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Review: Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore

Title: Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen
Author: Susan Gregg Gilmore
Year Published: 2011

Genre: Adult fiction
Pages: 296
Rating: 4 out of 5

Challenges: My MUS Moms book group (not a challenge, just why I read the book)
Geography Connection (my Google Reading map): USA (Georgia)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book for my iPad

Summary (from Amazon): sometimes you have to return to the place where you began to arrive at the place where you belong. It's the early 1970s. The town of Ringgold, Georgia, has a population o f1,923, one traffic light, one Dairy Queen, and one Catherine Grace Cline. The daughter of Ringgold's third-generation preacher, Catherine Grace is quick-witted, more than a little stubborn, and dying to escape her small-town life. Every Saturday afternoon, she sits at the Dairy Queen, eating Dilly Bars and plotting her getaway to the big city of Atlanta. And when, with the help of a family friend, the dream becomes a reality, Catherine Grace immediately packs her bags, leaving her family and the boy she loves to claim the life she's always imagined. But before things have even begun to get off the ground in Atlanta, tragedy brings her back home. As a series of extraordinary events alters her perspective--and sweeping changes come to Ringgold itself--Catherine Grace begins to wonder if her place in the world may actually be, against all odds, right where she began.

Review: I would probably not have chosen to read this book if left to my own devices, but my MUS Moms book group (made up of moms from my daughter's elementary school) picked it and I am glad we did. While this isn't one of my favorites this year, it is full of little kernels of wisdom and life that I really enjoyed.

From the opening sentence the reader is pulled into Catherine Grace's world of small town Georgie where she is the preacher's daughter, a position that brings both good and bad from the community. Thank goodness she has her sister, her daddy, and her mom's best friend, who loves her like her own, shows her how to be honest with herself and how to find her way in the world.

This book isn't just a study of a girl growing up and looking for something outside of herself and her town for the answers, it is a look at small town America, how people's lives intertwine and impact one another, whether we think they do or not. Catherine has family, friends, and even a boyfriend whom she loves. But none of it seems to be enough. She wants out. Of course, getting out doesn't always work out the way we think it will and, in Catherine Grace's situation, we're drawn back home. The nice thing is, Catherine Grace finds just what she is looking for back at home. I didn't really like all the events that coincidentally took place once she got home, it just seemed like to much to me. But, it got the author where she wanted to be in the end.

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