Every once in a while, I need a break from all of the mystery and thriller books that I so enjoy reading. Particularly true if it’s a fairly graphic story. This time my break was Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen, by Susan Gregg Gilmore. Heck, I like both salvation and Dairy Queens!
The book’s narrator — Catherine Grace Kline — is a young girl who yearns to get out of her small Southern town and live a larger life in Atlanta. Catherine Grace’s mother died when she was 6 years old, so her kind preacher father was responsible for Catherine and her little sister Martha. He had help from the community, particularly their neighbor Gloria Jean, who might be one of my favorite characters of all time. Gloria Jean is as close to a mother figure as the girls can get, and she loves them. But she is the talk of the little town because she (gasp) wears lots of makeup and has had many boyfriends.
Catherine Grace and her sister Martha visit the Dairy Queen regularly, planning their lives over dilly bars. Catherine begins selling jelly to earn and save money to reach her dream when she turns 18. Catherine reaches her dream, but tragedy brings her back to her small town, where she learns about the things that are really important in life.
The narration by the young Catherine was sweet and realistic, seeing things through the eyes of a young girl with big dreams. The joy, the embarrassment, the big blows that are part of life become real through her narration.
I loved this book about friendship, love and grace.