All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion, The

Flagg, Fannie

  20 Reviews

With her children having left the nest, Sookie Poole is ready for some 'downtime'. However, the arrival of some unexpected personal documents turns her world upside down. Instead of relaxing with her husband Earle, Sookie has a mystery to solve. A mystery that will take her back to the 1940s, the Jurdabralinski girls, their family filling station and their involvement with the Women Airforce Service Pilots.

Brought to light through engaging and courageous characters this is a refreshing and accessible story of the rarely told exploits of the female pilots in the US homefront war effort.

Comments from Groups

Everyone finished the book and enjoyed it. People warmed to Sookie's character as it evolved and grew throughout the book, and the humour was appreciated by all. We all learned a lot about the role of the WASPS in the war, and found it truly staggering that their accomplishments and war-time service were so little acknowledged. Chch113

All loved the subject matter (although one or two gripes about the 'flippant' style). But we agreed it was a fascinating look at a little-known and under-appreciated group of women, with lots of important issues hidden in that light style. Auckland 009

6/10 was a common response to the book. Most of the group did not like the style of the book, and could not relate to the culture of southern Alabama.The letters were frustrating for some, and didn't add to the book. However, 2 of us loved the book - the humour, the themes etc. It would make a great movie! Chch 001

A most amazing novel, with many twists and turns. Revelations galore. We enjoyed it. Wanganui 004

Everyone agreed the book was a bit "fluffy", the lead character a bit "silly and superficial". But we found the history of the WASPS interesting... Hikurangi 001

Everyone enjoyed the book.We were unpleasantly surprised at how badly the army treated the female pilots, both during training and at the end when they wound up the WASPS, and gave them no official recognition or pensions. A good read. Huntly 001

The characters' names were a put-off at the start, but the story developed. Although 'quirky', it was worth the read.. Auckland 332

Some in our group were too busy to read it, but were very sorry when they heard our discussion! At the start of the book we all thought Sookie was nothing but a 'sook', but we were all interested in her journey to find her roots. She met some interesting characters along the way. Auckland 056

Most of us enjoyed the book for its light humour and clever writing that kept you turning the pages to the end. Very clever little twist at the end too. We liked the historical lost story of the WASPS. Christchurch 145

Enjoyed by almost all of the group for throwing light on the role of women in the USA during the second world war. Discussion ranged from the themes of belonging and the idiosyncrasies of families, to the upheaval of sense of self for Sookie when she discovers the truth about her birth. The separate stories of the 2 families were cleverly interwoven with a satisfying conclusion. Recommended. Whangarei 015

We all enjoyed it, and although the characters seemed exaggerated for comic effect, there was a serious underlay, especially regarding the shameful treatment of the women aviators, when hostilities were over. We had fun imagining how we might run an all-girls (ie. elderly women) gas station ourselves! Warkworth 003

Book enjoyed by all members. We would recommend as good but light reading. Gore 006



PICT 007
Everyone loved it. The humour was brilliant, and a well-written story that you get lost in easily.
PICT 007
Everyone in the group read it and loved it. Lots of humour, as well as touching moments and real history. We all looked up the author's others books after reading it, and we talked about Kiwi women who were ferry pilots in the war. It brought up lots of different topics, like toxic personalities, and courage and duty and misogyny and abuse. A great book that was very readable and covers an important lesser known part of history.
DARF 004
Enjoyed by all. A pleasurable read that wasn't too hard going mentally.
ASHB 022
Book was enjoyed by everyone once you got into it. Discussion on how hard it was for women to be accepted doing 'men's work', while they were at war - how brave and resilient they were. We tried to imagine girls on roller skates pouring petrol today.
TAUR 059
The group was split with 1/2 enjoying the story, the writing and the characters although most felt the letters detracted from the flow. The other half did not enjoy it, in no small part because they found Sookie to be either annoying, not easy to relate to, or both. We all agreed the premise was excellent and most preferred the past part of the story to the present. We all felt the title was misleading given how little of the book is actually about the filling station.
CHCH 527
Being a mens only group, this book failed to hit the mark with us . There was a fascinating story that could have been boldly told - but was, instead, covered with a fluffy coating of emotional chatter . The story of the WASPs could have been a real page turner - as it is was, few of us finished the book.
CHCH 449
Not a favourite book for any of us but there were some interesting portrayals of characters which led to a lively discussion. We have all read and/or seen movies of women pilots in WW2 and felt that the accounts of British and even NZ women were more believable. Inappropriate title.
AUCK 105
Just what we needed. Thoroughly entertaining. The backdrop of the role of women in WWII gave it some gravitas, and sparked our interest in the story of the WASPS. Excellent read.
NELS 023
We all thoroughly enjoyed this book. We were ready for a "lighter" read. Discussion was lively! Although seeming simple initially, it was a complex story and thoughtful. The aviation history in the USA was new to most of us.
WELL 189
This was a nice light read that we enjoyed almost universally in our group. Underneath the light story were some good topics for discussion - women pilots; the change in the world today around unwed pregnancy; and overbearing mothers!
We agreed the book was light-hearted but dealt with serious issues such as immigration/re-settlement, adoption and the down played roles of American women pilots in WW2. The book began in a very tedious way with chapters alternating between pre/post war and current day. The characters were not very sophisticated, Sookie (main character) was irritating, and her mother was seriously narcissistic. Our discussions centred on adoption and the need to be honest along with the changing roles of women within the armed forces since both WWs to the current day.
After having some rather heavy somber reads this year Fannie Flagg was a very welcome light relief. We really enjoyed learning about the WASPS' role in WW2. Loved Fritzi and her sisters but got frustrated with Sooki and thoroughly infuriated with her mother. Resented that she died before learning that Sooki knew she had been adopted. Recommend this as a group read, had a really great discussion.
Fun,interesting and easy read.
CHCH 268
A good, pleasant read and an interesting piece of history, but lightly dealt with.
AUCK 016
Enjoyable and easy to read, but also provoked deep thinking.
AUCK 273
We thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Well-written, great pace and so interesting learning about the women fliers in WWII.
After trying to keep our little grey cells active with some stimulating reading, a book by Fannie Flagg was the perfect way to end the year! A very easy read, amusing, a little trivial, but we especially enjoyed the chapters featuring the WASPS - reminding us how women helped so much during WWII - amazing unsung 'heroes'.
AUCK 353
Most of us struggled through the first two chapters, thinking the dialogue "ditsy" and annoying. Once we moved on to the 1940s theme, the book became fascinating. Our discussion on the book was probably the best we have ever had. Fascinating stories revealed!
Overall, our group was positive regarding this book. We all felt the book started off in a way that that gave the impression that the book was 'light-weight'. Not so!! The characters developed and grew as the book proceeded, and we all discussed the history of the WASPs. The final decision - a well constructed novel.
ASHB 016
Everyone enjoyed this book, although some got annoyed with Sookie. We were all fascinated with the WASPS' story and how they were not recognised when they contributed so much to the war effort. We enjoyed the style of writing and found it very funny and easy to read. As an adopted baby myself and another lady having adopted a baby, we were both annoyed with her mother for not telling her the truth. It was nice to read a 'lighter' book..