Front cover of Waffle House Rules by Joe Formichella.

By Joe Formichella

Waffle House Rules
Written by: Joe Formichella
Published by: Rivers Edge Media LLC
Date Published: 04/07/2014
ISBN: Paperback 978-1-940595-01-6 eBook 978-1-940595-02-3
Available in: Ebook Paperback

The “Last Best Class” of Fish River Community School had lost one of its members every year since the second grade. Waffle Houses were popping up throughout small-town Alabama with one corporate rule: “Good Food Fast.” Struggling to cope with the tragedy that shadowed him most of his life, Dr. Jimmy Ryan dedicated himself to bringing people back from the brink, driven by his own guiding principle: “Ain’t Dead Yet.” Not until Jimmy’s own death did the folks at the Waffle House in Penelope, Alabama, learn the full extent of the secrets buried with the dead — secrets resurrected over hot coffee refills at the Waffle House.


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“I haven’t had so much fun with a novel since I first read Slaughterhouse Five. Formichella’s iconic Dr. Jimmy Ryan is unforgettable, and his hilarious tale is tinged with the same poignancy as the best Vonnegut; the reader is constantly coming upon moments in the humor that signal deeper significances. Waffle House Rules is innovative, original, complex, yet always accessible and a delight to read. This brilliant and luminous novel is like one character’s smile: it makes the grass grow.”

William Cobb, Harper Lee Award winner and author of seven novels and a collection of short fiction

“Joe Formichella has been one of the South’s greatest secrets for years. This novel should change that. From the first page to the end this book is intriguing, and funny, and true, and tight; maybe his best writing ever.”

Tom Franklin, New York Times best-selling author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter; and The Tilted World with Beth Ann Fennelly

“In Waffle House Rules, Joe Formichella’s writing flows with the certainty of an old river. A powerful current moves underneath the mild ripples on the surface of his prose, and in a story that curves unexpectedly, the history of a Utopian community and an eccentric man offer up sensual satisfaction.”

Judith Richards, author of six novels, two of which, Summer Lightning and Too Blue to Fly, earned the Alabama Library Association Award

There is no other writer quite like Joe Formichella. Balancing hilarious comedy with dramatic pathos, Waffle House Rules is chock full of charming, eccentric characters readers will long remember. Formichella explores the absurdities of life and death as perceived by the lovable inhabitants of Fairhope and Penelope, Alabama with great sensitivity and intelligence. This book reminded me of why I love to read.

Bev Marshall, author of Walking through Shadows, Right as Rain, and Hot Fudge Sundae Blues

“Joe Formichella pulls the reader into a world rich with character. Death and the past walk hand-in-hand for most Southerners, and Formichella captures that dance with deftness and sly humor. Pour a little Jack over some ice and kick back on the front porch for a journey. Let Formichella drive; he knows all the twists and turns.”

Carolyn Haines, Harper Lee Award winner, author of the Sarah Booth Delaney Mississippi Delta mystery series; and The Darkling and The Seeker,writing as R.B. Chesterton