books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was disappointed in her last book (I Still Think About You), but this is back to the Fannie Flagg writing style and heartwarming storytelling I loved about most of her previous books. Like the other books, didn't want it to end!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fanny Flagg never disappoints. The All Girls Filling Station Reunion has heart and soul along with memorable characters.
Lally11 More than 1 year ago
As always, Fannie Flagg tells a great story. It is a fun, quick and easy read. I enjoyed the story and how she wove the story of the WASP's into it. She certainly did her research on that forgotten page in WWII history. This is a fabulous book about the Greatest Generation. Although it is fiction, you will be able to imagine what it was like for the women that helped our country during 1941-1945. We read this for my book club. It is not necessarily a book club book. All the characters are likeable and not much happens that will surprise you. However, learning and researching about the WASP's did create much discussion, because of the way they were treated and ignored for decades.
CheliD More than 1 year ago
Did you ever think as you were growing up that maybe you were adopted and that's why you just didn't seem to fit in? Well, Sookie Poole never seemed to live up to her mother's expectations, but when at age 60 she received a package that told her she was adopted, Sookie was stunned. She tried psychiatric consultations (but she didn't want her mother to know that she knew - so the doctor met her at the Waffle House) and she started researching her birth mother's family and origins. Sookie, an Alabaman southern Baptist, found her birth mother was a Wisconsian Polish Catholic. Now glide back in time to Pulaski Wisconsin and meet the Jurdabralinski family. Stanislav owns the Phillips 66 station and when sickness forces him to recuperate out of state, his 4 daughters, wife and daughter-in-law take on running the station and pretty girls brought a bunch business until WWII and gas rationing force a shutdown.  The oldest Daughter, Fritzi, already had her flying license, and had taught 2 of her sisters so with the station shutdown, Fritzi, Gertrude and Sophie Marie join the WASPs to help ferry new aircraft from the factory to the airfields for the war effort. Back to Sookie, she garners enough courage to call the name on her birth certificate and arranges to meet. The story easily floats back and forth between Sookie and her Mother (Lenore is a bit wacky and easily makes the reader sympathize with Sookie) and the Jurdabralinski girls. The short chapters make the story whip along and help to hold the readers interest. Surprise ending with heart and laughter included
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read as always from this author...since I'm of the older generation could relate to the inclusion of the way of life at the start and during WWII. As always, enjoyed thoroughly, will be waiting for the next publication of this authors work.
quaintinns More than 1 year ago
This was my first book by Fannie Flagg and it was a hoot! I purchased the audio version as was read by the author and full of southern wit and charm. The accent was right on, with lots of history, as she seamlessly joined the World War II era with the present. Very interesting as so love this time and era. Would love to see a movie based on the novel. Full of crazy characters, including her nutty mother Lenore set in Alabama. When Sookie receives a letter in the mail she finds out she is not the person she thought, and begins to uncover her past and secrets. In the meantime, she makes discoveries about herself as she travels to learn about her past. I look forward to reading more by this author as she is an excellent storyteller. (Highly recommend the audio version)!
mara13JC More than 1 year ago
I love all Fannie Flaggs books and I think this was one of her best. When the boys in town are all drafted and gone, the girls take over their Dad's gas station. With no experience but a lot of heart and guts they jump right in. The characters are all different and you feel like you know them all. There are many heart warming parts and many, many funny parts. I would highly recommend this book to all ages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mrstwocats More than 1 year ago
Entertaining and easy to read. It has information about female pilots during WWII that I had never heard.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In my opinion this is Ms. Flagg's best. Loved the characters and the story. Didn't know the women existed who were the inspiration for the book. A history lesson wrapped up in superb fiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fannie Flagg is one of those fantastic authors whose tales are enchanting. She knows how to write twists and turns that hook a reader and keep them hooked right up to the last page. In this adventurous and fun filled novel, I almost thought I could be Sookie's sister. I love watching birds gathering around my birdfeeder. I always put sunflower seeds in my feeders, especially for the cardinals that are so brilliantly colored. But, it always seems the first birds to show up are the blue jays that scare off all the small birds and the red birds. No matter how many times I go out and shoo the blue jays away -they waste no time in coming back. In my mind's eye, I can see Sookie running around putting wild birdseed in one feeder and sunflower seeds in the other, since I often do the same thing. There is so much more to this novel than the adventure or the charming amusement about birds. The all girls filling station reminds me of the all girls softball teams, and reading this author's work is like living each moment with her. I personally adore Fannie Flagg's writing (as do so many others). She always puts a lot of humor, as well as happy and unhappy times, combining that with human affairs, and I think she gives us the opportunity to examine our own thoughts and feelings in a very pleasant way.  Jeannie Walker (Award-Winning Author) 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved, loved, loved this book. It was a laugh out loud read. In fact I ordered Fannie Flagg's other books. She is now one my favorite authors.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just finished this book, having read most of this author's other great selections.  This is by far exceptional and I plan on reading it again!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
worth the time to read
rj39 More than 1 year ago
The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion was my first Fannie Flagg read, and was I delighted!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it! Wonderful story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fannie writes in a way that endears her characters to you - another delightful story that flows like honey, sweet in every bite!