Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen
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Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen

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3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  5,201 ratings  ·  848 reviews
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 of 1,923, one traffic light, one Dairy Queen, and one Catherine Grace Cline. The daughter of Ringgold’s third-generation Baptist preacher, Catherine Grace is quick-witted, more than a little stubborn, and d...more
Hardcover, 293 pages
Published February 12th 2008 by Shaye Areheart Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellThe Help by Kathryn StockettThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
Best Southern Literature
181st out of 745 books — 1,811 voters
September Again by Hunter S. JonesThe Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk KiddTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeThe Help by Kathryn StockettThe Wayward Gifted by Donna K. Childree
Southern Goodness
11th out of 106 books — 87 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Leigh Hunt
If you mixed Hee-Haw and a biscuit you'd get this book. I lost count how many times "dad gum" was used and resented being hit over the head with that and other cliches.
Carol
Apr 22, 2011 Carol rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Carol by: booksonthenightstand
Shelves: fiction
I love when I'm so in tune to my mood that I choose my next book to read just right. I couldn't have been more on the mark with Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen. Generally I'm a thriller reader, thriving on blood and mayhem. Too much of this sparks a need for a sprinkle of laughter in my life, and sends me seeking lighter fare. This was just the ticket.

As soon as I started Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen, I felt a whole world deprived as I've never had a Dilly Bar at the DQ. I...more
Lisa
Mar 03, 2008 Lisa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Renee Merrill
The surprising turn in this book made for a very interesting read.
Sheila
I enjoyed the simplicity of this book. It has a Fannie Flagg feel to it and is a very quick read. There is a little bit of Catherine Grace is anyone who grew up in a small town. The desire to see what is out in the world but the decision to leave is a hard one to make especially when you are 18.
Carol
I was expecting a little bit more from this book. It was a fast enjoyable read, but nothing too memorable. The best part of the novel was a secondary character, neighbor Gloria Jean.
Lisa
Apr 09, 2008 Lisa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Lisa by: Omaha World-Herald
A nice read - very real characters. The voice of the narrative character, captured with youth and a charming southern drawl, was almost audible. Story twists keep you interested and the citizens of Ringgold leave you wanting more.
Judy
Okay, I admit it--I was drawn to this book by the title, which I'm sure was the reason for its selection. However, the title does have relevance to the plot. I loved the book and almost gave it five stars. It is a warm, sweet story about Catherine Grace coming of age in a a small Georgia town. Grace tells her story and that of her sister, Martha Ann, whose Mother died when Grace was four. Their father is a preacher in a line of preachers for a big church in the town of Ringgwold. Grace is a spun...more
Hillary
A Review of Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen

I read Susan Gregg Gilmore’s novel Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen just on a whim, but I am glad that I read it. It gave a new meaning to going for your goals. I learned from Catherine that if you don’t succeed at least you tried. She improvised her dream and it all worked out.
Gilmore gives hope to people that read this novel. After I completed this book I felt a little better about my own goals. The classic humor that turns sadness...more
Julie Nelsen
Jan 15, 2009 Julie Nelsen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: women
This was a favorite of my book club's. In fact, since I live in Nashville, Susan came to our monthly book club meeting to discuss the book. She is a lovely person and to have her at our meeting was quite impressive. The book is entertaining - several giggles, but also has some life lessons we can relate to and can learn from. I'm looking forward to her next book.
Flash Beagle
Looking For Salvation is a delightful read, and when we first meet Catherine Grace she is a pint-sized philosopher, ruminating at the age of 10 on how she knows God could not possibly be listening. After all, she prays every day to get her out of that little town - whose name is larger than its population - and every day she wakes up in the old same place.
Not content to dream about leaving, Catherine Grace begins earning her way out by making strawberry jam - but not before taking time to reflec...more
Nancy Thomas
I loved this book! After some of the "dark" books I've been reading, this was a wonderful break. It's not a long read. I guess I relate to the book so well because I grew up in a small, Southern town. It reminded me of the plights and delights and growing up where everybody knows you and you know them. The language and phrasing is definitely Southern, which is as you might expect, appealing to me. While the books is not all sugar -there's some vinegar and tears mixed in - it is uplifting, entert...more
Asheley
This story follows Catherine Grace Cline as she grows up with her sister and her father. It is, I suppose, a coming-of-age story with very Southern appeal. It reads very well and is very much like a made-for-television movie.

It took me a few pages to really get into this one. But once I got into it, I was very attached to Catherine Grace. She is stubborn and sweet and in the middle of growing up without a mother, and just when things are looking up for her...her father dies. Then all the family...more
Sandra
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lauren
For generations, the men in Catherine Grace Cline’s family have been preaching to the small town of Ringgold, Georgia. Growing up as the preacher’s daughter, Catherine Grace feels a sense of duty: to be a positive role model to her little sister, to make her father proud, and to be as strong of a Christian woman as her mother was before her untimely death. Despite these responsibilities, Catherine Grace can’t help but harbor big dreams for a life in the city. In a town where most everyone is bor...more
Dianne
A great storyline - I believe this is a first from this author and I hope to read more from her. But I love local Southern books, especially from the 50's, 60's, or 70's. You'll want to keep reading until the end just to see if there will be any kind of "happy ending" for these characters.
Amanda
I was hoping to be more wow'd by this book, as it was a very cute cover and a clever title I thought, and was pretty happy to have stumbled upon it at the library when I was literally browsing every shelf for a random book to read. Turns out it was just ok. I was not wow'd and while the title of another of her books sounds good as well I'm not thinking of reading it after this one let me down.

