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The Dairy Queen    by Allison Rushby Amazon.com order for
Dairy Queen
by Allison Rushby
Order:  USA  Can
Red Dress Ink, 2006 (2006)
Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Shannon Bigham

The Dairy Queen is about Dicey Dye (her real name is not revealed, nor that of her half-sister Titch) and her impromptu excursion to her hometown - called Moo and 'the Cow Mecca', in the town's unsuccessful attempt to attract tourists by liberally painting everything black and white. Dicey has not returned to Moo for years, although she and Titch own a farm there, inherited from their grandmother. The farm is vacant save for Bert, the groundskeeper that they keep on for sentimental reasons (not wanting to sell and not wanting to rid Bert of employment after so many years of loyal service to the family).

Along on this trip to Moo with Dicey are Titch and their fun yet troublemaking childhood friend Sally. All three women have hit a rough patch in their lives. Dicey's husband has left her and her on the side lover Simon has dumped her. To make matters worse, her multi-million dollar pajama business (making cow patterned pajama sets) has gone down the tubes and she will have to sell her home soon. All the stress has Dicey sleeping less than four hours a night but at least she has the companionship of her loyal and intelligent Irish wolfhound, Fergus. Though happily married, Titch bungles a television reporting broadcast - she is distraught about being unable to have a baby and recently experienced a failed attempt at in vitro fertilization. Sally, a highly successful wedding photographer, has broken her ankle and will be out of work for a few weeks. Hence, the trio decides to pay a visit to their hometown a small town with plenty of cows.

All this sounds a bit silly and it is, but silly in a fun, thoughtful way as the trio's trip to Moo turns into a period of self exploration, especially for Dicey and Titch - Dicey ponders her separation from her husband and Titch her infertility problems. The reader also learns why Dicey has business problems and why returning to Moo is simultaneously cathartic and intimidating for her and for Titch. The Dairy Queen is a thoughtful, enjoyable read that offers plenty of laughs along the way. As Dicey, Titch, and Sally spend time in Moo, they let go of some of the 'mental armor' they tend to wear while in the city. I liked the quirky town of Moo and found all three main characters interesting and well developed. The plot is just unique enough to set it apart from more mainstream chick lit novels, with more of a women's fiction element to it than romance.

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