Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
11:34 am EDT
Wednesday, October 27, 2021

BOOK CLUB: The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion


A fun-filled novel about family and relationships

After planning three weddings in two years for her daughters, Sookie Poole is looking forward to a rest. However, she still has to cope with her demanding mother, 88-year-old Lenore, a loud and highly-opinionated woman whose mind is slipping and causes problems of no end for Sookie and her husband.

When a letter arrives, Sookie’s life turns upside down. She learns she is adopted. As the months progress, Sookie seeks to find out who she really is. No longer the southern Alabama belle of Simmons lineage, she is the illegitimate daughter of someone named Fritzi Jurdabralinski, a Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) during World War II. As we embark on Sookie’s madcap, and sometimes wacky, journey of discovery, we quickly become captivated by the courage and capabilities of the WASPs.

The burning question posed to the group, “You just found out you were adopted. How do you feel?”

Most thought reaction depended on age at discovery. A child or a teen probably would not handle the news well. An adult, closer to Sookie’s age, would most likely deal with the news in a more pragmatic fashion. The group also discussed how one develops a sense of identity and the roles played by environment, family, and genetics.

A special guest joined us during our discussion, Linda Garparini, who had a private pilot’s license for 35 years and involved in the aviation industry for 30 years. She regaled us with stories about flying out of Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, being a flight-dispatcher for a busy flight school, and her experiences in aircraft sales.

Linda was vocal about the discrimination she faced as a female in the aviation industry and could only imagine the discrimination faced by the WASPs. She expressed her admiration of the WASPs and their ability to fly so many different and hefty planes.  After listening to Linda’s tales, members were not surprised to learn she would love to be a stunt pilot doing spins, dives, and barrel rolls.

The majority of members agreed this often comical book was an enjoyable summer read with a few twists and turns, although it was a bit far-fetched at times. The group was intrigued by the history of the WASPs and pleased that Fannie Flagg chose to acquaint us with this little-known piece of World War II history.

About the Author

Born in 1944, Alabama-native Fannie Flagg began writing in fifth grade despite being profoundly dyslexic. An actor, comedian, and writer for television, films, and theater, Flagg has written six best-selling novels and a cookbook. She wrote the script for the hit movie, “Fried Green Tomatoes,” which was nominated for an Academy Award, and was based on her beloved book, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. One of the many accolades Fannie Flagg received was the Harper Lee Award for Distinguished Alabama Writers. She happily divides her time between her homes in California and Alabama.


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