Reading for a Lifetime Together

Shakespeare’s Twenty-First Century
November 11, 2009, 2:06 am
Filed under: young adult literature

     Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s Dairy Queen is a true Romeo and Juliet story.  This novel is full of summer romance, family problems, and life lessons.  When Brian Nelson shows up on fifteen-year-old D.J. Schwenk’s family farm to “work”, both D.J. and her family are surprised.  Brian is the last person to ever know what hard work is, and shows his laziness through his football skills.  To top it all off, Brian plays for Hawley, D.J.’s school’s rival.  D.J. gets stuck with teaching the spoiled rich kid how to work on a cow farm.  Eventually, Brian’s football coach asks D.J to be Brian’s summer trainer.  D.J. reluctantly agrees, as long as no one, including her father, knows about their secret sessions.  D.J. begins to develop a crush on her trainee; however, she doesn’t believe he will ever go out with a girl like her. 

     Over the summer D.J. begins to realize how well she plays football and decides that she will try out for her school’s football team.  The downside of her decision is that she will be playing against Brian.  Following in the footsteps of her older brothers, D.J. makes the football team.  She finds that football is the only way for her to escape her stressful life.  Brian gives D.J. the cold shoulder when he realizes that she will be playing defense against him.  The first scrimmage of D.J’s football career is against Brian’s team.  D.J. doesn’t play the first half, but when she sees Brian flirting with a cheerleader at half time she becomes furious.  She tells her coach, “I need to play” and ends up scoring a touchdown off an interception.  In the end, D.J.’s team ends up beating Brian’s for the first time in years. 

     Throughout the book, D.J. learns how to talk to Brian.  She finds out that her mother has been e-mailing her two older brothers who left the family and haven’t been home in months.  She realizes her younger brother’s obsession with dentistry.  D. J. also breaks the heart of her best friend who tuns out to be in love with her.  Apparently everyone in D.J.’s life had been keeping secrets.


     As soon as Brian was introduced in the first couple chapters I knew where the story was heading.  I figured the boy and girl fall in love and it’s a happy ending.  However, to my surprise the story dipicted exactly how teenage relationships work.  This may have been one of the best books I’ve ever read.  Any type of girl can relate to many of  D.J.’s situations.  The story wasn’t only about falling in love with the cute football player.  It was about learning from your mistakes.  It was about finding a place in life in the last place you would look.  This story was about expecting the unexpected.  I learned that you cannot become a true winner until you learn how to lose.   



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