Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dairy Queen - Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Summary:  When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said.

Harsh words indeed, from Brian Nelson of all people.  But D.J. Schwenk can't help admitting to herself that maybe he's right.  Because it's obvious that no one is talking about why D.J.'s best friend, Amber, isn't so friendly anymore. Or why her little brother, Curtis, never opens his mouth.  Or why her mom has two jobs and a big secret, or why her college-football-star brothers won't even call home nowadays.  And certainly no one is talking about how D.J.'s dad would go ballistic on her if she tried out for the football team.  There's definitely a lot not being said.  And that's not even mentioning the many reasons Brian Nelson is so out of D.J.'s league.

Welcome to the summer that fifteen-year-old D.J. Schwenk of Red Bend, Wisconsin, learns to talk, and ends up having an awful lot of stuff to say.   (Summary from back of the book and image from

My Review:  I think this might be my favorite read of the summer.  It took me by surprise and left me so happy to have picked it up--and glad there's two more to come!  If you were to look at this book based solely on its subject matter, I don't think I would have ever guessed I'd like it.  Farm life, cows, milking, football, training, dung, an introverted girl who doesn't know what she thinks about things until a good day or so after the conversation occurred, all don't add up to my interests.  All that aside, this book is fantastic!  I loved D.J.'s perspective.  She wasn't annoying, or selfish, just supremely oblivious.  I don't have a lot of experience with the mid-west, so I didn't know how authentic the book came across.  After speaking with a co-worker from the mid-west she said it was delightfully authentic.  She said the voice of the character was exactly how people speak from the mid-west and she loved having such an authentic portrayal.

The are many aspects of conflict, which makes this book so easy to slurp up.  D.J. is conflicted within herself, with her family, with her best friend, with life.  And how she solves these conflicts is what drives the story.  I loved watching her grow into her confidence and realize what she really wants to do.  I also loved her dedication and work ethic, her willingness to do what it took to keep her family afloat during a very difficult time.  Despite all her family's communication issues, you could really tell that underneath is all they were great people going through a tough time.

I feel I need to mention this, for both parents and teachers.  There is discussion of homosexuality.  And while it's discussed in a real way, with the way teenagers often bluntly and sometimes cruelly refer to it, the overall handling of the subject is well done.

Overall I highly recommend this book and can't wait to get my hands on the next two books!

My Rating: 5 Stars

For the sensitive reader:  There is swearing littered throughout, but not excessively or, at least to me, offensively.  If you can't handle the random, good-old-fashioned, farm swearing, it may bother you.

Sum it up:  Unique in its perspective, yet deals with issues common to all, Dairy Queen is a  perfect coming of age story.


Dolcie said...

This book has been on my list, so now I'm excited to read it!

Anonymous said...

what age do yo recommend this book for

The Hero said...

I'd recommend upper middle and high school.

Darby B. said...

Hi. I absolutely love reading these posts and they help when I am looking for a book and have absolutely no ideas left. This book has been on my list for a while now but I wasn't sure if I should read it because I didn't know if I'd like it. I'm definitely reading it now. Keep up the good posts.


Related Posts with Thumbnails