I did like the southern down home feel. I liked the country phrases and while the characters were relig...more
Cynthia Archer
I was looking for a light read in between some heavier books. This one fit the bill. The story is simple but well done. It is a coming of age story of a young woman and her sister who are raised by their preacher father. The neighbor Gloria Jean plays the role of mother to the girls and is the guiding light of the book. Her joie de vivre was the most uplifting part of the story, and she provides the real world influences that the girls and particularly Catherine Grace crave. From little on, Cath...more
Terra
This book was horrible on so many levels, it pains me to think about it. What was especially frustrating was that it started so strong. I was sure it would garner a four- or five-star rating and be something I would recommend to friends and family, especially those who like Southern charm and humor. The stars began falling as I noticed such inconsistencies as a 1972 prom followed immediately by letters posted in 1975. Despite this glaring error, I continued to hope for a rebound. Instead, the st...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by JodiG. for TeensReadToo.com

It's the 1970's, and Catherine Grace Cline is stuck in the one place she knows she doesn't belong - her hometown of Ringgold, Georgia. It's a town that just doesn't fit her. It's too small and too quiet. She spends every Saturday eating Dilly Bars at the Dairy Queen and plotting her escape.

Catherine Grace is the daughter of a third-generation Baptist minister. Her father leads his flock through the joys and sorrows of their lives, the same way he has led hi...more
Melodie
I had no intention of reading this book, but it popped up on a poll list for my book club and the title grabbed my attention.Once in awhile a book comes along that just makes you feel good.This was one of those.
Catherine Grace Cline is a preacher's kid in a small southern town with big dreams.She knows she is destined for much better things than what is available in Ringgold Georgia.She makes her escape at last when she turns the magical age of eighteen, and while she lands on her feet, she fi...more
Lisa
This is Susan Gregg Gilmore's first novel and I believe she is a writer that will only get better. I enjoyed the storyline that is set in the South. It is a "growing up" book (phrase used by my 6th graders). I especially liked the writing style of the author and how easily the words flow from sentences to paragraphs. She also has a gift for creating wonderful visual images.

I would recommend this book for any book club for I feel you could have great discussions.
Katie
This book was good, a nice time filler. The girl's life was really hard, even though she was from such a small town like Ringgold. It made me think. Yep. That's what this book made me do. Let's just say if you read this book you'll be wanting to say "I love you" to your family a lot more. This has every thing you could ask for for a nice before bedtime book. Romance, humor, interesting plot line, and dreams.
Carol N
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.
Gastoryteller
A sweet read- loved the voice of the main character, Catherine Grace. You will meet some delightful characters as you journey with her to find her place in the world.
Stephanie
I agree with a previous reviewer. This book has a bit of a Fannie Flagg feel to it. I enjoyed it! (As I have enjoyed Ms. Flagg's books). I loved the main character. Heck, I really liked all of the characters :) I would recommend this book.
Karen
Read the book in one sitting. Loved the story and the characters. Many thought provoking lines which is what I look and hope for in this genre. Nothing real deep just ordinary people trying to live their lives the best they know how.
Johnvano
Charming start, became too precious and frothy. Still, interesting to see southern debut novelist attempt to address faith and a Christian culture. Came out light on theology and necessary to fit within the modern past.
Linda Manwaring
3 1/2 - 4 stars. I enjoyed reading it. Not the best writing but it was an easy, fun read. It raised some great points to ponder - like when do we judge others and why (thinking of Gloria Jean) and I liked the paragraph at the end "..dreams are a funny thing. Not so long ago I was consumed with my dream, so consumed that I saw any other possibility as a disappointment. I was convinced that the Lord didn't giveth much of anything. I was convinced that He just spent all His time taking away..."
The...more
Trudy
My enjoyment of this book was of "biblical proportions"! (smiles) You'll have to read the story in order to appreciate this expression.
Joseph
Good little picture of the south and a decent story. I'll admit, it was a little cliche at times (okay, a lot), and it became quite preachy at the end, which irritated me. But it certainly captured some of the experience of small town southern life (it even mentioned Martin, TN!), and so I appreciated that. In fact, it was only half way through when I realized the story took place in the 1970s - turns out, things haven't changed all that much (except I don't they make Dilly Bars by hand anymore)...more
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Susan Gregg Gilmore was born in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1961. Although her artist mother bought her daughter her first easel and box of paints when she was five, it was her fathers love of family storytelling that captured their young daughters attention.

Gregg Gilmore knew at an early age that she wanted to write but was soon drawn to journalism not fiction. While at the University of Virginia, s...more
More about Susan Gregg Gilmore...
The Funeral Dress The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove Funeral Dress, The: A Novel Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen Publisher: Broadway

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“It's a funny thing, how much time we spend planning our lives. We so convince ourselves of what we want to do, that sometimes we don't see what we're meant to do.” 30 likes
“Dying has a funny way of making you see people, the living and the dead, a little differently. Maybe that's just part of the grieving, or maybe the dead stand there and open our eyes a bit wider.” 10 likes
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