Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

More Filling, Less Meringue

NPR’s Alan Cheuse reviews Susan Gregg Gilmore’s latest novel

August 30, 2010 Susan Gregg Gilmore was understandably thrilled when NPR reviewer Alan Cheuse called her debut novel, Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen, a “stand out” coming-of-age story which gets the recipe for that genre “almost just right.” She was equally understandably less thrilled when he also noted that the book “reads like meringue when you really want pie.”

A year later, Gilmore was in the audience when Cheuse spoke on a panel at the Virginia Festival of the Book. She listened carefully as Cheuse and his fellow panelists—Michael Dirda, Louis Bayard, and Bethanne Kelly Patrick—discussed the imperiled state of book reviews. In her lap Gilmore held a lemon-meringue pie.

Reader, she did not throw it at him. Instead, she gave him the pie and a big hug.

Now that The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove has hit shelves, Gilmore better get to baking again. In a new review, Cheuse compares her second novel to Huckleberry Finn and commends Gilmore for taking “news from the underground life of the modern American South and tell[ing] it straight to our face.” Listen to the full review here.

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