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Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  10,552 ratings  ·  1,341 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
Hardcover, 293 pages
Published February 12th 2008 by Shaye Areheart Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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Jennifer The main character is a preacher's daughter and the book includes references to hymns and church. However, it could be enjoyed by non-Christians,…moreThe main character is a preacher's daughter and the book includes references to hymns and church. However, it could be enjoyed by non-Christians, especially if they read the book through the lens that the religious aspects of the story are part of southern culture. (less)

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Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,552 ratings  ·  1,341 reviews

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Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it

The story is narrated by Catherine Grace Cline, who's looking back at her formative years in Georgia, starting with her childhood.


Young Catherine Grace Cline lives in Ringgold, Georgia, a small town where everyone knows your business "down to the color of underwear your mama bought you at the Dollar General Store." It's the early 1970s and Catherine Grace is still in grade school, but she has big plans. Unlike some of her friends, Catherine Grace doesn't aspire to marry a local boy and
Leigh Hunt
Apr 29, 2008 rated it did not like it
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.
jv poore
Feb 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The southern women and girls in this novel simply reach out and pull the reader in. If you grew up in a small town, particularly in the south, you know these folks; if you did not, this is what you will find.

Small quaint towns, where everyone knows his neighbor's business, generally have deeply buried secrets.

There is always a young girl that is completely obsessed with getting out of that town, as soon as possible. She may even pick strawberries by the bushel, turn them into mouth-watering jam
Apr 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
May 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Renee Merrill
The surprising turn in this book made for a very interesting read.
Basically the only thing I got out of this was a craving for an Oreo Blizzard!! Sorry, not sorry.
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Pamela by: Linda Johnson
Thank you, Linda for the recommendation! Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen is as sweet and quirky as a DQ Dilly Bar. Everything a charismatic southern novel should be: heartfelt, humorous, sassy, spiritual, eccentrically surreal, and regionally unique. It was the perfect sort of uplifting read between heavier somber tomes. And I loved the tongue-in-cheek chapter titles hued with Biblical references.

This is such a delightful coming of age story: a preacher’s daughter looking for salvation
Feb 22, 2008 rated it liked it
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.
I needed a novel to clear the cobwebs from my brain, one that I could breeze through and knew had been reviewed so mightily that mine would be of little importance - and Looking For Salvation at the Dairy Queen gave me just that. It is probably best described as a thematic treatment (so loved by little kids!) of "Home is Best". It's a reassuring heart-tugger approach that tells the conflicted soul, no matter how many adventures away or whatever goes astray, everything and everyone you ever ...more
Rebecca McNutt
Looking For Salvation at the Dairy Queen is a really different sort of book that tells the story of a girl who dreams of life beyond her small town until she finally gets her chance to escape. What happens isn't at all what she expects, and this book vividly gives readers her journey every step of the way.
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 ...more
Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
Skip this book and go to Dairy Queen instead.
Julie Nelsen
Jan 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 19, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Susan Peterson
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nostalgic Southern Fiction

Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen is the epitome of southern fiction; delightful, heartfelt, charming, and nostalgic. Catherine Grace is the daughter of the preacher, whose mother died when she was only 6 years old. All of her life, Catherine Grace has dreamed of the day she could leave her hometown of Ringgold, Georgia, convinced that a better life awaited her in the big city. This is a coming-of-age story for Catherine Grace, and a lesson for all of us who are
May 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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, ...more
May 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My enjoyment of this book was of "biblical proportions"! (smiles) You'll have to read the story in order to appreciate this expression.
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
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 ...more
May 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 14, 2008 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys Southern Fiction.
Recommended to Dawn by: I saw it recommended on Amazon.
An enjoyable read. This is the first book I have read by this author. There was some interesting and quirky characters. Catherine Grace, the main character, was so determined to leave her small town life and head out for better things in the big city. Sometimes you don't appreciate what you have right in front of you and you need to step back and take a different look at things to see what was there all along. At times, Catherine Grace may have seemed a little stubborn and self centered, but she ...more
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Catherine Grace Cline is the daughter of the straight laced Baptist preacher in the little town of Ringgold, Georgia in the 1970's. She's a pretty good kid, strong willed, but she dreams only of the day she can leave the little town for the big city of Atlanta where she is sure her life awaits. One day, she is given the opportunity to finally head to Atlanta and she jumps at the chance. However, tragedy back in her hometown means she must return, and once there she wonders if she was meant to be ...more
Aug 27, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. I guess there's just something about a book that makes you stay up late to read the last part, yeah? God, after the main big change, I was so immensely sad, it was overwhelming. This is a really good book (but some parts are racially weird, and it was VERY southern)
Jun 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011-reviews
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
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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,
“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.” 51 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.” 21 likes
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