Parallel stories of Sookie, a modern woman who discovers she’s not who she thought she was, and Fritzi, a woman who flew military aeroplanes in the Second World War. The author also wrote ‘Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café’.
This book came as a Book Group selection, not one I’d choose because I’m not keen on American novels, and it was not to my taste. When Sookie read the letter that was to change her life I thought things were looking up, but I found much of the first 300 pages tedious. The only time I related to her was when she talked about being scared to get up at night and go to the bathroom in case she put her foot down on something unpleasant. I learned to always wear slippers when we had a cat who was inclined to leave dead offerings on the carpet.
The parts about the contribution to the war made by American woman pilots were the most interesting parts of the book. What surprised me most about this was that they were never given proper military rank and the fact that the role they played was hidden for so many years (until 1977). The novel is promoted as being a comedy, but I found the over-the-top characters hard to take.
I was fully engaged in the story for only the last fifty pages, when Fritzi and Sookie finally met, and I was deeply moved by the final reunion, especially the surprise speaker.
“These dames flew planes to help the war
but the reward they got was poor.”