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Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

What do you do when you’re tangled in a mess of your feelings and morals? What do you do when your family is telling you to do something different than what you truly desire? Should you risk the chance of hurting your family to follow your heart? These are questions that stir up in Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. The main characters in Dairy Queen are D.J. Schwenk and Brian Nelson. Brian is the quarterback of the Hawley football team, enemy of Red Bend, where D.J. goes to school. D.J.’s family owns a farm in Red Bend, Wisconsin. Since her father’s ailing hip is obstructing him from doing the difficult farm work, D.J. has to do it for him. Coincidentally, the Hawley football coach is close with the Schwenks, and he figured D.J. could use some help, so he makes Brian work for them.


One part of the book I enjoyed was when D.J. stands up to her best friend, who was judging her because she developed a friendship with Brian. She has the courage to tell her friend how she feels, despite the risk of losing her. She also refuses to ignore how she feels about Brian to make her friend happy. Doing that takes a lot of strength because sometimes doing the right thing isn’t easy. My second favorite part was when D.J. gives Brian some advice on football. By helping Brian, D.J. makes him a better and nicer person, on and off the football field. She goes through a series of ups and downs, realizations, and mixed feelings about her life, but in the end she learns a lot about her true self.


A message Dairy Queen conveys is humans are able to choose their own path, despite the odds and opposition. D.J. and Brian have to decide to follow their hearts, despite whoever disagrees. D.J. also has to stand up to ignorant people, family members, and even her best friend. She goes through many difficult feats to achieve her goals.


One reason the author wrote Dairy Queen was to show girls that they are worth more than “unladylike” actions and labels. Many girls today don’t realize that, and it holds many of them back from their goals. It’s also not just girls that are held back by discrimination and labels. Dairy Queen is a book that will affect almost anyone in some way.


I personally loved this book because it was inspiring and the writing was well articulated and crisp. The first person narrative allowed for a laid back tone, realistic, and relatable writing. D.J. is a very blunt and serious girl; she doesn’t beat around the bush which makes the book easier to follow. Dairy Queen is nothing short of a roller coaster; you feel everything D.J. feels, and see everything she sees. You understand in which ways she grows and in which ways she doesn’t. Best of all, you’ll learn the importance of words and the effect they can have when you don’t use them. In the end, D.J. makes a decision that immensely affects herself, her family, and ironically; Brian. You’ll just have to read the book to find out what she does!




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