I listened to the audiobook which was read by author, Fannie Flagg, who has a charming southern accent. The whole thing was adorable and heartwarming.
Thematically and structurally, it reminds me a lot of Fried Green Tomatoes. I never read the book (also written by Flagg), but I saw the movie. The protagonist is a contemporary who learns about herself by finding out about past events. She’s a humble 60-year-old lady struggling to feel relevant because she lacks a flashy life. Even though she is clearly fictional, I think a lot of people reach her age wondering about the significance of their lives. Her struggle seems comparatively minor, but because of that, she feels less entitled to it. So, her true suffering is not being allowed access to her own pain.
I don’t remember the details from Friend Green Tomatoes, but in this case, the past characters are based on the true history of Women Airforce Service Pilots who served in WWII (WASPs). I’d heard of the WASPs before, but reading this book gave me an opportunity fully appreciate these women. They provided a necessary service during the war, and they opened the door for future women pilots.
Given the very real horrors that we’re facing today, this kind of book might seem trite, but this was a pick-me-up for me. It takes place in a safe world that is looking back on WWII. Flagg reminds us that during that war, most people were terrified of the possibilities they faced, just like we are today, but they got through it.