Review: Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Dairy QueenTitle: Dairy Queen

Author: Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Genre: YA Contemporary, Coming-of-Age, Sports, Comedy,

Publication Date: May 22, 2006

Source: Bought

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. can’t help admitting, maybe he’s right.

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

Stuff like why her best friend, Amber, isn’t so friendly anymore. Or why her little brother, Curtis, never opens his mouth. Why her mom has two jobs and a big secret. Why her college-football-star brothers won’t even call home. Why her dad would go ballistic if she tried out for the high school football team herself. And why Brian is so, so out of her league.

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

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.

☆: 4/5 stars – Babbles a little too much at times, but it’s a real treat for a football fan like me!

Football! I geek out over books more than anything else, but football takes second place there despite the extreme level of suck my team regularly displays. Friends have almost nothing but good things to say about the Dairy Queen series and now that I’ve finally gotten around to it, I see what they mean. It has enough football to tide me over until football season starts again and the genuine emotion that makes it a great YA novel. What did I wait so long to read it again?

DJ can babble a little–actually, a lot; it can make your eyes roll in the back of your head after too long–but her personal story of the struggle with her family (a dad who is injured and leaves a heavy burden on his daughter’s shoulders, the massive fight her dad had with her older brothers just a few months before the novel’s start, her mother’s stress, and her little brother’s selective mutism) makes it difficult not to root for her if you like her voice even a little.  Also needed to enjoy this story? The ability to at least be open to American football if you don’t already like it to some degree.

Her love interest Brian is a bit hard to get a handle on at times. When he’s good, he’s genuinely good. Some of their moments together just about made me go “awwwwwwww!” like I was looking at a bunch of fluffy kittens curling up for a nap together. When he’s not, DJ is either being rude to him and he responds in kind or he’s being an ass. One good example of the latter? The lawsuit over DJ wanting to play football (though that also involved his dad, admittedly). In the end, he won me over, but he’ll have to work hard to stay in my good graces.

As fun as the novel is, DJ babbles so much that after so long, I had to put the novel down and detox a bit. It’s well-developed and originally tricked me into thinking this took place in the South and not in Wisconsin, but I keep trying to say “she talks too much.” This is her story, so she should be telling it, right? And it’s a short novel too. How can I say she talks too much? Well, that’s the babble and occasional forced introspection at work. It’s a difficult phenomenon to explain, but you know it when you run across it.

And then quotes like these make it all better again:

Boy, you should have seen Brian’s face. Bright green grass three inches high, lines sharp as rulers, corner flags fluttering away … pretty as a postcard. Except for the yearling pooping right there on the thirty-yard line.

“Norm, you moron!” I yelled. “Get off the field!”

Of course Brian cracked up, which I guess he had every right to do because I was laughing too, and then he gave the heifers a long lecture on where they could poop and where they couldn’t. It was the funniest thing I’d ever seen, Brian standing there waving his finger like he was some kind of professor and all the heifers eyeing him, flicking the flies off their ears, like they were really paying attention. Until they pooped.

“You cut that out, Norm!” I shouted. “You do that somewhere else!” (38-39%, Kindle edition)

This is– It’s just one of those books it’s difficult to talk about. As soon as I can, I plan to buy The Off Season and Front and Center, the next book in the series. I need more DJ.

2 thoughts on “Review: Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

  1. So glad you liked this! The Off Season is even better than the first book in my opinion. Much more poignant and engaging-which is a bit of a feat. Great review! I confess that I read the cow pooping in the field moment more than once.

    • Yay! Next time I have some money for books, I’ll definitely but it. Also? I don’t blame you a bit for the cow pooping scene. That was effin FUNNY.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s