Ugh! Such a disappointment.
I'll admit it has been a long time since I read Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe, but I can't imagine this book was written by the same person. Green Tomatoes had interesting and engaging characters who lived interesting and challenging lives. The Whole Town's Talking is overflowing with characters, so many that you can't remember who's who, and yet none of them is developed enough to make them worth your time. The idea of the book is to cover a century in the life of a small Missouri town, so there are historical references throughout the book provided in light of its impact on these midwesterners. Basically, it's not enough and it's too much.
I know that I tend to be a tough critic when evaluating a book, but my neighborhood book club read this, and at our recent meeting not a single one of them enjoyed the book. Several didn't get much past the first hundred pages. There was only one burning question for those who didn't finish it, and that was, "what happened to those people who disappeared?" In case you are reading it for an answer, I won't spoil, but I'll tell you go ahead and skip to the last page to find out, then dust your hands and walk away.