I haven’t seen any reviewers mention Murdock’s thread that lightly touches on the sexual orientation of one of the characters. The storyline is an echo of the major theme and is done with a light touch, not with humor but with care. Some may find that it provides added depth. I’m not sure how necessary it was given the many layers already woven into the story’s fabric, but it adds texture and it works.
Dairy Queen encourages you to wade further and further into deep waters. D.J. is coming into her own as an individual and as a young woman. While the opening does read a bit slow, it captures the thought processes of a young woman who is not used to talking and who has to slog her way through mounds of verbiage. The long, sometimes extra long, sentences reflect a mind groping, searching to find the right phrase. But the story soon gains momentum. Murdock is great at depicting farm life and expertly weaves the descriptions in with D.J.’s observations making them all relevant, and the barn functions as a symbol that works on several levels. While the story builds to a fast-paced ending, the characters linger, working Murdoch's magic in the reader's mind long after the final page has been turned.
Dairy Queen is aimed for readers 12 and up, but the story will provide the most enjoyment for readers who are mature and willing to allow D.J. all the room she needs to grow.