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Review: Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen

July 31, 2009

Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen

Catherine Grace Cline was six years old, and her sister Martha Ann was four, when their mother drowned.  Their daddy is the preacher at the Baptist church in their small Georgia town.  When their father is busy, Gloria Jean, a neighbor and old friend of their mother’s watches the girls.  Catherine Grace loves Gloria Jean because she’s the only person who will talk about her mother.

Catherine Grace and Martha Ann head down to the Dairy Queen every Saturday for a Dilly Bar.  That’s when Catherine Grace does her dreaming and planning.  She longs to get out of their small town and head to Atlanta and can’t understand why Eddie Franklin is content with his life – working at Dairy Queen in a small town.

When Catherine Grace causes a commotion at a church function, her father punishes her by forbidding her to go to Dairy Queen for the rest of the summer.  Gloria Jean comes up with a plan to keep the girls busy and help Catherine Grace earn money for her get-away all at the same time.

After she graduates from high school and turns eighteen, Catherine Grace heads to Atlanta with her savings.  She finds a job and a place to live and things are going pretty well for her when she’s called home because of a family emergency.  She gets some shocking news when she gets home and finds out that she may have been looking for happiness in the wrong place all along.

Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen is the wonderful debut novel of Susan Gregg Gilmore.   (It’s hard for me to believe this is her first book!)  There is so much more to this book than appears on the surface.   It’s about love and acceptance of friends and family.  It’s about having a dream and having the guts to follow it.  Mostly it’s about forgiveness, though.

This book is full of fantastic characters, too.  I just loved Catherine Grace and could relate to her restless, curious spirit.  She misses her mother so much and feels guilty because she doesn’t remember her as well as she thinks she should.  She also feels some pressure to be perfect since she’s the preacher’s daughter.  Gloria Jean was a wonderful, loving character who was just a little bit different.  She provided so much for the girls including a strong female role model.  A lot of the secondary characters were great too.  I was really able to get a feel for the small Georgia town they all lived in.

I’ll readily admit that I’m partial to books set in the South, but I would have loved Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen no matter where it had been set.  I can’t wait for Susan Gregg Gilmore’s next novel.

43 Comments leave one →
  1. July 31, 2009 7:08 am

    I really liked this one too!

  2. July 31, 2009 7:31 am

    I heard about this book awhile ago from a friend and then I forgot about it. I’m glad you reviewed it so I could add it to my TBR list.

    Have a good day!

  3. July 31, 2009 7:49 am

    I’ve heard good things about this novel, but I think your review has pushed me over the top. I’m going to see if it’s out in audio; if not, I’ll likely pick up the print version.

  4. July 31, 2009 7:56 am

    Sounds like a sweet book – nice review.

  5. July 31, 2009 8:06 am

    I was drawn immediately to the title, and I love Southern fiction so I’ll definitely keep this one in mind. Thanks for the review.

    –Anna

  6. July 31, 2009 8:31 am

    LOVED THIS BOOK! I am so glad that you enjoyed it!!! Like you, I can’t wait for the next one. She’s already working on Book 3 so there will be lots more of Ms. Gilmore in the future! 🙂

  7. July 31, 2009 8:39 am

    This sounds like it would be a good choice for the Southern Reading Challenge. Yay for Southern books! 🙂

  8. July 31, 2009 8:39 am

    I would probably pick the book up for the title alone. And now, hearing of the rich character development, I definitely want to read this. Imagine two little girls, walking by themselves to the Dairy Queen! Only in small towns where everyone watches out for the children. I’m looking forward to this book.

  9. July 31, 2009 8:49 am

    “It’s hard for me to believe this is her first book!”

    That’s a pretty high recommendation there! I love books set in the South too, I’ll have to look into this one. Great review!

  10. July 31, 2009 8:51 am

    I can tell from your review how much you loved this book. It seem like it has so nice juicy characters that you can really get into.

  11. July 31, 2009 8:56 am

    After doing the Southern challenge, I also have a love of all books Southern. I will definitely ad this one to my list.

  12. July 31, 2009 9:16 am

    This sounds so good (and not just the Dairy Queen part!) I have heard this title a couple of times but this is the first review I have seen on it.

    You make it sound like a fun read with great writing! I definitely want to read this. 🙂

  13. July 31, 2009 9:20 am

    I soooo want to read this one. I’m glad you liked it Kathy and thanks for the review.

