What a Mother Knows by aLeslie Lehr and The All Girls Filling Station’s last reunion by Fannie Flagg both avaialble now

 I’m sure most of us have read or heard of Fannie Flagg, Fried Green Tomatoes anyone?  Her latest keeps you turning pages and thinking about the characters long after the last page.  Sarah Jane, aka Sookie finds out at the age of 59 that she was adopted, and also that she is not 59 she’s 60.  She begins to reevaluate her life and eventually decides to try to get in touch with her birth parents.  She finds her Aunt Fitzi and learns about her mother and their family legacy.  Turns out her mother, her aunt Fitzi and one more aunt were WASP’s in WWII.  Female pilots who ferried planes around the united states.  She also learns that her mother’s family had a gas station and during the war the sisters ran the station while her grandfather and uncle were deployed overseas.  As usual the story weaves together history and characters who seem to step off the page. 

What A Mother Knows tells the story of Michelle, who is badly injured in a car accident and spends almost a year in the hospital having multiple surgeries, being placed in a medical coma to minimize further damage from her brain injury  and then eventually spending lots of time and energy at rehab.  Her first few days home are anything but happy despite the welcome home party.  She learns she is being sued, there was a passenger in the car with her who died, she has no recollection of the accident or the itme around it which her doctors have assured her is normal, but fustrating,  her insurance won’t pay most of her expenses, and her daughter ran away during her hospitalization, also her husband has been working in New York even though they live in California because he can’t get work with insurance benefits in California and he has enrolled their son in a private school there.  Yikes, besides that he has taken her name off of everything, the bank accounts, the cell phones, when he goes back to work in New York the week after her return home he has to bring her cash since she has no I.D. and no credit cards.  Michelle quickly decides that finding her daughter takes priority over her continued therapy and focuses all her energy there, but her son and husband feel that what begins as Michelle’s search for answers soon consumes her, sends her to various locals such as Hawail in search of the smallest clue or hope,  and destroys the life she is trying to rebuild.  Her life continues to unravel  as she gets ready for her day in court. Then  she begins to remember things, bits and pieces, and slowly she is able to piece together what happened, but is it to late to remember or better to forget.  One the trial is over she once again must decide the next direction for her life and her dreams.  While lots of the subject matter of this novel is dark and Michelle spends much of the book fustrated on some level by life, and the people in her life, I had to admire her dedication to searching for her daughter, and i think it is part of what gets her over some of the other bumps along the way.  I was left with a feeling of hope and healing at the end of this one.

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