Book Review: What do the Dairy Queen, a Dilly Bar and the Lord have in common?

Susan Gregg Gilmore’s ‘Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen’ first came to my attention at a book sale that our local ‘Friends of the Library’ club was having about three years ago

After looking at the cover, my mind floating back and forth between the purchase of it and another. I chose the other.

But, the book by Gilmore never left the back of my book hoarding mind.

And after finishing the 293 page paperback a few days ago, I am glad it didn’t. Gilmore’s style has been compared to Fannie Flagg (Fried Green Tomatoes). Maybe. But I think Gilmore has a style of her own – simple, honest and very real.

Set in Ringgold, Georgia, around the early 1970s, Catherine Grace Cline, the town’s preacher’s daughter, decides that she has to leave the small town life, and wants to head to Atlanta where she can experience ‘better things.’ She and her sister spent a lot of time at the local Dairy Queen, licking on Dilly Bars, and looking toward the mountains nearby, dreaming of what Catherine Grace thinks will be better for her – to leave. At the age of 18, she does.

But then, a family emergency sends her back home, and while there, as she is trying to grasp what has gone on – a tragedy, and two unexpected secrets are revealed, Catherine Grace figures out what God had been trying to tell her for so long, and she does so while sitting on the very same picnic table outside of Dairy Queen, eating a Dilly Bar.

Described as a “Southern-fried, coming-of-age tale about love and loss and family” by other reviewers, ‘Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen’ reminds me of the taste of a cold glass of sweet tea on a warm summer day while hanging out on your Grandma’s front porch. (Smile).

This review was a lot longer, and then I read it. I revealed a little too much of the plot. See, I read the book during the first few weeks of the ‘sheltering-in-place’ orders by the Governor as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The biggest surprise for me wasn’t the ending, but the unexpected lesson I got from it.

I will leave you with these words found on the front cover – pretty powerful. “Sometimes you have to return to the place where you began tto arrive at the place where you belong.”

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Author: rlhwrites

Curator of prose and such.

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