  14. July 31, 2009 9:37 am

    Hi Kathy – I really liked your review this morning and so I am back to let you know I posted this for the Morning Meandering to let people know of this great book and your review.

    Have a wonderful day! 🙂

  15. July 31, 2009 9:53 am

    I love the title so much; I’m glad the inside is just as good. Definitely an add for the TBR pile!

  16. July 31, 2009 9:56 am

    ooh! i have this book on my tbr list and now i can’t wait to get to it. i also love southern fiction…there’s just something magnetic about the south.

  17. July 31, 2009 10:04 am

    Ah southern books…my favorite!

  18. July 31, 2009 10:52 am

    Nice review. I’d love to read this one!

  19. July 31, 2009 11:08 am

    I don’t think I’ve heard a bad word about this one. I’ve discovered that I really enjoy southern novels, too and look forward to this one.

  20. July 31, 2009 11:34 am

    This sounds so great, and of course Dairy Queen is a favorite summer haunt LOL

  21. July 31, 2009 11:54 am

    This sounds like a wonderfully evocative book that plumbs the depths of childhood and adolescent emotion.

    I think everyone can relate to some of the sensual pleasures of childhood, like ice cream at the Dairy Queen!

  22. July 31, 2009 12:11 pm

    I’d read this book for the title alone! Sounds like others feel just as strongly about it. Thanks for the review!

  23. July 31, 2009 12:22 pm

    This book would be a great gift for one of my in-laws. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  24. July 31, 2009 1:04 pm

    I’ve been wanting to read this one for some time. I really need to bump it up on my wish list. Great review!

  25. July 31, 2009 1:35 pm

    Great review. I really want to read this one!

  26. stacybuckeye permalink
    July 31, 2009 2:05 pm

    I’m a sucker for first-time authors! Thanks for the recommendation 🙂

  27. July 31, 2009 2:24 pm

    Very nice review, I might have to pick this one up now.

  28. Carol permalink
    July 31, 2009 2:44 pm

    Sounds like a lovely book. I love the title.

  29. July 31, 2009 5:38 pm

    I like Southern Fiction as well. I have a copy of this TBR and look forward to reading it.

  30. July 31, 2009 8:38 pm

    Great review! This has been on my wishlist for some time now, just because I thought the Title and Cover were cute.. lol 🙂

  31. August 1, 2009 10:54 am

    I love this title!

  32. August 1, 2009 2:56 pm

    sounds like fun! 🙂

  33. Vicki permalink
    August 1, 2009 4:33 pm

    This book sounds really good. I’d love to read it.

    Great review!!

  34. August 1, 2009 9:39 pm

    I just love the title of this one. Glad to hear the rest of it lives up to the title!

  35. August 2, 2009 7:09 am

    I’m so glad you enjoyed it! It’s definitely on my TBR list, I love the title and the story sounds so good too!

  36. August 2, 2009 9:20 am

    You love books set in the south, and I love books that feature ice cream! 🙂

    Seriously, between you, Booking Mama, and other fab reviews I’ve read, this one is being added to my wish list!

  37. August 2, 2009 10:31 am

    Nice review. A title I would avoid, it doesn’t sound as if it has serious content and I hate soft ice cream. 🙂 But, you make it sound like it’s worth considering.
    I’ll check my library for it.

  38. August 2, 2009 2:09 pm

    This is one that I need to read!! Loved your thoughts on it and it sounds like what I love in reading!!

  39. August 4, 2009 1:42 am

    I read this book last weekend and loved it as well. Left a review on my blog. ~~ Kim

  40. August 4, 2009 11:47 am

    This one sounds really good, and I love the title!

  41. August 4, 2009 3:23 pm

    I’m pretty partial to books set in the South too, and to Southern writers. I blame my mother (who doesn’t?) because she was born and raised in the Carolinas. This one has been on my Wish List far too long – I think it should go on my shopping list for the weekend! Enjoyed your review!

  42. August 4, 2009 8:37 pm

    Sounds like a neat book and I just love the title!

  43. August 5, 2009 10:17 pm

    This sounds like a good one!

    We don’t have a Dairy Queen around here. 😦 Whenever we go to Oregon, Hamburger and I always have to stop at a DQ for a Blizzard!

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