Friday, March 8, 2013

The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas

The Love That Binds Us (Swap It or Pay It Forward Week)

If you’re looking for a book about the power of friendship, The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas is the book for you.  Don’t let the name fool you. It’s not set in the Middle East.  The story takes place in Kansas during the Great Depression and drought of the 1930s. A Persian pickle is a paisley, and the club is a quilting bee. The women of the Persian Pickle Club dress up and meet regularly to quilt and socialize. They love nothing more than trading fabric scraps and finding new patterns with names like Better Times, Nine-Patch, Wandering Foot, and Road to Californy.

When new comer, Rita, joins the group, they try to welcome her even though she doesn’t quite fit in. She’s a college girl who doesn’t know how to sew a stitch. She has a hankering for bourbon and a yearning to be a journalist.  She would prefer to read rather than sew, which is something Queenie just can’t understand.  The story is told by Queenie, a kind and sensible young farmwife who befriends Rita and helps her in her quest to become a journalist.

I loved this book from beginning to the very end. Through miscarriages, polio scares, problems with daughters, or even the discovery of one woman’s missing husband found buried in a field, the Pickles are there for each other. The book is a fast read.  You might zip through it, but Queenie and the Pickles will stay with you a long time.  

The love that binds the Persian Pickle Club runs as deep as a mother and daughter’s love. (Of course, that blood runs thinner during the teenage years.)  When my daughter was fifteen we had a tough time and just weren’t getting along. I was sad to see our strained relationship fracture more and more each day.  So during her spring break I decided to take time off and spend it with the kids, mainly to see if I could rekindle a spark of fun especially between my daughter and me.  I had her make a list of something out of the ordinary, something different that we could do together each day.  Nothing big.  One day we went out and had dinner at a Mexican restaurant; one day we played tennis and goofed around in a park playground. Another day we jumped into the lake. That was a tough one.  It was a chilly 49-degree March day.

We did other little things, but the best day we had was at the
Laundromat. With a perfectly good washer and dryer at home, there was no need to go to a Laundromat, but it was just something different to do.  So, armed with a zip-bag full of quarters, one load of laundry, and a camera we headed to the Laundromat—and we had the best time! Just what’s so exciting about a Laundromat? Well, nothing unless you get the giggles and start acting silly. 

One little ride in the laundry cart got the ball rolling.  Naturally, my daughter was embarrassed.  I was too.  It wasn’t something I would normally do. Was it a Pickle-like thing to do? Hardly.  But I was laughing so hard at being stupid, my daughter decided to take a shot at it, too.  The next thing I knew she zipped by me balancing her stomach on the cart pretending she was flying!  Then she zipped back the other way slumped over the cart laughing till she almost wet her pants. Something so stupid and insignificant as a couple hours at the Laundromat will stay with me forever.  Those hours we were close again.  I had seen her cry enough, but this time she was crying with laughter.  It was a well deserved break for both of us.
That day at the Laundromat I also tried my hand at “Book Crossing.”  Book Crossing is a way to share books with strangers, another way to make someone smile.  You take a book you enjoyed reading and you pass it on in a public place, hoping someone will take it home and enjoy it too. Through you register a book, print a label with a unique ID number along with instructions on what the person should do once they find such a book.  You place it on the inside cover (or you can hand write it in a book) and “release” your book in “the wild.” Then you wait and see where it travels.

I left my cherished copy of The Persian Pickle Club in the Laundromat that day.  It wasn’t an easy thing to do. I didn’t want to part with it, but I was excited about the prospect of someone picking up my book, reading it, and passing it on. Sadly, my book was never found.  It never got to travel like I hoped it would. But I’m not giving up yet. I’m determined to try again.  Maybe this time, I’ll release it in a busier spot.  If you’re in my area, you can hunt for it on

Happy reading!


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1 comment:

  1. What a fun review. It seem's that it is always the little silly things that count's and stay with us forever. The book sounds great. I also like the idea of read and release, who knows where the book might end up. Hope you find out where your book went.