Who do you think you are?

Anyone who has ever enjoyed an audio book probably felt like the experience was enhanced by the voice performance of the reader. Anyone who has ever disliked an audio book probably had their negative opinion influenced by the voice of the reader, the pace of the reading or their attempts to give different voices to characters. Bad accents, annoying trills and lack of inflection are some of my biggest complaints about readers because these detract from the story rather than add to it. I have not had much experience with the author as the reader and I can see how it would work for memoirs, but for fiction, I’m curious if it’s always a hit. In the case of this book, you couldn’t have had a better reader than the author herself!

Book #16  The All Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion, Fannie Flagg

filling stationRating: 4- Would recommend to a friend

Synopsis: Sookie lives in Point Clear, Alabama. She is Mrs. Earle Poole Jr: her gentle and grounded husband a dentist in town. She lives in the shadow of her ostentatious and overbearing mother, Lenore Simmons Krackenberry. She has 4 children (the 3 girls have just gotten married in succession). She thinks she knows exactly who she is as wife, daughter and mother until she receives a letter indicating she was adopted.

Fritzi Jurdabralinski grew up in Pulaski, Wisconsin next to her family’s business, a Phillips 66 gas and service station. Itching for bigger and better things, Fritzi learns to fly airplanes in a flying circus until WWII America calls her home to run the filling station. She and her sisters keep the station going through most of the war until her services are needed by the US government to fly military planes. Fritzi is spunky, strong and passionate about life.  She is also the mother of Ginger Jurdabralinski, the name on the birth certificate in Sookie’s discovered papers.

Sookie takes off on a journey of self re-discovery and historical research to learn who and where she really comes from.

My Impressions: This was a fun book! Sookie’s sweetness and innocense  are felt all through out the book. She is so quirky! And Fritzi’s  personality makes you want run out and learn to fly and airplane! She was the poster girl for Rosie the Riveter!  Such spirit of duty and adventure.  The story unfolds  between the two women in a third person narrative, jumping between Sookie and Fritzi, 2005 and 1940’s. It’s not hard to follow because the story line in each time period is chronological and the theme of events tend to mirror each other. The  relationships between family members is a central theme in this book, and is very strongly developed. For that matter, all of the characters are well developed and very distinguished from one another.

I’m sure that my impression of each character was influenced by the voice that the author/reader gave to them in the audio book experience. She was able to pull off that “deep-south”  accent perfectly to help you better understand the kind of person and presence Lenore really was, and she did justice to the “deep-snow” mid-west accent to add flair to Fritzi and company.  Such an enjoyable experience that I didn’t want to stop listening! Ms Flagg is truly a story teller.

Why you should read it:  Did I mention how fun it was? Okay, this is not a book I can see my boyfriend enjoying anytime soon. It might be a little girly for his taste. But I could see my Mom and Dad enjoying the audiobook on a car trip together.  There was a little bit of WWII history that I wasn’t aware of, and some insight into immigrant culture too. All in all, a fun story, read or heard.

Book #16 in the bag.

“Reading one book is like eating one potato chip”– Diane Duane, So You Want to Be a Wizard

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