In Fannie Flagg's Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Evelyn Couch is unhappy in her life and in her marriage. She does not like her body, and she is tired of being overweight and sluggish and unhappy. She is still grieving her mother's death, and she is also beginning menopause. Her husband, Ed, is demanding and seems to think that his wife is there to serve him. He insults her about her weight and expects her to bow to his opinions and his desires. He even has an affair with a younger coworker. Indeed, Evelyn's life seems to be at a low point.
But then, Evelyn meets Ninny Threadgoode and begins to learn many things from her. In Ninny, Evelyn finds a confidant with plenty of common sense who helps her see herself in a new light. Evelyn begins changing her life and her attitude. At first, she thinks that perhaps Ed will love her again if she loses some weight and cooks a bit better. But then, Evelyn realizes that if she is really going to be happy in her life, she must make changes for herself, not for Ed and not for their marriage. She goes to a "fat farm" in California, where she takes classes in exercise and weight loss, and she begins to gain more and more confidence and friends. In the end, she discovers satisfaction in selling cosmetics, which gives her some much-needed independence from Ed.
As for Ed's problem, he is extremely insecure about anything that seems to challenge his manhood. He must prove himself a man at every turn, and that means dominating his wife and even having the affair to assure himself about his sexuality. He is determined to be a man no matter what, even if that means being a jerk in the process.